Wimbledon final for the ages — Alcaraz, Djokovic

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning his match against Daniil Medvedev on day 12.

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning his match against Daniil Medvedev on day 12. Photo: AAP

Wimbledon’s king Novak Djokovic and its new prince Carlos Alcaraz will meet in the men’s final that all Wimbledon has longed to see, with the title of world’s best player also on the line.

The seven-times champion Djokovic and the current global No.1 Alcaraz both produced magnificent straight-set wins under the Centre Court roof on Friday to book the eagerly-awaited showdown of the generations.

First, Djokovic, frustrated with a crowd vociferously rooting for his young semi-final opponent Jannik Sinner, just seemed even more determined to reach a record-breaking 35th grand slam final with a consummate 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win.

Then US Open champion Alcaraz, if anything looking even more convincing, then outplayed No.3 seed Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-3 6-3 to book his chance to lift a second grand slam crown at the tender age of 20.

Sixteen years separate the two finalists, with Alcaraz the youngest man to reach the final since fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in 2006 and the one figure who stands in the way of Djokovic equalling Australian Margaret Court as the all-time leading grand slam winner with 24 titles.

“This is a dream for me to be able to play a final in Wimbledon. I can’t believe it,” the Spanish youngster told the Centre Court crowd.”

Of his opponent, who’ll be seeking a fifth successive Wimbledon crown, he added: “What can I say? Everybody knows the legend he is, it’s going to be really, really difficult – but I will fight, I will fight. He is invincible since 2013 on this court, but I will believe I can beat him here.”

Medvedev’s exit also spared Wimbledon chiefs the uncomfortable scenario of the Princess of Wales having to hand the trophy to a Russian player, after players from that country and Belarus had been banned from the 2022 championships over the Ukraine war.

Earlier, in his 46th major semi-final and Sinner’s first, Djokovic lost his cool with umpire Richard Haigh – and the crowd – but still saw off the man who took him to five sets in last year’s quarter-final.

This was not smooth sailing, though, and Djokovic was angry at the decision of British umpire Haigh to call a ‘hindrance’ against him at 15-15 in the fourth game of the second set.

Djokovic had suddenly let out a loud and definitely late grunt after hitting a backhand down the line that he probably expected to be a winner only for Sinner to reach it.

It is rare for a grunt to prompt a hindrance ruling and Djokovic was horrified, saying to Haigh: “You must be joking. Calling that in the semi-final of Wimbledon? What are you doing?!”

Haigh then also gave him a time violation for delaying a serve in the same game but the champion managed his composure.

But he was equally frustrated with the crowd, who wanted Sinner to make a contest of it when the 21-year-old held two set points at 4-5 in the third set.

Djokovic ended up clapping sarcastically and giving the crowd an ironic thumbs up when they interrupted and delayed his second serve, and he was also booed for taunting the crowd after Sinner missed his chances.

The hindrance ruling “could have changed the course of the match,” Djokovic said afterwards.

“I mean, I felt really nervous after that call from the chair umpire, but kind of managed to regroup.”

He did, and is still a warm favourite to join Roger Federer as the only men to have won eight singles trophies at Wimbledon in Sunday’s potential classic.


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