Italy's Matteo Berrettini has become the latest high-profile tennis player to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics after injuring his thigh.

The world number eight, who had a bandaged leg in last week's Wimbledon final loss to Novak Djokovic, joins Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka in withdrawing from the men's event.

Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, Johanna Konta, Bianca Andreescu and Angelique Kerber are among those to have already announced their decision to skip the women's tournament in Tokyo.

Berrettini, the first Italian to reach a Wimbledon singles final, announced his decision in an Instagram post on Sunday.

The 25-year-old's announcement comes a day after compatriot Francesco Molinari revealed he will not be taking part in the golf event at the Olympics.

"I am extremely disappointed to announce my withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympic Games," Berrettini said.

"I had an MRI scan yesterday on the thigh injury I sustained during Wimbledon and was informed I will not be able to compete for a couple of weeks."

The Olympic tennis events begin on July 24 and run through to August 1.

However, the deadline to name new athletes passed on Friday, so the Italian National Olympic Committee will not be able to name a replacement to join Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego and Lorenzo Musetti.

"Representing Italy is the biggest honour for me so it is devastating to miss the Olympics," Berrettini added.

"I wish the entire Italian team the best of luck in Tokyo. I will be supporting you all the way."

Despite the flurry of withdrawals, world number one Djokovic confirmed this week that he will enter the Olympic Games.

Djokovic travels to Japan in pursuit of a ground-breaking achievement, the Serbian just two titles – the Olympics and US Open – away from a first men's Golden Slam after triumphing at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2021

A golden age deserves a Golden Slam, and who would bet against Novak Djokovic achieving that now?

This extraordinary Serbian has chased down Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the grand slam race, joining them on 20 majors as he became the first $150million man in tennis.

When he raced up to the players' box and butted heads out of joy with Goran Ivanisevic, his coach, Djokovic was living out another magnificent moment in a career jammed with them.

This is now three successive Wimbledon titles and six in all at the All England Club for Djokovic.

More than that though, he is the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the first three grand slams of a season, and the Olympic Games and US Open are still to come.

Steffi Graf is the only player in tennis history to have won all four majors and an Olympic gold in the same year, the great German doing so in 1988. Graf could soon have company in the record books, because Djokovic looks unstoppable.

When Matteo Berrettini snatched the opening set here on a tie-break, there were omens that said it would be the Italian's day. The grand slam final newcomer had a 22-0 winning record from the times when he previously won the first set in grass-court matches.

Djokovic had other ideas.

The 34-year-old is a case study in triumphant self-improvement, forever seeking ways to bolster his chances of winning, whether it be veganism, meditation or relentless hard yakka on the training court.

He wound up many with his views on vaccinations, and triggered others, including Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray, last August by fronting a new Professional Tennis Players Association at a time when the sport's existing off-court leaders were battling to cope amid the pandemic.

And he will never be as loved on Centre Court as Federer, Nadal and Murray, those other members of the Big Four. It's something he is coming to terms with.

"He means well but sometimes he doesn't come across," said Boris Becker on the BBC.

But what Djokovic does on court remains wondrous and his achievements are reaching new heights.

In grand slam terms, it is now a three-man crowd on 20 titles. Tennis can throw up surprises, but Djokovic is a firm favourite to break away and finish alone on top of the pile.

"It means none of us will stop, that's what it means," Djokovic said, as he reflected on matching his great rivals. "They're legends of our sport and they are the two most important players that I ever faced in my career. They are the reason where I am today.

"They helped me realise what I need to do to get stronger mentally, physically and tactically."

Federer could yet decide the time has come to quit, perhaps even before the US Open comes around, while Nadal, when he returns from his mid-season hiatus, may rise to the challenge in New York.

Yet Djokovic made his intentions quite clear when asked about the prospect of sealing a clean sweep of 2021's biggest titles at Flushing Meadows.

"I could defijnitely envision that happening," he said. "I'm hoping I'm going to give it a shot. "I'm in great form, I'm obviously playing well, and playing my best tennis at grand slams is the highest priority I have at this stage of my career, so let's keep it going."

Twenty years ago, wild card Ivanisevic won this title behind some of the greatest serving ever witnessed.

