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Wimbledon tennis: Novak Djokovic beats Denis Shapovalov, reaches final

Novak Djokovic of Serbia (pictured) celebrates after winning his men's semifinal match against Denis Shapovalov of Canada at the Wimbledon Championships on Friday in London. Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE
Novak Djokovic of Serbia (pictured) celebrates after winning his men's semifinal match against Denis Shapovalov of Canada at the Wimbledon Championships on Friday in London. Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE

July 9 (UPI) -- Top-seeded Novak Djokovic moved closer to his record-tying 20th major championship by eliminating No. 10 seed Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5 in the Wimbledon semifinals Friday to reach the men's final.

The 34-year-old Serbian, who won the tournament in 2018 and 2019, has now captured 20 straight victories at the All England Club dating back to 2018. He is chasing his 20th major singles title, which would put him in a tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most by a man in tennis history.

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"At this stage of my career, Grand Slams are everything, really. They are the four events that count the most in our sport," Djokovic said. "I've been very privileged to make history of a sport that I truly love. It fills my heart every time that I hear there is something on the line that is historic.

"Obviously it inspires me, it motivates me. But at the same time, I have to balance it with trying to be present and in the moment and win only the next match."

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Djokovic, a five-time winner at Wimbledon, will face seventh-seeded Matteo Berrettini of Italy in Sunday's men's final.

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Berrettini, who will be appearing in his first major final, used an 11-game run to take a big lead, then held on late to beat No. 14 seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-4 in the first semifinal match Friday.

The 25-year-old Italian had 22 aces and compiled 60 winners to just 18 unforced errors in the victory over Hurkacz. Berrettini now has 11 consecutive wins on grass courts, including a championship at the Queen's Club last month.

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"Obviously, the job is not done yet. I want to get the trophy now that I'm here," said Berrettini, who lost in his only previous Grand Slam semifinal match, at the 2019 U.S. Open. "But it's a really unbelievable feeling."

In the other championship match at Wimbledon, top-seeded Ash Barty will challenge eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova in Saturday's women's final. Barty beat Angelique Kerber on Thursday, while Pliskova edged No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in three sets.

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