World number one Ash Barty became the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon for 41 years by beating Karolina Pliskova in a tense battle on Centre Court.

The top seed realised her dream of being crowned champion at the All England Club for the first time in a rollercoaster 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 victory.

Pliskova warmed to the task after making a nightmare start in a clash between two first-time finalists at SW19, but Barty was not to be denied her second grand slam title two years after her first at the French Open.

The Queenslander ended a wait for an Australian woman to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish that stretched back to 1980, when her mentor Evonne Goolagong Cawley won the title.

Pliskova fought back from a break down twice to win the second set, yet Barty regrouped to become only the fourth junior Wimbledon champion to go on and win the women's title.

Barty began with a commanding hold and followed that up with a break to love, sealed with a backhand winner down the line following a sumptuous lob.

A second Barty ace put her 3-0 up and although Pliskova finally won a first point at the 15th attempt, a tentative double fault left the favourite only two games away from wrapping up the first set.

Pliskova was finally on the board at 4-1 when the favourite was broken in an error-strewn game, but the Czech's usually venomous serve was not firing and Barty served out the set at the second attempt.

The 2016 US Open runner-up continued to look uncertain, with Barty taking advantage to go a break up at 2-1, but Pliskova hit back impressively, unleashing a thunderous forehand winner down the line and sealing a swift break back when Barty netted a forehand.

There was a raise of the left hand from Pliskova following a scorching backhand winner during a comfortable hold and although a poor backhand left her 6-5 down, Barty was unable to serve out the match.

Pliskova played with an increasing level of freedom, demonstrating her incredible power with deep, fearsome groundstrokes in a tie-break that ended with a double fault from Barty. 

The former world number one gifted the momentum back to Barty when she missed a simple volley at the net to trail 2-0 in the decider.

Pliskova showed flashes of brilliance as she made Barty, who withdrew from the French Open last month with a hip injury, work until the end, but served it out, sealing victory when her opponent netted a backhand.

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."

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."

Ash Barty will lean on the tough lessons that Wimbledon has taught her over the years when she tackles Karolina Pliskova on Centre Court in the women's final.

A decade has slipped by since a 15-year-old Barty won the girls' singles title, and now she and Pliskova will do battle for the Venus Rosewater Dish.

Saturday's final is a clash of the player with the most aces on the women's tour this year (Barty: 255) and the tournament leader for that metric (Pliskova: 54).

Pliskova will likely be a tough nut to crack, having won 57 of her 61 service games for a 93 per cent strike rate, with the Czech the only player in the draw above 90 per cent in that crucial component.

Both players will be making their debut in a Wimbledon women's singles final, the first time that has happened at the All England Club since 1977, when Virginia Wade beat Betty Stove.

 

World number one Barty will become just the fourth player in the Open Era to win both girls' and women's singles titles at Wimbledon should she get the job done, after Ann Jones, Martina Hingis and Amelie Mauresmo.

It has been quite a journey to this point for the Australian, who after her early impact in the game stepped away from tennis for almost two years after the 2014 US Open. She played Big Bash League cricket and only returned to tennis at Eastbourne in 2016, gradually ascending to the summit and winning the 2019 French Open title for a maiden senior grand slam.

There have been painful defeats along the way on grass, her favourite surface, including a loss to Daria Kasatkina in the third round in 2018 and to Alison Riske from a set up in the fourth round a year later.

Barty was the top seed at that edition of Wimbledon in 2019, as she is this year, and there is no doubt she would be an exciting champion, a player who seems to only bring positivity to tennis, albeit she pointed to some bleak moments in her past ahead of the tussle with Pliskova.

"I think Wimbledon for me has been an amazing place of learning," Barty said. "I think 10 years ago I came here for the first time as a junior and learned a lot in that week.

"Probably 2018, 2019 was some of my toughest weeks playing. To come away with our losses in those two tournaments, I learned a hell of a lot from those two times.