Against Berrettini and throughout Wimbledon, Djokovic demonstrated how much that shot has become such a vital play for him too.

Djokovic came into this title match with the best percentage record of first-serve points won in the tournament (85 per cent). Berrettini had served the most aces, but Djokovic sat a healthy third on that list too.

Like Cristiano Ronaldo in football, Djokovic has found new ways to prolong his stay at the top of his profession, and Ivanisevic has had a big part to play in that over the past two years.

Djokovic had 209 aces from 30 matches this year before launching into his Wimbledon mission, and he has added 68 in seven matches over this fortnight.

That represents a big step-up from where he was five years ago, when in a year that saw him win the Australian and French Opens and reach the US Open final he served a modest 276 aces in 72 matches. He has gone from serving close to four aces a match to seven. And while he will never launches aces in the manner of an Ivanisevic, he is still finding ways to develop his game.

Ronaldo has become increasingly a penalty area predator rather than a player who causes chaos across the football pitch. From the 2008-09 season to the 2013-14 campaign, Ronaldo scored at least eight goals per season from outside the 18-yard box, but over the past four seasons the most he has managed has been three.

Where once many of his goals came from fast breaks out of defence, now those are collectors' items.

The greatest find a way to sustain greatness and Djokovic is similarly working on building up the weaponry that allows him to extend his career well into his mid-thirties.

He won 79 per cent of first-serve points against Berrettini, who had a success rate of 76 per cent. And although he was out-aced 16-5 on this occasion, it was Djokovic's consistency that won out.

His athleticism remains astonishing. Trailing 3-2 in the fourth set, Djokovic dashed from the baseline to the net to track down a drop shot that would have beaten most, but he clipped the ball across court for a winner that even had Berrettini smiling.

The game was not yet up, but in essence it was. How do you beat this guy?

Djokovic now owns a 20-10 win-loss record in grand slam finals. Only Federer, who has reached 31 of those matches, has played in more.

Djokovic has won seven of the past eight slam finals he has contested. He has triumphed in six of his seven Wimbledon finals – the exception being his 2013 loss to Murray.

Tokyo awaits now, and then New York.

All that prize-money, all that he has achieved already, and Djokovic remains ravenous for more.

Novak Djokovic lauded Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as inspirations after he claimed his 20th grand slam title at Wimbledon.

Djokovic overcame Matteo Berrettini 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 6-3 on Sunday to win for the sixth time at the All England Club, matching Nadal and Federer's haul of slam titles in the process.

The world number one dropped just two sets throughout the tournament and will now head to the US Open looking to complete a calendar Grand Slam.

Asked what it meant to draw level with his two great rivals, Djokovic said: "It means none of us three will stop, that's what it means.

"I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger, they are legends of our sport, they are the two most important players I ever faced in my career. They are the reason that I'm where I am today, they've helped me realise what I need to do to get stronger mentally, physically, tactically.

"When I broke into the top 10 for the first time I lost for two, three years all of the big matches I played against these guys. Something shifted in 2010, the beginning of 2011 and the last 10 years has been an incredible journey that is not stopping here."

Djokovic, 34, will go to New York looking to overtake his rivals and create history as he looks to become only the second man to win the four majors in the same year.

"I could definitely envisage that happening. I'm hoping, I'm going to definitely give it a shot," he said.

"I'm in great form. Playing my best tennis at grand slams is my highest priority at this stage of my career. Let's keep it going."

Djokovic beat Federer in an all-time classic Wimbledon showdown in 2019, though did not quite find his best form against slam final debutant Berrettini.

"It was more than a battle, I would like to extend congratulations to Matteo," he said.

"I know it's not the best feeling losing in a final. I'm sure there's a great career ahead, I truly believe that. He's got an incredible game, very powerful - true Italian hammer! 

"Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream of mine as a kid, I've told this story many times but I have to repeat it to remind myself how special this is and not take it for granted. On the contrary, to enjoy and be aware that this is a huge honour and privilege.

"A seven-year-old boy in Serbia, constructing a Wimbledon trophy from materials I could find and today finding with a sixth Wimbledon [title] it's incredible, amazing."

Berrettini took a front-foot approach and struck an impressive 57 winners, but ultimately his unforced error count of 48-27 to Djokovic's tally – proved costly. Indeed, the Italian lost the match when he sent a weak backhand into the net.

