Wimbledon 2022 Day 12: Djokovic into 32nd Slam final

Serb recovers from slow start to shake Norrie challenge

Novak Djokovic Wimbledon 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

Novak Djokovic admits his semi-final opponent on Friday, Cameron Norrie, was “the better player for a set and a half” before the defending champion kicked into gear and dismissed the home favourite 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in 2hr 35min.

Djokovic, who hasn’t lost a match at Wimbledon since 2017, has moved into his eighth final at the All England Club, which sees him claim sole ownership of second place on the all-time list for most Wimbledon men’s singles finals reached.

The 35-year-old will face fiery Australian Nick Kyrgios for a shot at a seventh Wimbledon crown and a 21st Grand Slam trophy.

Djokovic now stands alone at the top of the all-time list for most men’s singles major finals reached as he booked his place in the 32nd Grand Slam title decider of his career, surpassing Roger Federer, who has competed in 31 Slam finals.

“I'm aware of what's on the line. Every match, every Grand Slam that I get to play at this stage of my career, there is a lot on the line,” said Djokovic, who trails Rafael Nadal by two Slam titles on the men’s all-time leaderboard of majors won.

“I don't know how many Grand Slam opportunities to win the trophy I will still have, as I will have in few days' time.

“So, of course, I'm approaching it with positive attitude and self-belief and willingness to win. There's no doubt about it.

“How do you balance that? Well, it's really subjective. Every player is different. I can't, and I don't want to speak about all the details and routines that I have that make me feel well-balanced and prepared.

“But there are things that I do in order to make myself mentally, emotionally, and physically well-prepared.”

Only two players have ever reached more Grand Slam finals than Djokovic, Chris Evert (34) and Serena Williams (33).

Djokovic dropped three service games against Norrie but claimed five breaks of serve himself to overcome the British lefty.

The top seed fired 38 winners, including 13 aces, against Norrie, a won 81% (26/32) of his net points throughout the contest.

Kyrgios next

His next challenge is a big one as Djokovic acknowledges he has yet to win a set in either one of his two previous meetings with first-time major finalist Nick Kyrgios.

“Knowing who he is and how he goes about his tennis and his attitude on the court, he doesn't seem to be falling under pressure much,” said Djokovic of the 40th-ranked Australian.

“He plays lights-out every time he steps out onto the court. Just a lot of power in his serve and his game. So I'm sure he's going to go for it. No doubt he's going to be aggressive. I expect him to do that. I'm going to make sure I get ready for that one and let the better player win.”

Kyrgios had never made it past the quarter-final stage at a Grand Slam prior to this fortnight and he secured passage to Sunday’s championship match courtesy of a withdrawal from an injured Rafael Nadal.

The Canberran is the first Australian man into a Wimbledon final since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002 and the first into a Grand Slam final since Hewitt at the 2005 Australian Open.

“I never thought I'd be here at all, to be brutally honest with you,” Kyrgios said on Friday in his pre-final press conference.

“I'm just super proud and I'm just ready to go. I'm going to give it my all and we'll see what happens.”

Nick Kyrgios Wimbledon 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Women’s doubles final set

The top two seeded teams in the women’s doubles draw will square off in the final as Elise Mertens and Zhang Shuai, and Czech duo Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova claimed victories on Friday.

No.1 seeds Mertens and Zhang battled past American pair Danielle Collins and Desirae Krawczyk 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, while Krejcikova and Siniakova eased past No.4 seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

Mertens won the doubles crown at Wimbledon last year alongside Hsieh Su-Wei, while Zhang, a two-time doubles Grand Slam champion, is searching for a maiden triumph in SW19.

The Czechs won Wimbledon in 2018 and are gunning for a fifth major crown together.

Quote of the day

“I think it was a good experience obviously to play him. Especially the level he brings here at Wimbledon. Yeah, it gives me a lot of confidence.

“But, I mean, it doesn't mean anything. It's nice to do it and experience it. Loved it, loved every moment of it. I think I need to keep working hard and still got a lot of things I can improve on my game.

“Yeah, great experience. I can take a lot of confidence from it. To reach the semis, reach the Friday of the second week, is pretty sick. But I think for me, I want to go more and I want to do more of that and go one further and try to win a Slam.”

– Norrie following his defeat to Djokovic on Friday