Wimbledon Men’s Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals Report
With Wimbledon winding down, Paul Morrison provides a recap over the last two rounds of action, which saw some fiery contests and show-stopping tennis on display.
Viewers and spectators were treated to four nail-biting quarter-final matches in the men’s singles draw at Wimbledon on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as a semi-final showdown on Friday. Featuring three five-set thrillers and a compilation of outrageous shots and rallies, the round of eight and last four have made this year’s championships one not to be forgotten in any hurry.
Djokovic Completes Comeback in Big Scare
The quarter-finals kicked off in the early afternoon of Tuesday when Novak Djokovic went up against tenth seed Jannik Sinner on Centre Court. Djokovic came into the tie having brushed off Tim van Rijthoven in four sets, whilst Sinner had the task of overcoming Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz, getting over the line in just over three and a half hours on court.
It looked as though the Serb was going to cruise the first set after going a break up in the first few minutes, but as Sinner settled in, he recovered to break back before snatching the set late on, going ahead 7-5.
Djokovic wasn’t playing his best tennis, and the Italian made sure to take full advantage by taking the game to the top seed, causing him to drop two service games where Sinner’s deadly forehand was proving too tough to get back into play, with the set finishing 6-2 as Centre Court looked as though it was going to witness an upset.
It was going to take a champion-style performance for Djokovic to get back into the match and have any chance of advancing to the last four, and this is exactly what the six-time champion did. He upped the quality of his shots to make his mark on the match again by clinching the third set back 6-3.
The Serb began to dominate the match from there on after getting an early break in the fourth set while Sinner was running out of ways to win points, both on his own and returning service games. The set was wrapped up 6-2 in a match that looked as though it was only ending one way.
Djokovic hardly put a foot wrong in the entirety of the final set as the Italian just could not do anything to stop him in his zone from getting to the finish line. Featuring a winner whilst falling over at the base line, Djokovic sealed his place in Friday’s semi-final by taking the last set 6-2.
Speaking to Lee Mackenzie after the match, Djokovic praised Sinner’s performance across the tournament and his belief of regaining hold of the match when he looked in trouble, saying, “I always believed I could turn the match around, I’ve done that quite a few times in the Grand Slams.”
The win was the Serb’s 26th consecutive victory at Wimbledon, which started all the way back in 2018. He expressed his love for the championships, telling Mackenzie, “Every single time I step in this court, the love affair keeps growing. Hopefully I can maintain this run.”
Norrie Roars into Semis on Court One
The other quarter-final on Tuesday saw Britain’s Cameron Norrie face off against former top ten player David Goffin in front of a packed crowd on Court One. Both were aiming to seal a spot in the semi-final of a major for the first time.
Norrie won their only previous meeting on the ATP tour at the Barcelona Open last year where the Belgian had to retire in the second set. The ninth seed appeared to be at an advantage heading into the match with Goffin coming out on top in a gruelling match against Frances Tiafoe that lasted over four and a half hours, whereas Norrie beat Tommy Paul in straight sets.
Goffin was looking to spoil the party for the Norrie fans, managing to get a break of serve from the Brit to take the opening set 6-3 in 33 minutes. He was unable to take the second set into a tiebreak though, as Norrie got the crowd on their feet again by taking set two 7-5 and levelling the match.
Showing glimpses of why he got to as high as 7th in the world, Goffin broke early in the third set and shut Norrie out with devastating forehand and backhand winners. It got even better for the Belgian, as once again he broke the Brit’s serve to control the rest of the set, winning 6-2.
The fourth set seen both players barely putting a foot wrong in a tense spell before a superb get from Norrie at the net helped him to go a break up and serve out and win the set 6-3, taking the match to the day’s second five-setter.
The fans inside Court One and outside on Henman Hill held their breath hoping Norrie could get that one chance to break Goffin’s serve, while the players put on a show by covering every inch of the court. Norrie pounced at an opportunity at 5-5 to win a crucial break point that had the British fans in full voice, which only got louder when he successfully served the final game out to wrap up the set 7-5 to earn a spot in the last-four.
As the crowd cheered his name, Norrie was lost for words and thanked the immense support from his coaching team, family and adoring fans.
Kyrgios Fairy Tale Continues After Straight Set Win
The first of the two quarter-finals on Wednesday welcomed Nick Kyrgios back to Court One where he played Chilean Cristian Garín. This would be their first meeting but with both players going through five-set matches in the round-of-16.
Becoming one of the main stories of the championships, Kyrgios had the supporters behind him as he recovered from a break down to steal the first set 6-4.
The thunderbolt serves and rocket forehands were on full display for Kyrgios as it only took one break of serve to push on and seal the second set 6-3, as Garín would be made to come from 2-0 down again if he was to repeat his astonishing comeback against Alex De Minaur in the fourth round.