"Unbelievable feelings, maybe too many to handle," Berrettini said.

"For sure he was better than me, he is a great champion. Well done Novak, once again, he is writing the history of this sport so he deserves all the credit.

"I'm really happy for my final, hopefully it's not going to be my last one here, my last one in a grand slam."

Novak Djokovic drew level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 grand slam titles after battling back to beat Matteo Berrettini and defend his Wimbledon crown.

Sunday's final was the first since 2019, when Djokovic had to be at his best to edge Federer in one of the All England Club's great matches.

The top seed scarcely came close to that same standard against Berrettini, nor did he need to despite falling behind in a first-set tiebreak, allowing his opponent – a major final debutant – to defeat himself at times.

A 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 6-3 success earned Djokovic parity with Federer and Nadal, and he may well be out on his own as he shows few signs of slowing while his ageing rivals each manage their schedules.

Even in command of the one set he dropped, Djokovic survived a sloppy start to break at the second attempt as his opponent skewed a forehand into the sidelines and piled on the pressure again in a long eighth game.

But he faltered when serving for the set, with Berrettini's chipped forehand pass restoring parity, which was then protected with a roar to reach a tiebreak.

The pair traded mini-breaks before Berrettini seized the initiative, stepping forward for a superb forehand winner and serving out the set with a blistering ace.

Djokovic promptly claimed control of the second, though, alert at close range to break a first time and two up when Berrettini bowed to the third chance in the third game, firing into the net.

Berrettini did not give up the chase, following an outrageous tweener lob for 5-2 with a break back after Djokovic's slip and then a further frantic hold.

However, the world number one this time successfully served out the set to love and once more made swift progress in the third, holding his nerve in a backhand rally until Berrettini clipped the net.

Djokovic saved a pair of break points at 3-2 and kept Berrettini at arm's length thereafter to see out the set.

Berrettini took the fight to the favourite in the fourth but merely succeeded in provoking his best play of the match, a staggering point in which the breathless Djokovic held firm setting the stage for a break in the next game – decided by a double fault.

With the end in sight, rather than face the challenge of serving for game, set, match and championship, Djokovic went on the offensive again and Berrettini could not cling on, slicing into the net at the last.

Data Slam: Berrettini brave but beaten

Berrettini's aggressive approach meant this match was always likely to be decided on his racket. His 16 aces improved a tournament-high tally to 117 and fittingly included the decisive point in the first set. There were also 57 Berrettini winners, including three from approach shots in that opener. But the 48 unforced errors to the risk-averse Djokovic's 21 took the contest away from the Italian.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 31/21
Berrettini – 57/48

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 5/4
Berrettini – 16/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 6/15
Berrettini – 2/7

Novak Djokovic is wary of the threat "red hot" Wimbledon final rival Matteo Berrettini poses to his Golden Slam ambitions.

Chasing a sixth title at the All England Club, and bidding to become the fourth man in the Open Era to record a hat-trick of successive Wimbledon triumphs, Djokovic could hardly be set to face a tougher opponent.

Berrettini won the Queen's Club title on grass in June and has made good on many experts' prediction that he would be the player to come through the bottom half of the SW19 draw.

Should the 25-year-old Italian carry off the title, he would become his country's first singles champion at Wimbledon.

And although Djokovic starts as a heavy favourite, looking to join Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 grand slams, it is not so preposterous to think there could be an upset.

Berrettini leads the way in aces with 101 for the tournament, which puts him 38 ahead of Djokovic in third place on the list.

He has also been the second fastest server, sending down a delivery of 139mph. Djokovic sits top in terms of points won on first serve, his 85 per cent success record putting him a shade ahead of Berrettini, fifth with a very healthy 82 per cent.

There have been suspicions in the past that Berrettini had a limited game in terms of its dimensions, but he has put paid to that talk in recent times, showing admirable variation, which together with the confidence that is soaring makes him a genuine threat to the world number one.

 

Djokovic has not lost at Wimbledon against a fellow top-10 player since his defeat to Andy Murray in the 2013 final, and if he is seeking positive omens ahead of Sunday's Centre Court showdown that is certainly one, as is the fact he beat world number nine Berrettini in four sets in their French Open quarter-final in early June.