"I think a lot of the time your greatest growth comes from your darkest times. I think that's why this tournament has been so important to me. I've learned so much with all my experiences, the good, bad, everything in between I've been able to learn from.

"Just to be able to keep chipping away, keep putting yourself out there, let yourself be vulnerable, just be yourself, knowing that everything that comes with that is an opportunity to learn. I think that's been a massive one for us this fortnight."

The first thing that was said to Barty in a news conference after she won the girls' title in 2011 was: "You're not a very demonstrative winner."

How this grounded Queenslander might react to winning on Saturday remains to be seen. Pliskova certainly has the weaponry to mean a Barty victory is far from a foregone conclusion.

Pliskova would be the fifth oldest first-time grand slam winner in the Open Era should she prevail, with the 29-year-old having previous experience of winning titles on grass at Eastbourne (2017 and 2019) and Nottingham (2016).

"It's a final. Anything can happen," Pliskova said of the Barty match-up. "I know she has a grand slam, but also for her it is the first Wimbledon final.

"I think we both have good chances. It's going to be hopefully a good match to watch as well because with her it's always interesting. We going to see what's going to happen.

"I never played a horrible match against her."

 

Pliskova and Barty have met seven times across their careers, starting from a minor ITF event in Nottingham in 2012, which went the Australian's way, the then 16-year-old edging a final-set tie-break.

Barty has also won their last three matches, reflecting her rise to the top and former world number one's Pliskova's slight career dip.

"Of course she makes you feel a bit ugly with the game which she's playing," Pliskova said. "Also I had, like, a lot of chances the last match we played. I think I had match point or was serving for the match. I know there's going to be many chances for me, as well."

That match took place in Stuttgart in April of this year and did indeed go close, Barty closing it out 7-5 in the deciding set of the quarter-final and going on to take the title. She has three tournament wins this year, a tour-high.

Barty is sure to stay at number one on Monday, a 77th consecutive week in the top spot and 84th overall in her career, while Pliskova can jump from 13th to fourth with the title. She will move to seventh should she be runner-up.

The red-hot favourite is Barty, but Pliskova is comfortable with that.

"You want to play the best player in the final," she said. "Of course, I don't want anybody else but her there."

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.

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

Roger Federer and Serena Williams have probably played their last Wimbledon matches, according to American great Pam Shriver.

Both came to the All England Club this year with hopes of landing another grand slam title, which for Federer would have been a ninth at Wimbledon and Serena an eighth on the famous grass courts.

However, they were met with disappointment, Williams "heartbroken" at having to retire from her first-round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich due to an ankle injury.

Federer was thrashed 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 by Hubert Hurkacz in the men's quarter-finals and gave no assurances after the match that he would be back in 2022, or that he would play the Tokyo Olympics.

Both turn 40 later this year, Federer on August 8 and Williams on September 26, and their time at the top of tennis may now be over.

Shriver, a five-time doubles champion at Wimbledon who won 22 grand slams in all, was asked on The Tennis Podcast whether she expected Federer to play Wimbledon again.

"I thought so, before the tournament. I didn't think he would end Wimbledon without his family here," Shriver said.

"But after seeing him in the quarters and listening to his press conference, I think it's less than 50-50. I think we may have seen the last of him."

Due to restricted bubbles put in place because of COVID-19 issues, Federer has been unable to have wife Mirka and their four children with him in London.

Federer has won 20 grand slam singles titles, a record for the men's game that he shares with Rafael Nadal and which Novak Djokovic had the chance to match at this year's Wimbledon.

 Williams has 23 majors, one short of Margaret Court's women's record, but has been stuck on that total since 2017 and Shriver would be surprised to see her in the 2022 Wimbledon draw.

"I think it's even less likely that she'll be back," Shriver said. "It's really hard to stay fit for another year.

"She can't keep coming back from more and more injuries. I think it's definitely a turning point, pivot time, is the summer of 2021."

