Jannik Sinner continued his push for an ATP Finals spot with a straight-sets defeat of Reilly Opelka in the first round of the Vienna Open, while Carlos Alcaraz exacted revenge on Andy Murray.

Sinner won his fourth title of what has been an outstanding season for the Italian in Antwerp last weekend and is only 110 points adrift of Hubert Hurkacz in the battle for the final place in the season-ending event in Turin.

Murray did the 20-year-old a favour by knocking Hurkacz out of the ATP 500 tournament in the Austrian capital on Monday and seventh seed Sinner eased to a 6-4 6-2 win over American Opelka two days later.

Sinner, who will overtake Pole Hurkacz if he reaches the semi-finals this week, won 93 per cent of points behind his first serve and did not face a break point in a resounding win and will play Dennis Novak in the second round.

Murray beat Alcaraz at Indian Wells this month, but the 18-year-old rising star from Spain turned the tables on the three-time grand slam champion with a 6-3 6-4 second-round win in Vienna.

Former world number one Murray struggled with his serve and was broken five times as he made an early exit.

Third seed Matteo Berrettini beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-3 to reach the third round, while Diego Schwartzman, Gael Monfils and Lorenzo Sonego moved into the second round.

In the St Petersburg Open, defending champion Andrey Rublev beat Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals along with Denis Shapovalov, a 2-6 6-3 6-0 winner against Pablo Andujar.

Jan-Lennard Struff also moved into the last eight, with Karen Khachanov and Marin Cilic securing first-round wins.

Top-10 seeds Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov were bounced from the Indian Wells Masters on Monday as number one seed Daniil Medvedev hit a season milestone. 

Tommy Paul took down Rublev, beating the fourth seed for the first time in four meetings, while the ninth-seeded Shapovalov fell to Aslan Karatsev.

The news was not all bad for the higher seeds, though, as US Open champion Medvedev picked up his 50th win of the year. 

 

PAUL DOWNS RUBLEV

Playing in the main draw at Indian Wells for the first time, the 24-year-old American Paul outlasted Rublev 6-4 3-6 7-5 for his second win in eight career matches against top-10 players.

Paul was on the offensive throughout the match, firing 41 winners while making 37 unforced errors, while Rublev had 23 of each. 

The Russian will lament missed opportunities, as he converted just four of 14 break point chances before watching Paul break him twice in the final set to prevail. 

Paul moves on to face 21st seed Cameron Norrie, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 5-7 6-3.

 

MEDVEDEV NOTCHES 50TH WIN

Medvedev had to work a bit to get past 27th seed Filip Krajinovic 6-2 7-6 (7-1), improving to 38-5 on hard courts in 2021. Only Stefanos Tsitsipas (52) has more victories overall this year. 

The Russian had 25 winners and 18 unforced errors while winning 70 per cent of points on his first serve. 

He next faces 23rd seed Grigor Dimitrov, who downed 16th seed Reilly Opelka 6-3 6-4. 

 

KARATSEV UPSETS SHAPOVALOV

Playing at Indian Wells for the first time, 19th seed Karatsev upset Shapovalov 7-5 6-2, saving the only break point he faced in the match.

Casper Ruud, seeded sixth, rallied past Lloyd Harris 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 as he seeks his sixth tournament title this year. 

He will face 11th seed Diego Schwartzmann, who beat 18th seed Daniel Evans 5-7 6-4 6-0 to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells for the first time.

Eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz had little trouble with Frances Tiafoe, rolling past the American in straight sets.

Jannik Sinner, the 10th seed, advanced via walkover when John Isner withdrew from the tournament to fly home and be with his wife Madison with their third child expected to arrive ahead of schedule on Tuesday. 

Top seed Daniil Medvedev made quick work of Mackenzie McDonald in his opening match at the Indian Wells Masters, cruising to a 6-4 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Medvedev – the US Open champion – has lost only three of his last 41 sets, and has never dropped one to McDonald in five career meetings with the American as he maintained his red-hot form. 