The 34-year-old from Belgrade is aiming to complete the third leg of a staggering bid to win all four majors and the Olympic Games singles title. The Golden Slam is a feat only ever previously achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988.

But Djokovic senses danger when he looks at Berrettini, more so than when they met on clay in Paris.

He pointed out: "Obviously grass favours him even more, favours his game. If he serves big, as he did throughout the entire tournament, it's tough to break his serve, it's tough to go into the rhythm, to find a good positioning to return, make him play.

"But I believe in my return. I think return has served me very well throughout my career. Hopefully I'll be able to get a lot of those serves back and wait for my chances."

Djokovic added: "It's really anybody's game. He's arguably the guy who has been in the best form on grass courts this year, winning Queen's. He's red hot. It's going to be a great battle."

It would be a sixth Wimbledon title for Djokovic should he claw his way past Berrettini, who is seeking a first grand slam title.

In the Open Era, only Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer have won three or more successive Wimbledon titles among the men, while Djokovic, in this potentially historic year of his, is bidding to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win each of the first three slams in a season.

Berrettini's career record does not come near to competing with that of the player who will stand on the opposite side of the net. On Sunday the Rome-born player will target a sixth tour title, and a third on grass.

Yet coming from Queen's Club, he was being told that a major opportunity awaited him at Wimbledon.

"I knew I could do it, but I didn't think I am going to do it because this is how I am," Berrettini said.

"I took every step really careful and slowly. I guess it was the right thing to do. Obviously the job is not done yet. I want to get the trophy now that I'm here."

Matteo Berrettini is advising his compatriots to purchase new televisions for what he expects to be a special Sunday that will see him contest the Wimbledon final before Italy face England in the Euro 2020 showpiece.

Berrettini will become the first Italian to feature in a singles final at Wimbledon when he faces world number one Novak Djokovic, bidding for a record-tying 20th grand slam title, at the All England Club.

Over in North London, Italy will look to break England hearts at Wembley by lifting the European Championship trophy, three years on from failing to qualify for the World Cup.

The twin tales of sporting unlikelihoods will have the attention of a nation that could well be celebrating a dual triumph by the time Bjorn Kuipers blows the final whistle to end the Euros.

Speaking after his four-set semi-final win over Hubert Hurkacz, Berrettini said: "I will tell them to buy a nice TV if they don't have one already because I think it's going to be a special Sunday for all of us.

"It's something crazy to believe for us, obviously let's say tennis, because it's never happened [at Wimbledon]. So it's something that nobody expected, me in the first place.

"Then for football, because I mean, we didn't qualify for the World Cup, so after that the job that they did, how hard they worked, the effort that they put, I think they really deserve this final.

"For Italian people in general, it's going to be tough Sunday, no? But I think we deserve it.

"It's a great day, great sport day. I'm really happy that together with football now [tennis] is one of the biggest sports in Italy."

Novak Djokovic expects Matteo Berrettini to be at his best when he meets the Italian in the Wimbledon final on Sunday.

Djokovic is a win from moving level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal by claiming a record 20th grand slam title.

Standing in his way will be the considerable figure of Berrettini, who overcame Hubert Hurkacz in four sets to reach the final of a major for the first time in his career at the age of 25.

Djokovic was made to work hard to see off Denis Shapovalov in straight sets on Centre Court on Friday.

And he is anticipating another tough battle against one of the form players on tour this year.

Recalling his own maiden appearance in a grand slam final, a defeat to Roger Federer at the 2007 US Open, Djokovic said: "I remember that I was just so thrilled to be in the final.

"I had a good match but I just probably did not believe enough in the victory at certain moments when the scoreline was close.

"I was really young, 20 years old. Matteo is a bit older. He's had more experience playing on the Tour.

"He's already had notable results in the biggest tournaments and some big wins against the top players of the world.

"I expect him to be on really high level because that's what he's been delivering in last couple weeks. He's in great form, serving big and playing big.

"To win a 20th grand slam would mean everything. That's why I'm here, and why I'm playing.

"I imagined myself being in a position to fight for another Grand Slam trophy prior to coming to London.

"I've put myself in a very good position and I'm looking forward to a great battle."

