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Djokovic Novak back in Wimbledon final

Djokovic Novak  back in Wimbledon final

Novak Djokovic, Shapovalov, Matteo Berrettini, Berrettini, Denis Shapovalov

Djokovic Novak back in Wimbledon final

It's Novak Djokovic vs. Matteo Berrettini in Wimbledon Final Fri, 09 Jul 2021 11:00:00 -0700-WIMBLEDON, England — The victories keep adding up for Novak Djokovic: 20 in a row at Wimbledon since the start of the 2018 tournament, 20 in a row in all.

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Sunny skies. Near record high temperatures. High 94F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph..

Clear skies. Low 58F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.

Updated: July 10, 2021 @ 12:21 am

Latah County recorded in 2020 its fewest reported criminal offenses since at least 2004, and local law enforcement officials said the COVID-19 pandemic is a big reason why.

It was fewer than three years ago that then-novice Veronica Ewers first showed up to a “meet the team” event for Seattle’s Fount Cycling Guild in “leggings and tennis shoes” with a flat-pedal bike that was “way too big” and tires that were “a little flat.”

“Hot enough for ya?” How many times did you hear that in the past two weeks? In addition to the extremely high temperatures, the Pacific Northwest experienced a few other things — specifically rolling blackouts and fireworks bans.

PHILADELPHIA — When her mom died last summer, Aileen Edge and her husband, Dave, made the long, sad drive down from Washington state to settle affairs.

The corner of Pullman’s Main Street and Grand Avenue was a popular destination for coffee lovers when Cafe Moro operated there for 15 years. In August, a year after Cafe Moro closed, a new coffee shop will move into that same building with the hope of being a convenient and welcoming place for people to enjoy their favorite brew.

Associated PressSerbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during the men’s singles semifinals match on Day 11 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships Friday in London.

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini celebrates after defeating Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov leaves the court after being defeated by Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz reacts after losing a point to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning a point against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov celebrates winning a point against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini celebrates after defeating Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini plays a return to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic plays a return to Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz plays a return to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic watches her boyfriend Italy’s Matteo Berrettini play against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz celebrates winning the third set against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini plays a return to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz plays a return to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov serves to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic falls while playing against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov leaves the court applauded by Serbia’s Novak Djokovic at the end of the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Associated PressSerbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during the men’s singles semifinals match on Day 11 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships Friday in London.

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini celebrates after defeating Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov leaves the court after being defeated by Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz reacts after losing a point to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning a point against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov celebrates winning a point against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini celebrates after defeating Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini plays a return to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic plays a return to Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz plays a return to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic watches her boyfriend Italy’s Matteo Berrettini play against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz celebrates winning the third set against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini plays a return to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz plays a return to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov serves to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic falls while playing against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov leaves the court applauded by Serbia’s Novak Djokovic at the end of the men’s singles semifinals match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

WIMBLEDON, England — The victories keep adding up for Novak Djokovic: 20 in a row at Wimbledon since the start of the 2018 tournament, 20 in a row in all Grand Slam matches since the start of this season.

Get both streaks up to 21 on Sunday by beating Matteo Berrettini in the final at the All England Club, and Djokovic will tie rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with a 20th major championship, the most for a man in tennis history.

“It would mean everything,” the No. 1-ranked Djokovic said. “That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m playing.”

He worked his way in and out of trouble against a much younger, much-less-experienced opponent Friday until eliminating No. 10 Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals at Centre Court.

Each set was tight and intense. Each appeared to be within Shapovalov’s grasp — until it was in Djokovic’s.

“He was serving for first set. He was better for most of the second set; had a lot of opportunities and just didn’t manage to close it out when he needed to,” said Djokovic, who at 34 is 12 years older than Shapovalov. “In important moments, I think I probably held my nerves better than he did and just (made) him play an extra shot, (made) him do an unforced error.”

Djokovic made just 15 unforced errors, Shapovalov 36. The other key stats: Djokovic saved 5 of 5 break points in the second set, then 3 of 3 in the third.

“What hurt so much this time was just that I felt like the game is there and it’s possible to go and play for the trophy,” said Shapovalov, who walked off in tears after falling to 0-7 against Djokovic. “It’s a feeling I’ve never had before, so that’s why it just hurt so much. I felt like I was outplaying Novak in parts of the match. If you’re outplaying Novak, you can beat anyone.”

So true. Now another new-to-these-stages foe, No. 7 seed Berrettini, will give it a shot.

Cries of “Vai!” (Go!), “Forza!” (Let’s go!) and even “Andiamo, amore mio!” (Let’s go, my love!) rang through the All England Club’s main stadium earlier, supporting Berrettini in his native tongue on his way to becoming Italy’s first Grand Slam male finalist in 45 years.

With booming serves delivering 22 aces, and powerful forehands helping compile a total of 60 winners, Berrettini used an 11-game run to grab a big lead and held on to beat No. 14 Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-4.