Karolina Pliskova says it "can't be any better" than facing Ash Barty in a battle of two first-time Wimbledon finalists after fighting back to beat Aryna Sabalenka.

Pliskova is just one victory away from her maiden grand slam title following a 5-7 6-4 6-4 semi-final defeat of powerful second seed Sabalenka on Centre Court.

World number one Barty earlier moved into her first championship match at the All England Club with a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) win over Angelique Kerber.

Eighth seed Pliskova expressed her pride over the achievement of moving into uncharted territory and is relishing the opportunity to take on her Australian foe.

The Czech said of the challenge of facing Barty: "It can't be any better than that. You want to play the best player in the final. Of course, I don't want anybody else but [Barty] there.

"We had some good matches. Of course, I lost a couple times, but I think she has an extremely difficult game to play. It's going to be difficult on grass because of her slice and just her game overall.

"It's a final. Anything can happen. I know she has a grand slam, but also for her it's the first Wimbledon final. I think we both have good chances.

"It's going to be hopefully a good match to watch as well because with her it's always interesting. We're going to see what's going to happen."

 

Saturday's showpiece will be the first time two players who have never played in a Wimbledon final fight it out for the Venus Rosewater Dish since 1977.

Former world number one Pliskova: "It's amazing to be in the final. It's an incredible achievement. It was an amazing match from both of us.

"I had so many chances in the first set and got a bit frustrated, but she was serving unbelievable. A lot of credit to her, but super happy that I managed to find the way to win.

"It's tough to enjoy it when she's playing so fast that you don't have time to think about what you want to do. There were some good rallies.

"I stayed focused. It was close. I stayed calm and positive, trusting in myself and my game. I'm proud."

Karolina Pliskova roared back to win the power battle against Aryna Sabalenka and book a first appearance in a Wimbledon final where she will face Ash Barty.

Thursday's second semi-final lived up to its billing as a clash of two of the WTA's most ferocious competitors, and it was eighth seed Pliskova who triumphed 5-7 6-4 6-4 on Centre Court.

There were 32 aces in total in a match where long rallies were scarce. Ultimately, though, it was Pliskova's supreme consistency – she gave up just one break-point opportunity – that won the day.

Sabalenka offered up eight break-point chances alone in a fierce first set, but Pliskova barely had a sniff on any of those as textbook power serving from her opponent kept the Czech at bay.

Conversely, Pliskova sailed through her own service games with ease until trailing 6-5 when, after an exquisite sequence from Sabalenka brought up a first break point, she blinked with a double fault to cede the opening set.

Undeterred, the turning point came in game five of the second set when Pliskova broke to love before consolidating with three straight aces and Sabalenka going long.

Having won that only break point of the second set, Pliskova stole the advantage in game one of the decider as a couple of Sabalenka errors were followed by a backhand into the net.

To her credit, second seed Sabalenka forced Pliskova to serve out for the match, which she did somewhat fittingly with a mammoth ace.

 

Data slam: More aces than a playing card factory

Pliskova's consistency on serve was always likely to be crucial to her chances of victory in a battle between two real power hitters. Prior to this semi-final she led the way for aces (40) in the tournament and had only been broken three times. Here she was out-aced 18 to 14 but had a slightly better first-serve points won percentage (78 to 75) and significantly better on the second-serve points won (69 to 48). In a match where opportunities were always likely to be at a premium, it proved significant.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Pliskova – 32/17
Sabalenka – 38/20

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Pliskova – 14/4
Sabalenka – 18/4

BREAK POINTS WON

Pliskova – 2/10
Sabalenka – 1/1

Ash Barty gave Australia a first Wimbledon women's singles finalist since 1980 as she fended off former champion Angelique Kerber.

The first women's top seed to reach a semi-final at Wimbledon since Serena Williams in 2016, Barty needed to be at her sharpest to win 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in Thursday's Centre Court contest.

On Saturday, the 2011 girls' champion can look to join compatriots Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong on the list of those who have lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish.

