Novak Djokovic’s form has been so clinical during the Wimbledon fortnight that it is tempting to suggest that the All England Club engravers are already engraving his name on the trophy for the sixth time.
The 34-year-old Serbian has looked quite dominant and what scares the other three players to advance to the semi-finals is that he probably hasn’t needed advanced equipment yet.
Djokovic, five-time winner and defending champion, will play his 10th Wimbledon and 41st Grand Slam semi-final on Friday against 22-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who reached this stage for the first time in his career.
Add the fact that Djokovic’s gaze is fixed on winning his 20th Grand Slam title to tie record holders Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal and his career record against Shapovalov reads 6-0, and a place in the final looks like a formality.
Friday’s first semi-final sees Matteo Berrettini face off against Pole Hubert Hurkacz – the man who sent Federer, perhaps for the last time, to the quarter-finals.
Whoever wins will make history with Berrettini attempting to become the first Italian to make a final at Wimbledon and Hurkacz the first Pole to reach the final of any slam.
While Djokovic is part of the furnishings of the Grand Slam commercial sector, the lineup for the semi-finals for Wimbledon’s return following last year’s cancellation looks as fresh as the damp weather that left center court lush.
Djokovic’s biggest problem early in the tournament was staying upright, but since those early falls he has looked flawless, winning 15 straight sets since losing the opening set of his title defense to British wild card Jack Draper.
That said, his draw was good and the only seed he faced was No.17 Cristian Garin in the fourth round.
10-seeded southpaw Shapovalov represents a big step forward in terms of threat, although the Canadian must replicate the dazzling form he has shown by beating two-time champion Andy Murray, Roberto Bautista Agut and Karen Khachanov on the way. towards the semi-final if he’s to have any chance of being upset.
“It’s a tennis match. Anything can happen,” Shapovalov said. “I will fight for every point and believe in myself.
“I believe I have the game to beat him and the game to win this game.”
Djokovic, however, will be very confident, having won 15 of his last 16 Grand Slam semi-finals and his last 19 games at Wimbledon – a run that has earned him the 2018 and 2019 titles.
“I saw him play against Murray. He feels really good. It’s impressive the way he plays,” said Djokovic.
“I’m sure this will be the biggest test I have so far in the tournament, which is expected. These are the semi-finals.”
Berrettini is fortunate enough to make it a Sunday for Italian sport with the Azzurri facing England in the Euro 2020 soccer final a few hours later on the road at Wembley.
But first he must pass the dangerous Hurkacz.
Berrettini’s run to his second Grand Slam semi-final was almost as impressive as Djokovic’s with just two sets lost.
The seventh seed issued a message of intent by becoming the first debutant since Boris Becker in 1985 to win the Queen’s club title last month and carried that form to Wimbledon where his first serves at 130 mph and hits Burning rights helped him make his way through the drawing.