The 24-year-old Serb had lost five of his seven previous encounters against Tsonga and despite a spirited third-set fightback from the Frenchman, Djokovic maintained his composure to close out a well-deserved victory in three hours and seven minutes. PHOTO: AFPLONDON:
Novak Djokovic powered into his first Wimbledon final with a four-set defeat of France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga which ensured he will take over the world number one ranking.
The Serbian second seed downed the 12th-seeded Tsonga 7-6, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 to clinch a final berth. The win also guarantees Djokovic will be named as the new world number one on Monday when the ATP Tour releases its latest rankings, the first time in seven years that either Nadal or Roger Federer has not occupied top spot.
“It’s difficult to put into words,” said Djokovic. “This is one of the best feelings I’ve had on a tennis court. My dreams are coming true – into my first final at Wimbledon.
“I’ve been working all my life for this. I’ve been dreaming about playing the final in Wimbledon since I started playing tennis when I was four, so to be there in the final [tomorrow] will be fantastic.”
The 24-year-old had lost five of his seven previous encounters against Tsonga but despite a spirited third-set fightback from the Frenchman, Djokovic maintained his composure to close out a deserved victory in three hours and seven minutes.
Sharapova ready for final showdown
Maria Sharapova will attempt to complete her long journey back from the wilderness at Wimbledon today when she takes on Czech eighth-seed Petra Kvitova for the women’s singles crown.
The 24-year-old Russian fifth seed is the overwhelming favourite to reclaim the title that she won for the first time in 2004.
Sharapova’s victory in seven years ago was followed by further Grand Slam titles at the Australian and US Opens by the time she turned 21, a period that also saw her rise to world number one.
Sharapova is bracing for a sterner challenge from Kvitova in today’s final however, the 21-year-old Czech challenger who is appearing in a Grand Slam final for the first time.
“I expect her to be a really tough opponent because she’s a really good grass court player,” said Sharapova.
“She’s also a lefty, which on grass is very tricky. It will be tough. She’s been playing really good tennis.”
“It’s difficult to put into words. This is one of the best feelings I’ve had on a tennis court. My dreams are coming true – into my first final at Wimbledon. I’ve been working all my life for this.”
“I think he’s the best player in the world for the moment. I can beat everybody today, but not Djokovic, because he just played unbelievable. He was everywhere. It was so tough.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.