Russian star Medvedev is now 37-5 on hardcourts this year and appears well-positioned to make it past the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament for the first time as he awaits Filip Krajinovic.

"I'm actually really pleased, because usually I haven’t played well in Indian Wells and I haven’t been playing that well in practices before [the tournament]," Medvedev said in his on-court interview. "[I am] really happy with my performance. That’s the most important [thing] no matter how I played before the tournament."

RUBLEV ROLLS PAST TABERNER

Medvedev's countryman Andrey Rublev closed out the night session with a 6-3 6-4 defeat of Carlos Taberner, who was facing a top-10 opponent for the first time. 

Fourth seed and world number five Rublev won 66 per cent of points on his first serve and hit 30 winners to Taberner's 12. 

Rublev improved to 47-16 this season, 31-9 on hard courts, and will face Tommy Paul in the third round. 

 

SHAPOVALOV WINS IN NEAR-WALKOVER

Most of the seeded players in action had an easy time of it, none more so than Canadian ninth seed Denis Shapovalov.

Shapovalov's opponent and countryman Vasek Pospisil retired with an apparent back injury after dropping the first three games of the match. 

Sixth seed Casper Ruud blew past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1 6-2, while eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz downed Alexei Popyrin 6-1 7-5. 

Diego Schwartzman had to work harder to advance, the 11th seed outlasting qualifier Maxime Cressy 6-2 3-6 7-5. 

Top-ranked American Reilly Opelka, the 16th seed, beat Taro Daniel 7-5 6-3 for his first main-draw victory at Indian Wells in four attempts. 

Daniel Evans also went the distance to defeat Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-3 6-4, while former world number three Grigor Dimitrov, 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev and Frances Tiafoe were among the other players to advance.

Andrey Rublev needed almost two hours but his punishing forehand helped him to victory over Diego Schwartzman in the San Diego Open quarter-finals on Friday.

Top seed Rublev won 6-1 7-5 in one hour and 52 minutes over the Argentine, who kept on coming throughout the contest.

The Russian world number five's victory books his spot in the last four where he will face Briton Cameron Norrie, who upset fourth seed Denis Shapovalov 6-3 6-1.

Rublev is featuring in his eighth semi-final of the calendar year and chasing his first title since winning in Rotterdam in February.

He had been a break up in the second set after dominating the first, but Schwartzman broke back.

The second set appeared destined for a tie-break with Schwartzman up 40-0 on serve at 5-6, before Rublev won the next five points to claim victory.

"The second set was very tough and enjoyable for the spectators to watch," Rublev said. "Every game was really tough with amazing points and the set could have gone either way."

Second seed Casper Ruud defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-1 6-4 to book his semi-final spot where he will meet Grigor Dimitrov who beat Aslan Karatsev in three sets.

Ruud's win improved his 2021 record to 45-12, with the 22-year-old Norwegian rising to a ranking of 10.

Andrey Rublev needed almost two hours but his punishing forehand helped him to victory over Diego Schwartzman in the San Diego Open quarter-finals on Friday.

Top seed Rublev won 6-1 7-5 in one hour and 52 minutes over the Argentine, who kept on coming throughout the contest.

The Russian world number five's victory books his spot in the last four where he will face Briton Cameron Norrie, who upset fourth seed Denis Shapovalov 6-3 6-1.

Rublev is featuring in his eighth semi-final of the calendar year and chasing his first title since winning in Rotterdam in February.

He had been a break up in the second set after dominating the first, but Schwartzman broke back.

The second set appeared destined for a tie-break with Schwartzman up 40-0 on serve at 5-6, before Rublev won the next five points to claim victory.

"The second set was very tough and enjoyable for the spectators to watch," Rublev said. "Every game was really tough with amazing points and the set could have gone either way."

Second seed Casper Ruud defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-1 6-4 to book his semi-final spot where he will meet Grigor Dimitrov who beat Aslan Karatsev in three sets.

