Novak Djokovic well and truly cemented himself as one of the greats on Sunday night equalling Roger Feder and Rafael Nadal’s record of 20 Grand Slam titles.
However, it’s not over for the world number one who has had a stellar 2021 winning three from three Grand Slam titles in 2021.
At the Australian Open, it was Russian Daniil Medvedev who challenged for the title but lost in straight sets.
The Serbian had a bigger threat in Paris, facing Stefanos Tsitsipas, in his first major final but was playing on his preferred surface. Djokovic showed his experience and overcame a two-set deficit to claim number 19.
Djokovic met a new challenger in the Wimbledon final in Matteo Berrettini, the seventh seed who much like Tsitsipas was in his first Grand Slam Final but couldn’t get the job done.
Djokovic upsets any hope of the Italian double
25-year-old Berrettini threatened to break in the very first game of the match, wasting an early break point opportunity. He didn’t seem too shaken, however, winning his first service game in a comfortable fashion.
The issue was Djokovic looked to be in fine form from the outset, winning his next service game before breaking the Italian’s serve, backing it up with a 40-love game.
He’d need to break back but finding that opportunity would be hard when all too soon he was 5-2 down in the first.
Clearly, the Italian knew how key his next service game was because it would turn the set on its head. Lasting 11 and a half minutes the eighth game of the first set couldn’t have made fans sit up and take notice any more than it already did.
Going to deuce eight times, Berrettini only offered Djokovic one breakpoint opportunity but he couldn’t seem to convert, ultimately it was a forced forehand error that handed him the game and kept him in the set.
Building off that momentum the Italian went on to win the next two games and whilst he didn’t manage to break the world number one’s serve a second time he was able to force a tie break.
Momentum shifted quickly in the tiebreak with Berrettini winning the first three points before Djokovic won the next three. Ultimately the Italian was able to get the upper hand and take out the first set.
The 25-year-old wasn’t able to capitalise on the momentum and lost the first four games of the second set, proving once again that Djokovic isn’t fazed by going a set down in a final.
Berrettini was able to put up a fight, winning off his own serve in the fifth game in the set but once again he was soon sitting at 5-2 with far fewer options than he had in the first, needing to break in the next game.
Djokovic did open the door up ever so slightly, dropping his serve, and gave up three break point opportunities but still up a break he managed to close out the second set in a 40-love game.
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The third set started similarly, with Berrettini going down an early break and having to fight his way back into the set.
The five-time champion wasn’t going to make the same mistake again, just seeming to get better as the match went on holding Berrettini off despite multiple breakpoint opportunities.
Djokovic served out the set comfortably, leaving the world number one just one set away from his third Grand Slam title of 2021.
The Italian might have been down but he certainly wasn’t out, finally starting a set with the confidence fans had seen earlier in the tournament.
One of the most exciting points of the match came in the sixth game of the fourth set with a spectacular 15 shot rally, leaving both players smiling after the Serbian hit crosscourt forearm sliding towards the net, placing the ball just out of the 25-year-old’s reach.
It was a turning point in what had been a very even set but allowed Djokovic to breakthrough, breaking Berrettini’s serve largely off the back of his superior skill rather than errors from the Italian.
That skill was on display in the remaining games, the Serbian was deadly in his next service game and just one game away from the title he wasn’t going to waste too much time.
It’s easy to say three was Djokovic’s lucky number today, winning his third consecutive Grand Slam title for the year, his third Wimbledon title in a row it was only natural it would take three championship points to finish the match.
Fighting to hold on in his first Grand Slam Final, Berrettini was desperate to prevent Djokovic from breaking his serve to finish things hitting two winners to see off the first two championship points but with little left in the tank, the Serbian was able to finish things once and for all.
|Novak Djokovic 1
Djokovic not only equalled Nadal and Federer’s 20 Grand Slam title record but becomes just the third active player on the tour to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon back to back.
The world number one now chases a Golden Slam (all four major titles and Olympic gold), hunting his first gold medal in Tokyo later this month.
He’s one of three players on the tour chasing the honour alongside Dylan Alcott (Quad Wheelchair Singles) and Diede de Groot (Women’s Wheelchair Singles), should any one of them do it in 2021 they’ll be second only to Steffi Graf who won a Golden Slam in the 1988 season.
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