Goolagong, who saw off Chris Evert in the 1980 final, was the last Australian woman to reach the title match, although Pat Cash in 1987 and Lleyton Hewitt in 2002 have delivered triumphs in the men's event since then.

Barty set the tone for the first set against Kerber when she read the direction of a smash and rattled back a forehand passing winner down the line to earn an early break.

The second set was far more nip and tuck, Kerber seemingly in charge at 5-2 against a ruffled opponent, but back came the world number one, snatching the break back in grand style with a whipped forehand across court.

Entering the tie-break, the set and the match hung in the balance, but Barty bossed it, winning the opening six points and surviving a minor wobble to get the job done, Kerber crashing a backhand into the net on the fourth match point.

 

Barty, smiling at courtside, said: "This is incredible. This is close to as good a tennis match as I'll ever play. Angie definitely brought the best out of me today. It was a hell of a match right from the first ball.

"I'm incredibly proud of myself and my team and now we get a chance on Saturday to try to live out a childhood dream.

"I've had an incredible journey. I've had ups and downs and everything in-between and I wouldn't change one day or one moment.

"It's been unique, it's been incredible, it's been tough. There have been so many things that have led to this point and I certainly wouldn't change one thing about it.

"I'm enjoying every single day. Being able to play on the final Saturday here at Wimbledon is going to be just the best experience ever."

Data Slam: For-lawn hope of grass expert Kerber as Barty comes through

Barty, the 2019 French Open champion, took out a player with the third highest number of grass-court wins among active tour players. Kerber has 80, behind only Serena Williams (107) and Venus Williams (97), but Barty says grass is her own favourite surface and that showed. She had 38 winners and rammed down eight aces to take her tour-leading 2021 total to 255.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Barty – 38/16
Kerber – 16/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Barty – 8/4
Kerber – 0/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Barty – 2/5
Kerber – 1/6

Roger Federer is unsure if he will make a return to Wimbledon, after the 20-time grand slam champion lost to Hubert Hurkacz in Wednesday's quarter-final.

Federer slipped to a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 defeat on Centre Court, with the 39-year-old failing to take the chance to become the oldest male to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in the Open Era.

Having taken the majority of 2020 out to recover from knee surgery, Federer had played in four tournaments prior to this year's grass-court grand slam, but failed to progress beyond the round of 16 in any of them.

He made it a step further at Wimbledon yet fell well short against world number 18 Hurkacz.

Following Federer's defeat, another legend of the Wimbledon courts – Boris Becker – suggested the end of the road may be approaching for the world number eight, who turns 40 in August.

And asked in a post-match news conference if he would be returning to Wimbledon, Federer conceded he is uncertain.

"I don't know. I really don't know. I've got to regroup. My goal was always for the last year and more to always try to play another Wimbledon," the eight-time champion said.

"The initial goal was to play last year, but that was never going to happen, plus the pandemic hit. I was able to make it this year, which I'm really happy about.

 

"With everything that comes after Wimbledon, we were always going to sit down and talk about it because clearly now Wimbledon is over. I've got to take a few days.

"Obviously we're going to speak a little bit tonight, depending on how I feel, then the next couple of days as well. Then we go from there. Just see, okay, what do I need to do to get in better shape so I can be more competitive?

"I'm actually very happy I made it as far as I did and was able to play Wimbledon at the level that I did after everything I went through. Of course, I would like to play it again, but at my age, you're just never sure what's around the corner."

Federer's exit leaves Novak Djokovic, who faces Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals, as the clear favourite.

The 34-year-old world number one is aiming for his third grand-slam title of 2021, after triumphing in Melbourne and at Roland Garros.

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

Roger Federer may well have played his last match at Wimbledon after being dismantled at the quarter-final stage, according to Boris Becker.

Federer, seeking a ninth title at the grass-court grand slam, was comprehensively beaten in straight sets by the relatively unfancied 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old was beaten 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 on Centre Court, missing out on becoming the oldest male to reach the semi-finals of the championship in the Open Era.