Ruud's win improved his 2021 record to 45-12, with the 22-year-old Norwegian rising to a ranking of 10.

Andy Murray's stay in San Diego was short-lived, as the veteran fell to second seed Casper Ruud in straight sets Thursday. 

World number 10 Ruud prevailed 7-5 6-4 over the three-time grand slam winner, rolling to victory after a shaky start. 

Murray broke Ruud in the 22-year-old's second service game of the match, but could not maintain the advantage as Ruud converted five of six break points in the match. 

Ruud will face ninth seed Lorenzo Sonego, who defeated Sebastian Korda 6-4 6-3, saving six of seven break points against his own serve while converting all three of his chances on Korda's. 

Fourth seed Denis Shapovalov defeated Taylor Fritz 7-6 (9-7) 6-2, saving six set points in the process. 

The Canadian moves on to a quarter-final meeting with Cameron Norrie, who downed Daniel Evans 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. 

Grigor Dimitrov dominated August Holmgren 6-1 6-1 in 56 minutes, winning 83 per cent of his service points.

Dimitrov next faces Aslan Karatsev, who rallied to upset fifth seed Hubert Hurkacz 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

Team Europe are poised to seal yet more Laver Cup glory after producing another dominant display against Team World, though the focus was on Nick Kyrgios following comments about his long-term future.

Europe swept Saturday's four matches in Boston to stand on the cusp of a fourth consecutive Laver Cup triumph – the defending champions lead 11-1 and require just two more points to clinch the title.

Stefanos Tsitsipas blitzed Team World's Kyrgios 6-3 6-4 at TD Garden, where Olympic Games gold medallist Alexander Zverev beat John Isner 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 10-5 before US Open champion Daniil Medvedev made light work of Denis Shapovalov 6-4 6-0.

Team Europe secured their fourth win of the day in the doubles – Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev teaming up to defeat Isner and Kyrgios 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 10-4.

After Kyrgios' straight-sets loss to Greece's Tsitsipas, the 26-year-old Australian star casted doubt over his tennis future.

"This is my probably my last Laver Cup," former world number 13 Kyrgios – an Australian Open and Wimbledon quarter-finalist – told reporters post-match. "I don't know how much longer I will be in tennis.

"This is my last event of the year. I will get my body right ahead of the Australian Open.

"My mum is not doing too well with her health. I'd like to go back and see her."

"As long as I'm on the court, I will try and give my best, but I'm not going to lie and say that I'm going to plan to play four or five more years on tour," Kyrgios said. "That's just not me."

Playing for the first time since earning his maiden grand slam trophy at the expense of record-chasing Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows, world number two Medvedev suffered no letdown against Shapovalov.

"I played unbelievably, especially [in] the second set," Russia's Medvedev said in his on-court interview. "I didn't know what to expect because after the US Open, I didn't play for a week and a half. Came here, practised as much as I could the past three days, so I didn't hit [that] many balls, but was surprisingly feeling well.

"I wanted to show that also today. [The] first [set] was not easy, the ball was not going as fast as I wanted [and] he was playing really good. And then I just couldn't miss a ball anymore. I'm really happy about [that]."

Nick Kyrgios, John Isner and Reilly Opelka have been named by Team World captain John McEnroe as his final three picks for the Laver Cup.

The trio join Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Diego Schwartzman for the team event which runs from September 24-26 at TD Garden in Boston.

Laver Cup newcomer Opelka rose to a career-high world number 23 ranking en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto and defeated world number three Stefanos Tsitsipas, who will play for Bjorn Borg's Team Europe.

Isner, who has featured for Team World since the inaugural event in 2017, reached the semi-finals in Toronto and claimed his 16th ATP Tour title in Atlanta at the start of August.

He described the Laver Cup as "a highlight of my year", adding: "To be on a team with guys we're normally competing against is so different and so much fun. We come together so well as a group, the chemistry is awesome and it's such a great environment to be part of."