Djokovic is trying to collect a sixth championship at Wimbledon — and third straight — to go along with nine from the Australian Open, three from the U.S. Open and two from the French Open.

And then there’s this: After collecting trophies on the hard courts of Melbourne Park in February, and the red clay of Roland Garros in June — defeating Berrettini in the quarterfinals there — Djokovic seeks a triumph on the grass of the All England Club to get three-quarters of the way to a calendar-year Grand Slam, with only the U.S. Open remaining.

No man has pulled off that three-title stretch within one year — let alone all four — since Rod Laver won the Grand Slam in 1969.

This will be Djokovic’s 30th major final, Berrettini’s first. Much as it was Djokovic’s 41st major semifinal, Shapovalov’s first.

“Obviously, the job is not done yet,” said the 25-year-old Berrettini, who lost his only previous Slam semifinal, at the 2019 U.S. Open. “I want to get the trophy now that I’m here.”

He owns an 11-match winning streak on grass courts, including the title at the Queen’s Club tuneup last month, when he became the first man since Boris Becker in 1985 to win the trophy in his debut at that event.

“Matteo played (an) unbelievable match,” said Hurkacz, who arrived at Wimbledon on a six-match losing streak but beat Federer and No. 2 Daniil Medvedev to reach his first Slam semifinal. “I didn’t have many chances, basically. Probably zero.”

When he got broken for the first time, the 24-year-old from Poland sat for the ensuing changeover and, between bites of a banana, motioned to his American coach, Craig Boynton, to adjust the seating arrangements in their guest box. As if that were the issue.

Cheered from the stands by his girlfriend, Ajla Tomljanovic, who made it to the quarterfinals this week, and his parents and brother — Mom captured his on-court interview with her cellphone — Berrettini was two points from winning in the third set.

But Hurkacz extended the contest to an extra set, before Berrettini asserted himself again.

A lefty with a vibrant, sometimes violent, swing, including when it comes to his one-handed backhand, Shapovalov kept pushing Djokovic to the brink, but couldn’t quite get the job done.

That backhand forced a Djokovic error to conclude a 15-stroke exchange that provided Shapovalov with a break and a 2-1 edge. He stretched that to 5-3 and was two points from taking the set in the next game, but couldn’t get closer.

Serving for the set at 5-4, Shapovalov faltered — pushed by Djokovic’s indefatigable defense.

Djokovic broke, then was better in the tiebreaker. Not perfect, but better.

Mostly playing it safe and letting Shapovalov err worked just fine. Shapovalov double-faulted to end that set. He did so again to get broken to trail 6-5 in the second. And again in the game that left him behind 6-5 in the third.

By then, Djokovic was punching the air and shouting, knowing the match’s end, and another final, was near. ___

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Novak Djokovic back in Wimbledon final Fri, 09 Jul 2021 11:00:00 -0700-Djokovic, the world's top player, has a chance to reach 20 Grand Slam titles to tie Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. His Italian opponent has the opportunity to …

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Djokovic, the world’s top player, has a chance to reach 20 Grand Slam titles to tie Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. His Italian opponent has the opportunity to play spoiler.

WIMBLEDON, England — Denis Shapovalov was serving for the first set in the semifinals of Wimbledon on Friday, and Novak Djokovic was sliding to his right, bent forward with his left hand on the Centre Court dirt.

The court was open. All Shapovalov had to do was find it with his forehand.

Instead, he overhit the shot — overcooked it, as the British like to say — striking it just a bit long. Djokovic would soon break serve.

It was just one moment in a three-set match, and if you had not been watching Djokovic for 15 years, it would have been tempting to attribute the moment to luck.

But such big-point turnarounds happen for him far too often to qualify as happenstance. Even when he is out of position, way out of position, Djokovic’s defensive wizardry and mental fortitude make his opponents think they have to go for more — which, so often, is too much.

Before you know it, he has won again.

“Against Novak, you’re going to have some chances that you’re not going to get,” said Shapovalov, his eyes still red from crying after his 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5 defeat. “He does a really good job of putting pressure when it’s needed, and you feel it exactly in those moments. He steps up.”

On Sunday, Djokovic will try to win his 20th Grand Slam singles title, tying the men’s record shared by his two career-long rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

“Well, it would mean everything,” Djokovic said. “That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m playing.”

But after years of facing off against Federer and Nadal with Wimbledon trophies on the line, Djokovic will meet a fresh challenge in this edition of the world’s oldest major tennis tournament.

This time, it has been Djokovic against the newcomers, and after holding off the inspired yet erratic 22-year-old Shapovalov, he will face the powerful 25-year-old Matteo Berrettini in the final.

Djokovic has dropped just one set so far, and that was the first set he played — against the British wild card Jack Draper on opening day, when the grass was still lush along the baseline.