Wimbledon will mark Berrettini's fourth final of the 2021 season, with his recent victory at Queen's Club securing his second title of the year.

Djokovic was the last man to beat Berrettini, who is now 32-6 for the year, doing so in four sets in the French Open quarter-finals.

Yet Djokovic completed that victory after fans had been forced to leave because of a curfew in Paris and he knows a capacity Wimbledon crowd may not be on his side.

"I hope that I will have the stadium on my side. Having the crowd behind you, against you, it's a big difference," he added. 

"People like to see someone win who is an underdog or is not maybe expected to win, is not the favourite. But hopefully people can also recognise also the importance of this match for me, the history that is on the line."

Matteo Berrettini set up the possibility of a remarkable London double for Italy on Sunday after scorching through to the Wimbledon men's final.

The Queen's Club champion delivered a stunning Centre Court display to demolish Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-0 6-7 (3-7) 6-4, becoming his country's first Wimbledon singles finalist and firing 22 aces to reach 101 for the tournament.

And what a weekend it could now be for the Italians. Berrettini will have a Sunday afternoon shot at glory in south-west London, before attention turns to Wembley where Roberto Mancini's Azzurri face England in the Euro 2020 final.

This semi-final clash of two men who each stand a towering 6ft 5in tilted in Berrettini's favour early, as he won 11 games in a row from 3-2 behind in the opening set, establishing a firm grip. The man in the backwards baseball cap was simply mauling the Pole, who wore his forwards.

It left opponent Hurkacz, who perhaps ended Roger Federer's Wimbledon career with his quarter-final victory over the eight-time champion, scrabbling around for answers to where it was all going wrong.

Berrettini suffered a clinical drubbing by Federer on this court two years ago, winning only five games, but the 25-year-old has progressed since then.

 

It was the most delicate of drop shots that clinched the opening game of the second set, and a drop shot decided the next game too – a poor one from Hurkacz that found the net as he was broken to love. Berrettini was soon two sets up in just 58 minutes.

Rafael Nadal beat Berrettini in the Italian's only previous grand slam semi-final, at the 2019 US Open, and nerves began to show in the third set as Hurkacz came back strongly, taking it on a tie-break.

But an immediate break in the fourth, Hurkacz netting a forehand up the line, was the cue for a yell of "Come on!" from the Italian.

He stayed in front and at 5-3 had a first match point after blazing a forehand winner into the right corner. Hurkacz saved that but not a second in the next game, his service return flying long.

Berrettini said: "I need a couple of hours to understand what happened. I know I played a great match. I think I never dreamed about this because it was too much for a dream. I'm so happy and I think that's it."

Data Slam: Hubert goes down but set for rankings boost

Hurkacz was bidding to extend a four-match winning streak against top-10 players, having previously got the better of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev in Miami, and Daniil Medvedev and Federer at Wimbledon. Consolation for him is the knowledge he will climb to a career-high of number 11 in the ATP rankings on Monday.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Berrettini – 60/18
Hurkacz – 27/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Berrettini – 22/1
Hurkacz – 5/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Berrettini – 6/10
Hurkacz – 0/2

Matteo Berrettini kept his momentum going with victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime in four sets to reach the Wimbledon 2021 semi-finals.

Champion at Queen's last month, Berrettini dropped just his second set of the tournament at SW19 but saw off Auger-Aliassime 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-3 in just over three hours.

The seventh seed hit 33 winners against Auger-Aliassime to set up a showdown with Hubert Hurkacz, who ended Roger Federer's quest for a ninth title earlier on Wednesday.

Berrettini promptly moved into a double-break lead but he then squandered four set points at 5-2 and allowed Auger-Aliassime to get back into it.

The Italian put things right in the next game even if he ultimately had to wait until his seventh set point, breaking for the third time in the set to move ahead.

Auger-Aliassime hit back with a break in the third game of the second, Berrettini finding the net after a double fault had given the Canadian an opportunity.

But a double fault of Auger-Aliassime's own allowed Berrettini to level matters at 3-3 and he soon forced three break points that would have allowed him to seize full control.

However, the younger man showed impressive character to save them and later broke again himself at 5-5 before holding to level the match.