Australian firebrand Kyrgios is a striking inclusion in Team World's roster, while Team Europe will be without their big three: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Federer and Dominic Thiem were expected to take part in this year's event, though both were forced to withdraw with injuries.

However, Borg's men still boast six of the world's top 11. World number two Daniil Medvedev leads the line-up, with Tsitsipas and Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev for company.

Casper Ruud, who collected a 14th win in his last 15 completed matches on tour when he beat Opelka on Wednesday, will feature, while Andrey Rublev and Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini complete the six-man team.

Team Europe have landed the title in each of the three editions of the tournament so far, with Prague, Chicago and Geneva having served as hosts.

Fifth seed Matteo Berrettini survived an early scare on his return from a thigh injury to progress in the second round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati over Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Tuesday.

The Italian world number eight, making his ATP Tour return since losing the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic in July, won 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 7-5.

The Spaniard claimed the first set in a tie-break but Berrettini hit back, sending down 25 aces for the match, winning 84 per cent on his first serve.

"I'm happy for the win. I think I served really well," Berrettini said. "My strokes from the baseline weren't working the way I wanted them to, but I knew from the beginning it's been a long time since I played a match, especially on hard, so I expected to feel a little bit weird."

The match extended to two hours and 20 minutes, with the Italian utilizing his backhand slice in the final set to get the edge.

Berrettini, who has a 33-7 record for the season, will face 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or Karen Khachanov in the third round.

"I'm really happy that I'm going to have the chance to play another match because that's what I need," Berrettini said. "I need to play matches. I need to get in the best shape possible."

Canadian sixth seed Denis Shapovalov suffered a shock early upset, going down to France's Benoit Paire 6-3 4-6 7-5 in the Round of 64.

Former US Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov toppled 13th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 21 minutes.

Fellow seed Cristian Garin also bowed out, losing 4-6 6-3 6-4 to qualifier Tommy Paul, while ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-1.

Marin Cilic, John Isner, Sebastian Korda, Gael Monfils, Reilly Opelka, Lorenzo Sonego and Frances Tiafoe were the other Tuesday winners.

Isner sent down his 13,000th career ace in his three-set win over Briton Cam Norrie.

Canadian fifth seed Denis Shapovalov was a major casualty in the second round of the National Bank Open in Toronto after a straight-sets defeat to Francis Tiafoe.

Unseeded American Tiafoe swept aside the local 6-1 6-4 in one hour and 15 minutes to secure his third-round spot against 11th seed Gael Monfils who beat John Millman 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Tiafoe was only in the Toronto main draw as a lucky loser after being defeated in qualifying by Emil Ruusuvuori but he hit 14 winners in an emphatic display.

World number 10 Shapovalov was unable to generate any break points while Tiafoe reeled off five games in a row, with two breaks, to win the first set.

The Canadian continued to struggle with his serve in windy conditions, as the American world number 52 won 88 per cent (23/26) of points on his first serve.

Another local hope, ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, also was eliminated, going down 7-5 6-4 to Serbian Dusan Lajovic.

The Canadian hit six aces to Lajovic's none, but was undone by unforced errors at key times, with a double fault gifting the Serbian a 6-5 lead in the opening set.

Australian 12th seed Alex de Minaur also bowed out after a one-sided 6-1 6-1 defeat to Georgian world number 42 Nicolas Basilashvili.

Basilashvili sent down 6-2 aces and converted five of his six break points generated in an impressive display.

Australian qualifier Jack Duckworth booked a third-round ticket against top seed Daniil Medvedev after upsetting 16th seed Jannik Sinner, who won last week's Citi Open.

Fourth seed Andrey Rublev won through with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 victory over Fabio Fognini, while seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz progressed with a walkover after Kei Nishikori retired with a shoulder injury.

Eighth seed Diego Schwartzman beat Benoit Paire 7-5 6-1, while 10th seed Roberto Bautista Agut handled Tommy Paul 6-3 6-4.