But it has turned to dust at this stage, along with nearly everyone’s hopes of pulling an upset. The only threat remaining is the No. 7 seed Berrettini, a strapping, tattooed Italian with swagger in his step and his serve.

If Djokovic defeats him, he will not only equal Federer and Nadal. He will remain on track for the so-called Golden Slam, which requires a player to win all four Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year. Only Steffi Graf, in 1988, has done it.

This will be Djokovic’s 30th Grand Slam singles final. It will be the first for Berrettini, who defeated No. 14 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, 6-3, 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-4, in Friday’s opening semifinal.

Berrettini is also the first Italian, man or woman, to reach a Wimbledon singles final.

“I think I never dreamed about this, because it was too much for a dream,” Berrettini said.

A late bloomer who was not a dominant junior, he needed time to grow into his power game. But his run hardly comes as a shock at this stage, not after he reached the U.S. Open semifinals in 2019, not after he pushed Djokovic hard in a four-set quarterfinal at last month’s French Open, a match that left Djokovic howling in an all-but-empty stadium after closing out the win.

Berrettini then won the grass court warm-up event at the Queen’s Club, which has often been a harbinger of success at Wimbledon.

At 6-foot-5, he has an explosive serve and one of the heaviest forehands in a sport that is full of heavy forehands. But as he demonstrated against Hurkacz, he has improved his mobility and backhand — both his blocked, two-handed service return and his one-handed slice.

“Anything is possible in the finals,” Djokovic said. “Obviously experience is on my side, but Berrettini has been winning a lot of matches on grass courts this year, winning Queen’s. He’s in great form. He’s serving big, playing big, so it’s going to be a very tough match, I think, for both of us. But I’m looking forward to a great battle.”

Hurkacz, an aggressive player with a game well suited to grass, upset No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round and Federer in the quarterfinals, winning the final set by 6-0 against the eight-time Wimbledon champion.

Berrettini won the second set by the same score on Friday, and though Hurkacz did lift his game and push the semifinal to a fourth set, he could never find a way to break Berrettini’s serve. Berrettini finished with 22 aces and 60 winners in total, and just 18 unforced errors.

“Matteo played pretty great,” Hurkacz said. “I mean he served bombs. He really didn’t do many mistakes throughout the whole four sets. I mean if he continues to play like this, he has really a big chance in the final.”

The problem for so long for so many has been summoning such a performance against Djokovic, who has grown into the game’s supreme big-match player.

He bends as no one else has ever bent in men’s tennis, contorting his angular frame into positions worthy of Cirque du Soleil. On Friday, he continued to struggle with his footing, as he has throughout the tournament, falling repeatedly. By the end, with his white shirt covered in dirt, he looked like someone who had just come out of the backyard after roughhousing with his young children (he and his wife, Jelena, have two).

But finishing Djokovic off is one of the toughest tasks in sports. Shapovalov was the latest to take his swings at it. The Canadian left-hander is one of the flashiest players in tennis, and he came out ripping first serves and airborne groundstrokes, forcing Djokovic out of his defensive comfort zones.

But Djokovic is never more dangerous than when he is cornered. After Shapovalov, in his first Grand Slam semifinal, faltered trying to serve out the first set, Djokovic took command of the tiebreaker. Shapovalov failed to win a point that he served, and he finished with a double fault.

It was a reminder of the past, when Djokovic dominated the tiebreakers during his five-set victory over Federer in the 2019 Wimbledon final. It was also a sign of things to come, as Shapovalov continued to impress with his easy power and stylish game but continued to fail to win the points that mattered most.

He converted just one of 11 break points against the No. 1 seed, and though he did a fine job of keeping his emotions in check for most of the match, by the final stages he was shouting toward his team in the players’ box and mocking his own errors.

Djokovic can do that to an opponent, even a very talented one, as he bends but refuses to break. And though Shapovalov received a loud ovation from the Centre Court crowd after the match, he was already in tears during the handshake, and he kept crying after packing his bags and heading for the exit.

Djokovic, who endured setbacks in the early stages of his career, was in no mood to rub it in. After predicting big things for Shapovalov in his on-court interview, Djokovic paid him a visit in the clubhouse.

“He just told me knows how difficult it is for me right now; he told me that everything will come,” Shapovalov said. “It’s big coming from someone like him. He doesn’t have to do this. It just shows the type of person he is.”

On Sunday, Djokovic will get his latest chance to show what kind of champion he is. He has spent much of his career chasing Federer’s and Nadal’s achievements, and after passing Federer this year for the most total weeks at No. 1, and becoming the first man to beat Nadal twice at the French Open, he can match them with No. 20.

He would not mind a bit more crowd support than usual.

“People like to see someone win who is an underdog,” Djokovic said. “But hopefully people can also recognize the importance of this match for me, the history that is on the line.”

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– July 9, 2021
Novak Djokovic, Shapovalov, Matteo Berrettini, Berrettini, Denis Shapovalov

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