The Chilean’s wonderful hands at the net kept him in the contest for the third set which entered a tiebreak. Kyrgios made the difference when it mattered most though with a collection of power forehands and marvellous net play to bring it to match point. With Garín hitting a backhand wide to give the win to the Australian who expressed his emotions by dropping to the ground in disbelief.
The tennis world had seen yet again the immense talent that Kyrgios carried and that he is as good as anyone when he isn’t nagging the umpires. Making the game look so effortless, he shows why he can be one of the game’s best entertainers.
Nadal Battles Through the Pain To Win in Five
The last quarter-final had Calendar Slam-chaser Rafael Nadal playing American number one Taylor Fritz on Centre Court. Their previous match saw Fritz come out on top in the ATP Masters 1000 final at Indian Wells in March, and he would be confident coming into this match having not dropped a set in the tournament.
The American took the opening set 6-3 after going a break down in his first service game, as Nadal started to really struggle and there were fears among his fans that he may have had to retire from the match.
Despite his slow start, the 22-time Grand Slam winner pushed on and took the second set 7-5 with a late break of Fritz’s serve. The quality of his shots dropped in set three, however, which gave Fritz the chance to take the set 6-3.
Nadal looked down and out with no way of stopping Fritz from advancing. But once again, he showed his determination and why he is arguably the greatest player that the sport has ever seen by miraculously taking the match into a decider – all thanks to another late break of serve.
The fifth set saw both players break serve a number of times in an unpredictable final act. Nadal made the most of his drop shots, as he couldn’t run around the court as much, with Fritz getting caught out by them on break points.
The match eventually entered a champions tiebreak, where the Spaniard once again timed his drop shots to perfection before finishing Fritz off with a cross-court forehand beyond the American’s reach. The tiebreak finished 10-4 to Nadal to exact revenge on Fritz, who ended his 100% start to the season at Indian Wells.
Although it was one of Rafa’s classic comebacks from two sets down, many were concerned that the damage he had done in the four hours and twenty-minute contest would see him unable to play his semi-final match.
Kyrgios Gets Bye Through to First Major Final after Nadal Withdrawal
There was to be two semi-final matches played on Friday afternoon, the first to feature Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal in what was promised to be a must watch with the two’s history. With their head-to-head record at Wimbledon being at one win apiece. With Kyrgios playing his best tennis and Nadal chasing his Calendar Slam dream, the match was destined for fireworks.
Unfortunately, we were robbed of this battle as Nadal announced he would have to withdraw from the tie due to an abdominal injury he suffered in the aftermath of the Fritz match. He never looked quite right whilst out on the practice courts earlier in the day and eventually made his decision to pull out instead of making the injury worse.
“For me to respect myself, I don’t want to go out there without having the chance to win. If I keep going the injury will get worse and worse – I feel very sad to say that.”
- Rafael Nadal in his Wimbledon press conference
Kyrgios will now play in the single’s final on Sunday with more of a rest over his opponent but also without more match practice.
Djokovic Shatters British Dreams to Take His Spot in The Final
The withdrawal of Nadal meant the semi-final between Novak Djokovic and home hero Cameron Norrie would be the only men’s singles action on Friday.
Their only match before Friday had been in the Nitto ATP Finals in November, which the Serb comfortably won 6-2 6-1. Norrie had the whole crowd inside Centre Court and on Henman Hill routing for him, whereas all Djokovic could do was go out and show why he’s the six-time champion at SW19 – often producing his best game when the crowd are against him.
It was the perfect start for the Brit who took an early break after four minutes, but his momentum was gone as Djokovic broke back in an instant, where he won a point with a wonderful ‘tweener’ lob followed by a killer drop shot volley.
The stadium erupted again when Norrie broke the Serb’s serve twice before pushing through and winning the first set 6-2, earning a round of applause and jubilant cheers from the thousands of spectators in and around Centre Court.
A tight second set ensued as both Norrie and Djokovic held firm in their service games all the way to 4-3 to the top seed before a big error on a volley for Norrie cost him in giving Djokovic a break of serve to let him get back to one set all.
The third set saw Djokovic really make his mark on the semi-final by double-breaking Norrie and winning the set 6-2. Now in control of the match, he continued his onslaught by taking an early 2-0 lead in the fourth set and leaving Norrie needing to do it all.
The Brit done his best to unnerve his opponent, but Djokovic kept his cool. With new balls in play, the Serb served out for the win, taking his third set 6-3 to book his spot in his eighth Wimbledon final and crushing Norrie’s dreams of a first major final.
In his on-court interview with Rishi Persad after the match, Djokovic said that his “job is not finished” in response to the stat that he had made his 32nd Grand Slam final out of 68 events. The Serb promised “a lot of fireworks” in his match against Kyrgios on Sunday and expects a very difficult contest as he has never taken a set from the Australian, who he said has “nothing to lose”.
A memorable championship at the All England Club is set for a dramatic finale and one that you will not want to miss.