John Isner knocked out 13th seed Cristian Garin in three sets, while Lloyd Harris beat Feliciano Lopez in two and Karen Khachanov defeated compatriot Aslan Karatsev 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 to secure a third-round meeting with third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas pledged to help those affected by the fires in his homeland in his post-match press conference on Tuesday.

“My heart is with all the people of Greece,” Tsitsipas said. “I come from the south suburbs of Athens. When I was there a few days ago, I could see the fires from the south. Huge, giant clouds, smoke, which you could see from far, far away. It wasn't very nice. Even at the beach that day when I went to swim, you could see all the debris from the smoke and from the fires in the sea.”

Defending double Olympic champion Andy Murray revealed how his daughter provided him with inspiration after his early exit at Wimbledon.

A heavy third-round defeat by Denis Shapovalov had left the Scot questioning whether his hard work in training was worth it after years of injury woe as he tried to regain his spot at tennis' top table.

The two-time Wimbledon winner, who has four young children, now feels prepared and revitalised to compete in his fourth Games off the back of his young daughter's accidental wisdom.

Murray told reporters: "When I got home, the day after my match, my daughter said to me: 'Daddy, you're home because you lost another tennis match?'

"I said: 'Yeah, I did. But what do you do when you lose at something?' And she said: 'You try and try again?' I was like: 'Yeah, that's what I want to do.'

"I want to keep playing because I enjoy it and I still think I can play at a good level. 

"There have been difficult moments obviously in the last few months and the last year with the injuries and stuff, but right now this is the healthiest I've been for the longest period in the last year."

Murray will be part of a six-man squad in Japan, including doubles partner and two-time grand slam doubles winner Joe Salisbury, as he looks to defend his Rio 2016 and London 2012 golds.

As the only player to win back-to-back singles titles in Olympic history, Murray still intends to compete at the top-level of tennis for as long as he is able to do so.

"It can be hard and after tough losses like that at Wimbledon - you question a lot of things," the Team GB athlete added to BBC Sport.

"I do still feel like I am capable of playing high-level tennis and when that isn't the case I will stop playing. But right now I don't believe that is the case."

Yet the Games in Japan provides a completely different challenge in 2021 as all athletes remain acutely aware of the coronavirus concerns that surround sport all over the world.

The 34-year-old's Team GB team-mate Johanna Konta is one of many players to miss out due to circumstances linked to the virus.

Murray, who was drawn against ninth seed and Wimbledon quarter-finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday, is familiar with the devastating impact a positive result can have after having to miss a major due to COVID-19.

"It happened to me before the Australian Open and I was gutted," he said.

"Thankfully I was able to compete in another grand slam a few months later, but if you've been preparing for something for five years and something like that to happens to you, it would be brutal.

"So there is an anxiousness, but from what I've seen everyone is taking the protocols seriously, so hopefully there won't be too many issues."

Murray will be hoping for few issues on the court too, though he and Salisbury have been drawn in a difficult tie against second-seeded pair Pierre Hugues-Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.

Top seed Denis Shapovalov's Swiss Open Gstaad campaign came to an abrupt end as Vit Kopriva provided a second-round shock to eliminate the Wimbledon semi-finalist.

The world number 10, who has recently been praised by both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, took the first set 6-2 with ease before Kopriva, making his ATP Tour debut this week, emphatically fought back 6-3 6-2 to secure a memorable comeback victory.

Number three seed Casper Ruud battled past Dennis Novak 6-4 7-6 (7-5), while Benoit Paire, who only had two ATP wins in 2021 before the Hamburg European Open last week, was 6-4 to the good before Tallon Griekspoor was forced to retire due to injury.

Ruud, who has already won two ATP events in 2021 and three in his career, will now meet sixth seed Paire in the quarter-final stage.

But eighth seed Feliciano Lopez did not enjoy similar success as the world number 96 Mikael Ymer fought past the Spaniard to win 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 and set-up a quarter-final clash with Kopriva.

At the Umag Open in Croatia, third seed Filip Krajinovic breezed past Radu Albot to record a 6-4 6-2 win.

