At 6-foot-5, he has an explosive serve and one of the heaviest forehands in a sport that is full of heavy forehands. But as he demonstrated against Hurkacz, he has improved his mobility and backhand — both his blocked, two-handed service return and his one-handed slice.
“Anything is possible in the finals,” Djokovic said. “Obviously experience is on my side, but Berrettini has been winning a lot of matches on grass courts this year, winning Queen’s. He’s in great form. He’s serving big, playing big, so it’s going to be a very tough match, I think, for both of us. But I’m looking forward to a great battle.”
Hurkacz, an aggressive player with a game well suited to grass, upset No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round and Federer in the quarterfinals, winning the final set by 6-0 against the eight-time Wimbledon champion.
Berrettini won the second set by the same score on Friday, and though Hurkacz did lift his game and push the semifinal to a fourth set, he could never find a way to break Berrettini’s serve. Berrettini finished with 22 aces and 60 winners in total, and just 18 unforced errors.
“Matteo played pretty great,” Hurkacz said. “I mean he served bombs. He really didn’t do many mistakes throughout the whole four sets. I mean if he continues to play like this, he has really a big chance in the final.”
The problem for so long for so many has been summoning such a performance against Djokovic, who has grown into the game’s supreme big-match player.
He bends as no one else has ever bent in men’s tennis, contorting his angular frame into positions worthy of Cirque du Soleil. On Friday, he continued to struggle with his footing, as he has throughout the tournament, falling repeatedly. By the end, with his white shirt covered in dirt, he looked like someone who had just come out of the backyard after roughhousing with his young children (he and his wife, Jelena, have two).