Novak Djokovic Defeats Cameron Norrie to Get to Wimbledon Final

WIMBLEDON, England — Novak Djokovic will get a chance to win a seventh Wimbledon singles title Sunday against Nick Kyrgios of Australia.

Djokovic beat Cameron Norrie of Britain in four sets Friday afternoon, overcoming some early match inconsistency and withstanding both a strong start from Norrie and a raucous hometown crowd on Center Court to win the semifinal, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. 6-4.

It was the only semifinal match played on Friday.

On Thursday, Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament with a tear in his abdominal muscle. Nadal’s decision not to play after he aggravated the tear in his five-set, quarterfinal victory over Taylor Fritz gave Kyrgios a free pass into his first Grand Slam final and ended hopes for a showdown between Djokovic and the Spanish champion, who have won a combined 42 Grand Slam titles but have played each other for the trophy at Wimbledon just once.

On a sun-splashed, 80-degree day that meteorologists in London were calling a heat wave, Norrie, a steady, never-say-die lefty, was the better player early and into the first games of the second set, going toe-to-toe. toe-toe and trying to out-rally the best rallyer in the world.

Djokovic struggled with his serve and to find his trademark precision on his groundstrokes. He also doesn’t care much for playing in the heat. Midway through the first set, with Norrie pushing ahead, Djokovic settled into his chair and draped a towel over his head as the packed Center Court crowd roared for a countryman with a home just up the road.

Norrie, who lives so close to the All England Club he cycled to the grounds earlier in the tournament, smacked an ace to win the set, pumped his fist and basked in the sound. In addition to the crowd inside the stadium, there were thousands more picnicking and downing beers and Pimm’s on Henman Hill as they watched the match on a big screen.

But Djokovic is masterful at taking an opponent’s best — and the chiding of a crowd — and biding his time for an opening to appear. He did when he dropped a set in the fourth round to the hot, Dutch unknown Tim Van Rijthoven, and in the quarterfinals when he dropped the first two sets to Jannik Sinner of Italy, one of the world’s great young players.

Djokovic put a baseball cap on to protect himself from the heat of the sun, and midway through he stopped giving free points to Norrie. Suddenly Norrie found himself fighting off break points every time he served. In the eighth game of the set, Norrie sent a long forehand to give Djokovic a 5-3 lead. Djokovic turned to his box and clinched his fist, as if to say, “Don’t worry, I got this.”

They never had any doubt. Djokovic, who has played 68 Grand Slam tournaments and made the finals 32 times, sprinted through the third set as Norrie’s game slipped, and he grabbed an early service break in the fourth. Norrie battled to keep it close, but ultimately that was all he could do. A small victory but not the one he wanted.

On the final point, Djokovic crushed a serve down the middle that Norrie could not get back, then turned to bait a fan who had yelled to try to disrupt his last stroke.

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