Krajinovic's countryman and number two ranked player Dusan Lajovic also went through with a 7-5 6-4 win against Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

Denis Shapovalov felt he had the game to win Wimbledon this week as he explained why his emotions spilled over after suffering a disappointing semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic.

The Canadian had tears in his eyes as he walked off Centre Court on Friday, beaten in straight sets as his opponent booked a place in the final against Matteo Berrettini.

Shapovalov was rightly proud to have reached the last four of a grand slam for the first time in his young career and feels he will benefit from the experience.

But he was left to rue failing to even take a set against Djokovic, who will now seek a 20th grand slam title on Sunday.

Shapovalov was two points away from winning the first set and converted only one of 11 break-point opportunities in a match that lasted just short of three hours.

He ultimately went down to a 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-5 defeat in a competitive contest and was upset by the outcome.

"It hurts a lot," explained the 22-year-old, who had only won one match in his three previous Wimbledon appearances.

"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.

"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." 

 

Elaborating on his visible disappointment on court, he added: "It just hurt a lot - it's been a lot of pressure, a lot of mental fatigue. 

"Like, it all kind of spilled out on the court before I could control myself.

"It's almost good to have a little bit of a taste, because it just makes me want it that much more going into the next slams and into the future.

"Now I know exactly what I'm capable of and where my game can be at. 

"Also the things that I can improve, too, to beat Novak next time or go one step further. A lot of positives. This has made me more hungry to try to win a trophy.

"It's a level I've never played before. The confidence and everything, the way I carried myself these two weeks, it's been different. I don't consider myself the same player."

The victorious Djokovic comforted Shapovalov in the locker room area after the match.

Shapovalov said: "He just told me he knows how difficult it is for me right now.

"He told me that everything will come. For me, it's big coming from someone like him. He doesn't have to do this. It just shows the type of person he is. 

"It's just really nice for someone like me to hear from him. I have tremendous respect for him. He's definitely for sure one of the greatest players of all time. 

"It's awesome to hear those words from him."

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."

Novak Djokovic booked his place in a third consecutive Wimbledon final, demonstrating his mastery of the big moments in a 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-5 win over Denis Shapovalov.

Number 10 seed Shapovalov produced tennis to delight the Centre Court crowd, with his single-handed backhand typically wonderful, but also threw in errors ill-suited to the task of trying to dethrone a world number one chasing history.

Djokovic will face Matteo Berrettini in Sunday's final after the Italian dispatched Hubert Hurkacz in four, giving him the chance to go level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 career grand slams.

Left-hander Shapovalov made the early running and raced into a 15-40 lead in the third game. He passed up two openings but, after a Djokovic double fault at deuce, he pushed the defending champion back with punishing ground strokes to surge ahead - the only one of 11 break points Djokovic would fail to repel.

The Canadian then strung together three consecutive love service games, only for errors to creep in when the set beckoned at 5-4.  After recovering from 0-30 and an overhit forehand to hand Djokovic a first break point, he went long from the other wing and it was all square.

A wretched tie-break for Shapovalov was bookended by a misjudged drop shot – the first of two initial mini-breaks – and a double fault, handing Djokovic a gift he could scarcely afford.

The 22-year-old left the court and impressively relocated his early form on his return, pushing Djokovic to save three break points in the fourth game and whipping up a crowd keen to see a contest.

Two more followed as the Serb escaped to 3-3, meaning there was a sense of nagging inevitability when, on Djokovic's first break point of set two, Shapovalov produced another appallingly timed double fault.

Djokovic closed out the two-set lead before saving three break points in his first service game of the third, reprising the other theme of frustration for Shapovalov.

From then on, it was a case of gamely scrambling to stay in the contest, with Djokovic's gaze fixed on the finish line. At 5-5, Shapovalov undermined himself with two more doubles and, despite battling to deuce, crunched a groundstroke long.

The all-time great on the other side of the net let out a guttural roar before sealing his toughest win of the tournament in straight sets.

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