Wimbledon 2023 Results: Djokovic, Alcaraz Win Semi-Finals
Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached a fifth successive Wimbledon men’s final where Carlos Alcaraz will try to end the Serb’s recent dominance.
Second seed Djokovic, 36, won 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-4) against Italian eighth seed Jannik Sinner in the semi-finals.
Djokovic is one more win from an eighth Wimbledon men’s title and 24th major title – both record-equalling tallies.
Spanish top seed Alcaraz, 20, won 6-3 6-3 6-3 against Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev later on Friday.
Alcaraz outclassed Medvedev in the second semi-final, also played under the Centre Court roof, to reach his first final at the All England Club.
By contrast, Djokovic has reached his ninth Wimbledon showpiece.
It will also be a record 35th Grand Slam final appearance after he surpassed the tally he previously shared with American Chris Evert.
Djokovic has not lost a completed match at Wimbledon since 2016 and has not been beaten on Centre Court since 2013.
“In the semi-finals, it was always going to be a very close and very tense match,” said Djokovic, who is 14 years and 86 days older than Sinner.
“That was the case and the scoreline doesn’t give the reality of what was happening on the court. It was super close.
“Jannik has proven why he is one of the leaders of the next generation and one of the best players in the world.
“I tried not to look at age as a hindrance or a factor of the outcome. I guess 36 is the new 26.”
Experience prevails over youth – again
The contrast between Djokovic and Sinner in terms of experience was laid bare by the statistics before the match – and borne out in reality during it.
Sinner, 21, was playing his first Grand Slam semi-final, while Djokovic was contesting a 46th major semi-final – equalling Roger Federer’s all-time men’s record.
Djokovic, who turned 36 in May, was bidding to become the third oldest man in the Open era to reach the final. Sinner was aiming to become the youngest since 2007.
Knowledge of how to succeed on the biggest occasions in the sport, plus the ability to execute when it matters the most, proved to be the key.
Sinner was not able to convert any of his six break points in the match, including two in the opening game and another later in the pivotal first set.
Djokovic converted his only opportunity in the first set and demonstrated his ability to clinically close out, hitting three aces and a service winner from 0-15 down at 5-3 in the opener.
With Sinner having not faced a seed in his run to the last four, Djokovic was a considerable step up in class.
Things looked increasingly ominous for the Italian when he handed over a break for 2-1 in the second set.
A fourth chance to take Djokovic’s serve went begging in the fourth game – where the Serb was docked a point for hindrance, judged by British umpire Richard Haigh to have disturbed Sinner with a long grunt, and then warned for taking too long to serve.
After his jaw dropped in disbelief and had words with the official, Djokovic quickly regained focus to hold.
The former world number one went on to serve out the second set without facing a further break point and few would have backed Sinner to turn the match around at that point.
The Italian refused to wilt like many expected and instead raised his level to push Djokovic in a tight third set.
Djokovic was becoming increasingly tetchy as a result.
He had an exchange with a fan after saving two set points at 5-4, sarcastically telling them to stop crying, then smiling in the same direction after securing victory in the tie-break.
Alcaraz underlines talent in ‘one of best’ performances on grass
Alcaraz and Medvedev have both won major titles on the US Open hard courts, but were attempting to reach the SW19 showpiece for the first time after a summer of marked improvement at the All England Club.
Alcaraz is playing in only his fourth professional tournament on grass courts and had won the Queen’s title in the run-up.
It is testament to his outstanding talent he has become the youngest Wimbledon men’s finalist since Spanish 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in 2007.
Confidence in his footwork has continued to build over the British grass-court season, providing the platform for the athletic Spaniard to use his hefty serve, booming groundstrokes and deft drop-shot to devastating effect.
Growing up in Murcia, clay courts are seen as his most natural surface but hard courts are where he won his first major at Flushing Meadows last year.
Now he has emerged as a force on grass and underlined the fact again with a dominant win over Medvedev.
There was little between the pair until Alcaraz broke late in the first set. With the momentum, he took serve twice more in the second before eventually wrapping up the third by ending a run of four straight breaks.
“I played great. I thought a really good level, tennis level and tactical level as well,” Alcaraz said.
“It was one of my best matches on grass. I’m really, really happy to get through to the final.”