Wimbledon 2021: Novak Djokovic to face Denis Shapovalov in semi-finals

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Defending champion Novak Djokovic had too much quality for Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics as he reached the Wimbledon semi-finals with a focused display.

Djokovic, 34, was far from his best, but still won 6-3 6-4 6-4 against 29-year-old Fucsovics, who was contesting his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

The Serb will play 10th seed Denis Shapovalov on Friday after the Canadian beat Russian 25th seed Karen Khachanov.

Djokovic is now two wins from a record-equalling 20th men’s major.

After winning the Australian Open and French Open titles already this year, another triumph at the All England Club will mean he equals the tally jointly held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

With Nadal not playing at SW19 this year, Federer could move one clear of the Spaniard – and two clear of Djokovic – if he triumphs for a record-extending ninth time on Sunday.

The Swiss sixth seed, who turns 40 next month, followed Djokovic on to Centre Court for his quarter-final against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.

Djokovic content after ‘solid’ win

Five-time champion Djokovic had dropped just one set on his way to the Wimbledon quarter-finals and never looked like losing another against world number 48 Fucsovics.

That was despite the Serb playing less cleanly and confidently than in any of his previous four wins.

Djokovic looked tense throughout a win which took two hours and 17 minutes, only lightening up after clinching victory on his first match point.

On a windy Centre Court, Djokovic made a superb start as he raced into a 5-0 lead and created his first set point with just 22 minutes on the clock.

Yet, it took him another five set points – and 20 minutes more – to seal the opener.

Fucsovics, who had won just one main-draw match at Wimbledon before this year, dug deeper and started to offer more resistance.

A crucially-timed break for a 5-4 lead proved the difference in the second set, with Djokovic taking the Hungarian’s serve in the first game of the third set.

It was not all plain sailing, though. Djokovic had to see off four break points in the set before clinching victory when Fucsovics batted a first serve long.

“It was a solid performance,” said Djokovic, who recorded his 100th career win on a grass court.

“I started off extremely well, there were not too many things wrong in the first six games.

“Then, one break of serve in the second and third sets were enough. Credit to Marton for hanging in there.”

Shapovalov relieved after reaching first Slam semi-final

Denis Shapovalov celebrates beating Karen Khachanov
Shapovalov impressively beat Britain’s former world number one Andy Murray in the third round

While Djokovic is an old hand at this stage of a Grand Slam, he will again face an opponent who is entering new territory.

Shapovalov reached his first major semi-final with a 6-4 3-6 5-7 6-1 6-4 victory over Khachanov.

The 22-year-old has been long been one of the most exciting talents on the ATP Tour, but previously had little pedigree on the grass before this summer.

While the left-hander won the junior Wimbledon title in 2016, he had only won four tour-level matches on the surface before reaching the Queen’s semi-finals last month. Now he has backed that run up on the most prestigious grass courts of all.

Shapovalov came through a nervy deciding set against Khachanov, unable to take any of three break points at 2-2 but finally taking the Russian’s serve for a 5-4 lead.

After starting with a nervy double fault, he composed himself to serve out the match before falling flat on his back at the baseline.

“There were so many times where I thought Karen was too good and going to roll away with the match,” said Shapovalov, who puffed out his cheeks, shook his head and laughed in disbelief after clinching victory.

“It was definitely super, super tough, especially in the fifth set.”

BBC

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