The third set went the way of the serve until the 12th game when Berrettini earned a crucial break to move within a set of a showdown with Federer's conqueror Hurkacz.

And the world number nine did not look back as he got off to a flying start to the fourth set by breaking his nervy opponent in the second game.

Auger-Aliassime, who at 20 was bidding to become the youngest male to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals since Djokovic in 2007, failed to hit back and big-serving Berrettini saw the job through to advance.

 

 

Data Slam: History-making Berrettini marches on

Berrettini showed more consistency than Auger-Aliassime, who was competing in his first major quarter-final, and with this victory becomes the first Italian to reach a Wimbledon semi-final in the Open Era. 

The Italian has a 23-5 tour-level record on grass and, after winning his first ATP 250-level title at Queen's last month, he will now fancy his chances of overcoming Hurkacz for a place in the final.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Berrettini – 33/45
Auger-Aliassime – 24/41

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Berrettini – 12/3
Auger-Aliassime – 13/6

BREAK POINTS WON
Berrettini – 6/14 
Auger-Aliassime – 3/12

Unseeded Sebastian Korda agonisingly missed out on a place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals after a crazy fifth set against Karen Khachanov.

Korda has attracted headlines with his run to the last 16 given his family's sporting success - his sister Nelly recently won the Women's PGA Championship while his father Petr is a former Australian Open champion.

The American had seen off seeds in Alex de Minaur and Dan Evans to reach this stage, almost repeating the trick on his 21st birthday against Khachanov on Monday.

However, he ultimately fell to defeat as Khachanov won 3-6 6-4 6-3 5-7 10-8 in a classic clash that lasted just short of four hours.

After Korda had forced a decider, there were 13 breaks of serve in a remarkable final set on Court 18.

Khachanov had a break advantage at 5-4, 6-5 and 7-6 but Korda – who racked up 56 winners - denied him from serving it out for victory on each occasion.

The Russian finally was able to get over the line after breaking his American opponent at 8-8 and finally holding serve.

Following his gruelling win, Khachanov will play Denis Shapovalov next after the Canadian - conqueror of Andy Murray in the previous round - saw off Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets.

Shapovalov won 6-1 6-3 7-5 to eliminate the eighth seed and reach his second grand slam quarter-final.

Elsewhere, seventh seed Matteo Berrettini continued his serene progress at Wimbledon, thrashing Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-3 6-1.

Champion at Queen's prior to the tournament, Berrettini lost serve just once in the contest and has not dropped a set since doing so in his first-round win over Guido Pella.

He will face Alexander Zverev or Felix Auger Aliassime for a place in the semi-finals.

Matteo Berrettini became the first Queen's Club Championships debutant to carry off the singles trophy since Boris Becker, as the Italian landed the biggest title of his career.

The world number nine beat British hope Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 in the London showpiece match on Sunday, setting himself up ideally ahead of a Wimbledon mission later this month.

Whereas Becker was 17 when he triumphed at Queen's Club in 1985, going on to be champion at Wimbledon just weeks later, Berrettini is 25 years old and established as a leading player.

His big serve – an aspect of his game he shares with vintage Becker – proved a huge asset against Norrie as Berrettini served 19 aces and won 91 per cent of points when landing his first delivery.

Norrie could not forge a break point but did commendably well to force a deciding set in a match that lasted three minutes short of two hours.

Berrettini said he had experienced an "unbelievable week", lifting his first title at ATP 500 level, and he was blown away by the Becker link.

"If I think about his name and my name, it's crazy," he said in an on-court interview.

"I was dreaming about playing this tournament. I was watching when I was a kid and now I had the chance to lift the trophy. It's a dream come true."

Berrettini could be a threat to anyone if his serve fires at Wimbledon, and he was proud of how he fended off Norrie.

"I didn't check the numbers during the match. I knew I was serving well," said Berrettini. "I knew it was important because in the rallies this guy is dangerous. I knew I had to play my best tennis."

Berrettini said his celebrations were likely to be muted, given he is in a pre-Wimbledon bubble, predicting his team would limit his post-match treats to "probably room service and sparkling water".

There would be cause for greater cheer if Berrettini goes on a run at the All England Club, with Wimbledon due to begin on June 28. His previous best performance at Wimbledon was a run to the fourth round two years ago.