Three-time champion Becker thought the manner of Federer's defeat, in which he hit 31 unforced errors and suffered the ignominy of losing a set to love for the first time in his Wimbledon career, could leave him questioning whether this was his last visit.

"I don't know if we'll ever see the great man again here," he said to the BBC.

"It's normal for anybody to make mistakes, but if you're such a perfectionist as Roger Federer, some of these mistakes were way out of his league.

"It can happen in a game or a set even, but in his case it was pretty much the whole match.

"As they always say, time doesn't stand still for any man or woman."

 

Federer came into this year's tournament having played just eight matches in 2021 following a lengthy recovery from knee surgery.

The 20-time major winner battled through the first round when Adrian Mannarino retired in the fifth set but looked to have regained some sharpness in victories over Richard Gasquet, Cameron Norrie and Lorenzo Sonego.

After losing the opening set against Hurkacz, Federer let a 4-1 lead slip in the second before succumbing in the tie-break, after which he never regained a foothold in the contest.

"Maybe in the first round he was trying to find his feet, he was lucky to get through, but in the following matches, he played better and better. Did he have a perfect match? No, but he had moments of perfection," said Becker.

"On paper, he was the favourite today. For him to go out and lose potentially his last ever set six-love... oh, God.

"I hope [he comes back in 2022], I don't want to see Roger losing his last set here. But there are certain rules in professional tennis that even Roger Federer has to obey: it's matches. You don't get your match fitness in practice, you're not going to get it in rehab. You don't know how strong your knee, your thigh or your mind is unless you're put in a position [to win]. He wasn't good enough today."

Becker drew parallels between Federer's defeat and his own 1995 final loss to Pete Sampras – a match that convinced him his time on tour had come to an end.

However, the former world number one advised Federer to play the remainder of the year and see if he can start 2022 on a positive note.

"My moment came when I lost to Pete Sampras in the Wimbledon final of 1995. I thought I was playing good, and I lost in straight sets against the better player," he said.

"I always felt that, when I'm not able to win Wimbledon anymore, why bother coming? Roger won it eight times; he's not coming here to play a tough quarter-final. He's coming here to win.

"He has to take a bit of a rest, play the hard-court season, go to the US Open and play the rest of the year. Go to Australia – he won there a couple of times – and hopefully win another tournament or two. Only then [will] he realise if he's good enough still to compete at the highest level."

Roger Federer's quest for a ninth Wimbledon title is over after he suffered a stunning straight-sets defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in Wednesday's quarter-final.

Federer has not reached the heights of years gone by at the All England Club, as an injury spared his blushes in the fifth set in the first round against Adrian Mannarino and he lost a set to Cameron Norrie in the third round.

And the 39-year-old was undone in style by the big-serving Hurkacz, playing at this stage of a grand slam for the first time in his career after claiming a surprise five-set win over Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round.

That match stretched into a second day but Federer was the player bereft of energy, Hurkacz emerging victorious from the biggest match of his life by a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 scoreline.

Hurkacz settled quickly despite the challenge of facing his childhood idol and had three break points at 2-2 and 40-0 in the first set, only to let that advantageous situation slip.

He did not make the same mistake two games later, emphatically dispatching a backhand volley to claim the sole break he needed to take the opener.

That looked a rare blip for Federer when he surged into a 4-1 second-set lead, only for Hurkacz to reel off the next three games en route to forcing a tie-break.

Hurkacz's prowess at the net continued to cause Federer problems and it was the Pole who eventually forged ahead in the tie-break, moving two sets up with a booming serve down the middle.

Unsurprisingly errant on the forehand side, a frustrated and flat Federer surrendered a break in his first service game of the third.

And two more came with a tame shot into the net and a wide forehand as the 20-time grand slam champion's challenge came to an end with him losing a set 6-0 at Wimbledon for the first time.

 

 

 

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