Matteo Berrettini has become the first Italian man to reach the final at Wimbledon, setting up a mouth-watering showdown with Novak Djokovic.
Berrettini proved too good for the man who thrashed Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, using his booming serve and powerful forehand to beat Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-0 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 on Friday.
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In doing so, the seventh seed became the first Italian man to reach the final at the All England Club and first to reach any grand slam final since Adriano Panatta - who won the French Open in 1976.
Berrettini - partner of Australian player Ajla Tomljanovic - will now face defending champion Djokovic, who has a record-equalling 20th grand slam title in his sights.
"Things are all over the place," Berrettini said of his post match emotions.
"At the same time I think I handled the situation pretty well.
"I stepped on court, I was feeling confident. I knew that I could win the match.
"I think I played my best match so far. So I'm really happy for my performance.
"Especially after the third set, everything was kind of - I felt I could win that set...but didn't happen.
"I said to myself 'you're playing better than him, so keep going like this and you're going to win'."
My god Berrettini 🥵🥵 wimbleDom
— CalMac and Chill (@frisealarainn) July 7, 2021
Berrettini forehand oh my god. What power.
— Jackson Hurston (@the843balla) July 9, 2021
Berrettini currently has a better win % on grass than Rafa and Murray, that is insane, no matter what his competition has been.
Berrettini = 82.8%
Nadal = 78%
Murray = 81.5%
— Foot Fault Tennis (@FootFaultPod) July 9, 2021
Berrettini sets up Wimbledon final against Djokovic
The 25-year-old from Rome won 11 straight games from 3-2 down in the first set, taking full advantage of a shaky performance from the 14th-seeded Hurkacz.
After dismantling eight-time Wimbledon champ Federer in the quarter-final, Hurkacz didn't hit a single groundstroke winner against Berrettini until midway through the third set.
He did at least manage to fight back in the third and give the crowd something to cheer.
But Berrettini, the Queen's Club champion last month, immediately broke again in the opening game of the fourth set and wrapped up victory when Hurkacz's final return of his mammoth serve floated long.
"It means everything. Not just my parents, my brother, one of my best friends," the Italian said after being cheered on by his family in the Centre Court stands.
"I started playing tennis with them. When we were kids, we were going on holiday, we were always bringing our racquets.
"We were pretending to be players that now I'm playing against.
"Tennis is in my family. It's something we have in our DNA, and it makes me feel so good to have them here."
Berrettini said Panatta texted him after his quarter-final win against Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime.
"What he texted me? He told me 'now that you're here, go for it'," he said. "That's what I'm trying to do."
Later, Djokovic moved within one victory of a record-equalling 20th grand slam title by beating Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-5.
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