Berrettini told Amazon Prime: "I know it's going to be a really tough tournament.

"Probably all the players have extra motivation to play well there so it's going to be tough, but I have a lot of confidence."

Matteo Berrettini continued his impressive charge at the Queen's Club Championships as he booked a place in the final against Cameron Norrie.

Top seed Berrettini, ranked nine in the world, has not dropped a set all week.

His impressive run has seen him defeat home hopes Andy Murray and Dan Evans, with one more Briton in the shape of Norrie left to see off in his bid for glory.

Berrettini ensured he will be in the final by claiming a 6-4 6-4 triumph over fourth seed Alex de Minaur in the semi-final on Saturday.

The Italian dropped just four of his 36 points on first-serve and sent down eight aces, with De Minaur only able to force one break point in the entire contest, which he did not take.

"[Making the final] was the goal of the week and now I have one more step," said Berrettini.

"It is a great achievement, especially for the history of this tournament. I am really happy because to beat Alex, I had to play my best tennis."

Berrettini has four tour titles to his name, though this would be his first at ATP 500 level or above.

Victory would also represent the biggest win of Norrie's career – he has lost each of his three previous finals, all at ATP 250 level.

Norrie impressively eliminated Denis Shapovalov to reach the showpiece, beating the Canadian 7-5 6-3.

Shapovalov had earlier finished off a 6-3 6-4 quarter-final win over Frances Tiafoe, a match that could not be completed on Friday due to fading light.

But the second seed could not muster up another victory against a fresher Norrie.

At the Halle Open, Andrey Rublev reached his eighth final since the start of 2020, though his first on a grass court.

Rublev dropped his first set of the week but ultimately prevailed with a 6-1 3-6 6-3 semi-final victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The Russian has won his last four finals at ATP 500 level and will seek a fifth on Sunday.

"It's my first final on grass and in Halle," he said. "I think I can play on every surface and I will try my best again.

"I had good opportunities to break Basilashvili in the second set, some quite easy forehands and I stressed a little showing my emotions. 

"I then came back and stayed calm, until the last game. But I won."

Rublev will take on unseeded Ugo Humbert, who held his nerve to edge a thriller against Felix Auger-Aliassime, winning 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-5).

Humbert beat Alexander Zverev earlier in the week and has had to win a deciding set in all four rounds, while the beaten Auger-Aliassime had previously seen off Roger Federer as part of a dramatic event.

Frenchman Humbert won each of his first two career finals, which both took place last year in ATP 250 events.

Top seed Matteo Berrettini has his sights set on the Queen's Club Championships title after beating Dan Evans in the quarter-finals.

After a delay of more than four hours because of rain in London, Berrettini overcame Evans 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to reach his third ATP grass-court semi-final.

The Italian hit 13 aces and won 81 per cent of his first-serve points against Evans to set up a last-four clash with Alex de Minaur. 

Berrettini improved his win-loss record to 24-6 for the season and laid out his ambition to walk away from the tournament with the trophy.

"I didn't serve that well, but I was returning well and I just played better in the last few points of the tie-break," he said.

"After that, I felt more confident. The conditions were really tough, windy and cold, so I took time to adapt a little bit. I am pretty happy with my performance.

"The court condition was really good. I expected slippery conditions, but it was like yesterday.

"I came here to win the tournament, that is my goal. Now I am two steps away. I am happy with the way I am playing, and my mental attitude is really good."

Up next for Berrettini is Australian De Minaur, who came from behind to defeat Marin Cilic 3-6 6-3 6-4.

The 22-year-old won 73 per cent (22/30) of his second-serve points and saved six of the seven break points he faced as he moved to 16-12 for the season.

In the battle of the British players, Cameron Norrie beat Jack Draper 6-3 6-3, while Denis Shapovalov was leading Frances Tiafoe 6-3 when their match was suspended due to fading light. They will resume on Saturday.

At the Halle Open, Andrey Rublev reached his sixth ATP Tour semi-final of the year thanks to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win over 2011 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber.

"I am happy with my performance to reach the semi-finals for the first time," Rublev said. "The first set was really tough. He was 3-0 up in the tie-break and I came back, which was the key.

