Wimbledon 2022: Novak Djokovic comes from behind to beat Cameron Norrie and set up Nick Kyrgios final

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Novak Djokovic is into yet another Wimbledon final after victory over Britain’s Cameron Norrie  (AFP via Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic is into yet another Wimbledon final after victory over Britain’s Cameron Norrie (AFP via Getty Images)

For 32 minutes on a baking hot Centre Court, the dream of a British man once again reaching the Wimbledon singles final was well and truly alive.

Cameron Norrie was clinical, Novak Djokovic out of sorts and the ninth seed threatened something very special as he stromed through the first set. The first seven games of the second were solid too.

But there’s a reason, plenty of them in fact, why Djokovic has now gone 1,822 days without a Wimbledon defeat. Any setback only appears temporary, punches taken never a knockout blow, and so it proved. He took his chance at the end of the second set and never looked back as the top seed eased to a 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory.

Djokovic will walk out on Sunday as a Grand Slam finalist for the 32nd time, a record no male singles player in the history of the sport can match. That will be his eighth at Wimbledon. He will face a fresh Nick Kyrgios, who had a walkover in the semi-finals after Rafael Nadal’s abdominal injury curtailed the Spaniard’s calendar Slam bid. Kyrgios is one of only two current players to boast a winning record over Djokovic - he has won all four sets he has played against the Serbian.

It was only as this tournament moved into its second week that the British glare began to centre on Norrie, who had never previously made it past the third round of a Grand Slam. That barrier has now been smashed, even if the absence of ranking points means the world number 12 will not get the boost he deserves.

Andy Murray took the nation on an annual emotional rollercoaster before he got across the line at Wimbledon. His first title was preceded by a quarter-final exit, three consecutive last-four defeats and then that final against Roger Federer in 2012 which ended in tears. Norrie will hope this is the start of a similar, albeit shorter and less painful, run to glory.

It was a perfect start for Norrie as he broke the Djokovic serve in the opening game of the match, even if the predictable response swiftly came as the top seed returned the favour immediately. Norrie looked by far the more comfortable on Centre Court, regularly coming out on top of the longer exchanges.

Control of the set came for Norrie in the fifth game as he found another break, aided by a flurry of unforced errors, 12 in total in the first set, from the Djokovic racquet. The Brit continued to chase down everything and he had a third break when Djokovic found the net once more, giving Norrie a 5-2 lead. Two set points came and while the first went with a double fault, Norrie followed it with a thundering ace.

The cap was put on by Djokovic at the start of the second set and with it came a more assured display. Holds were exchanged for much of the set until Norrie produced his first truly poor game of the match. Djokovic ruthlessly took advantage. Centre Court was already celebrating a Norrie volley, which sailed wide, before he hit it and the Brit followed it with a long forehand to give Djokovic a break and a 5-3 lead. There was a brief wobble on the Serbian’s serve at 0-30, but the match was soon levelled.

Novak Djokovic had a shaky first set but quickly got things back on track (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic had a shaky first set but quickly got things back on track (Getty Images)

Norrie saved two break points at the start of the next set but Djokovic took control at the third time of asking as the Brit dumped a backhand into the net. The top seed was looking imperious on serve and while that meant a double break was not a necessity, Djokovic got one anyway to race through the rest of the set.

Djokovic had not faced a break point since the opening set so when he broke himself at the start of the fourth, following more unforced errors from Norrie, the finishing line was fast approaching. The Brit has no quit in him though and saved four break points to avoid falling out of sight. Norrie continued to just about hold firm and that left Djokovic to serve for it at 5-4. He needed just one match point, celebrating it with a kiss to a member of the crowd who had shouted out just as he served for victory.

Djokovic revealed he had to give himself a motivational talk when facing defeat in his quarter-final against Jannik Sinner, before reeling off three straight sets on his return. Kyrgios might have saved him a job.

“No matter how many Grand Slams he wins, he will never be the greatest for me,” Kyrgios said of Djokovic in 2019.

“Simply because, I’ve played him twice and like, I’m sorry, but if you can’t beat me, you’re not the greatest of all time.”

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