Matteo Berrettini produced another grass-court masterclass to roar into the 2021 Wimbledon men’s final with an impressive four-set victory over Hubert Hurkacz.
The number seven seed, who arrived at SW19 on the back of a tournament triumph at Queens, saw off the Pole in two hours and 36 minutes courtesy of a 6-3 6-0 6-7(3) 6-4 success.
Berrettini is the first Italian in history to reach a Wimbledon singles final and will now meet either world number one Novak Djokovic or 10th seed, Denis Shapovalov in Sunday's showdown for the trophy.
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Speaking on Centre Court after booking a spot in his first major final, Berrettini said: “I have no words, really. Just thanks, and I need a few hours to understand what (just) happened. I just know that I played a great match. I’m really happy. I’m glad to be here. I enjoy the crowd. My family is there and my whole team… I think I never dreamed about this because it was too much for a dream, you know. I’m just so happy.. Grazia (laughs)!”
So far this is the best day, tennis-wise, in my life. Hopefully Sunday will be even better, but I’m so proud to bring the (Italian) flag here with so many great names (who have reached a Wimbledon final) and I feel kind of chills. But I’m doing it, so I have to believe it."
Both players were appearing in their first semi-final at the All England Club but it was Berrettini who looked most at home as Hurkacz, 24, struggled to rediscover the form that saw him stun eight-time champion, Roger Federer, in the last eight.
After two emphatic holds to kick the contest off, it was Berrettini who threatened first with three break points, but Hurkacz battled back to dig out the hold and suggest he was ready to go toe-to-toe with his opponent. The Polish No.14 seed then pressed the Italian in a nine-minute game but couldn’t convert in what proved to be a significant moment in the match.
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Berrettini upped the ante with a sensational crosscourt forehand winner on the run to begin a purple patch that saw him break twice and snatch the first set in 35 minutes.
The world number nine continued to play sparkling tennis with Hurkacz looking lost and devoid of answers. Indeed, Berrettini took an astonishing 11 games in a row and claimed a second-set bagel to move within one set of a place in the final.
Hurkacz earned a roar of approval from the Centre Court crowd when he finally held with a clever serve and volley for 1-1 in the third and from there he managed to rediscover some rhythm on serve and force a tie break.
Berrettini tightened up as victory moved within sight and was always playing catch-up in a breaker that his opponent deservedly claimed by a 7-3 scoreline.
However, any thoughts of a sensational comeback were immediately halted. The Italian dusted himself down and earned an instant break at the start of the fourth set to wrestle the momentum back his way and pave the path towards victory.
Berrettini earned a match point with a stunning forehand up the line at 5-3 but Hurkacz produced clutch tennis to pose the serve-out question. The Italian shrugged off an early double fault to reel off four points in a row and secure himself a piece of history.
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