"After the first set, I think he mentally went down and I was pumped up. I hit a couple of good returns in the first game of the second set."

Russian Rublev will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in the last four after the Georgian defeated Lloyd Harris 6-4 7-6 (7-5). 

In the day's other quarter-finals, Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Marcos Giron 6-3 6-2 and Ugo Humbert overcame Sebastian Korda 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-4.

Top seed Matteo Berrettini beat Andy Murray to reach the quarter-finals at Queen's Club and Ugo Humbert upset Alexander Zverev at the Halle Open on Thursday.

Murray, a five-time champion at Queen's, was beaten 6-3 6-3 by Italian Berrettini as the three-time grand slam champion struggled a day on from being given a Wimbledon wildcard.

The former world number one beat Benoit Paire in his first ATP Tour singles match since March on Tuesday, but the 34-year-old revealed he is still being troubled by a groin injury after his loss to Berrettini and knows he must raise his game.

Murray said: "I actually felt my movement was actually quite good for both of the matches. My tennis today was not very good. That's the thing that I'll need to improve the most.

"Then there is still a slight niggle in the groin, so [I have] to try to get rid of that discomfort between now and Wimbledon. I need to be playing points, basically. I played two sets in preparation for this event.

"I do feel like I genuinely have been hitting the ball well in practice, but then like today when you're under a bit more pressure and stuff and you're having to make very split-second decisions when you're on the court, if the guy is serving 140 miles an hour, like, it's difficult to prepare for that."

Dan Evans made history earlier in the day, getting the better of Adrian Mannarino 6-4 7-6 (9-7).

With Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie having already progressed, Evans' win ensured there will be three Britons in the singles quarter-finals for the first time in the Open Era.

Feliciano Lopez will not retain his title in London after the Spaniard went down 6-2 6-3 to second seed Denis Shapovalov. Spanish veteran Lopez won in 2019, with last year's tournament cancelled due to the pandemic.

There will be no glory on home soil in Halle for German Zverev, who was taken out 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-3 by unseeded Frenchman Humbert.

Humbert has now beaten a top-10 player on every surface, with Zverev serving 20 aces but bowing out after his 22-year-old opponent claimed the only break of the final set.

Sebastian Korda battled past Kei Nishikori 2-6 6-3 7-5 in Halle, while Lloyd Harris also moved into the last eight at Lukas Lacko's expense.

Novak Djokovic did not try to play it cool after setting up a dream Roland Garros showdown with Rafael Nadal. 

The world number one defeated Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 Wednesday to secure a semi-final match-up with the 13-time French Open champion. 

Djokovic admitted his meetings with Nadal are "not like any other match" and said he expects a "great battle" Friday when the pair meet for the 58th time. 

"Let's face it, it's the biggest challenge that you can have playing on clay against Nadal on this court in which he has had so much success in his career," Djokovic told a press conference. "In the final stages of a grand slam, it doesn't get bigger than that.

"Of course, each time we face each other, there's that extra tension and expectations. Just vibes are different walking on the court with him.

"But that's why our rivalry has been historic I think for this sport. I've been privileged to play him so many times."

Djokovic holds a narrow edge against the man he called his biggest rival, with 29 victories to Nadal's 28, but the Spaniard has won the last two meetings -- including a straight-sets triumph in the French Open final last year. 

"Obviously different conditions are going to be played on Friday than it was the case in finals of last year, so I'm hopefully going to be able to also perform at the high level than I have, especially in the first two sets in the last year's final.

"The quality and the level of tennis that I've been playing in the last three, four weeks on clay -- Rome, Belgrade and here -- is giving me good sensations and feelings ahead of that match.

"I'm confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn't be here. Let's have a great battle."

Djokovic had to battle Wednesday to defeat the ninth-seeded Italian, letting loose a primal scream when he finally put the match away in the fourth set. 

The Serbian said the crowd was Davis Cup-like before fans were ushered out due to the local curfew. 

"The crowd lifted him up. He was playing some really powerful tennis," Djokovic said. 

"Especially in the third and fourth he served tremendously strong and precise. It was just very difficult to read his serve and play someone like him.

"He's very talented. He can play well from the back of the court. He's got a lethal forehand, dropshots. ... When he's on, it's tough to play him."

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