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Djokovic anticipates fiery battle with Kyrgios in Wimbledon final




Novak Djokovic is promising fireworks after confirming his place in a blockbuster Wimbledon final with Nick Kyrgios.

Djokovic recovered from a shaky start to keep alive his hopes of a fourth straight Wimbledon crown – and seventh in total – with a 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 semi-final triumph over great British hope Cam Norrie on Friday.

The comeback victory set the stage for an enthralling championship showdown on Sunday with Kyrgios,who’s hoping to become Australia’s first men’s champion at the All England Club since Lleyton Hewitt reigned 20 years ago.

While Djokovic will be contesting his record-breaking 32nd grand slam final, Kyrgios will be playing in his long-awaited first following a drama-charged, controversy-laden march through the championships.

The 27-year-old was almost knocked out in the opening round, scraping past British world No.219 Paul Jubb in five sets, then seeing off fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a tempestuous third-round affair.

Kyrgios also went the distance in the fourth round against American Brandon Nakashima before receiving a walkover into the final after Rafael Nadal withdrew from the pair’s scheduled semi with an abdominal tear.

Kyrgios is striving to become the first unseeded player to win Wimbledon since Goran Ivanisevic – now Djokovic’s coach – in 2001.

The Canberran has won both previous meetings with Djokovic, both on hard courts back in 2017 in Acapulco and Indian Wells.

“Well, one thing is for sure – there’s going to be a lot of fireworks for sure emotionally from both of us,” Djokovic said on court.

“Going to be his first grand slam final; he doesn’t have much to lose and he’s always playing like that.

“He’s playing so freely, has one of the biggest serves in the game. Just a big game overall, a lot of power in his shots.

“We haven’t played for some time. I’ve never won a set off him so, hopefully, it can be different this time.

“It’s another final for me here in Wimbledon, a tournament I love so much. So, hopefully, the experience can work in my favour.

“The job’s not finished yet.”  

Kyrgios said he never dreamed of making a Wimbledon final.

“I never thought I’d be here at all, to be brutally honest with you,” Kyrgios said in his pre-final press conference on Friday.

“I had a shocking sleep last night, to be honest. I probably got an hour’s sleep just with everything, like the excitement. 

“I had so much anxiety, I was already feeling so nervous, and I don’t feel nervous usually.

“I just know there’s a lot of people that want me to do well and give my best. But I had a shocking sleep last night. 

“Hopefully, I can get some sleep tonight.”

Kyrgios conceded Djokovic, already a 20-times grand slam champion, would enjoy a significant edge in experience.

“I’ve never been here before, so definitely that’s where Djokovic has the advantage from the get-go,” the underdog said.

“He can draw from experience. He’s done it so many more times, he knows the emotions he’s going to be feeling.

“I don’t know that. I don’t know anything like that, so it was just all running through my head, every little thought, and I just slept really bad last night.

“I feel like I’m just a reckless ball of energy right now. I just want to go out on the practice court now and hit some tennis balls and just talk.

“I don’t know, I want it to come already. Yeah, I want the final to come already.

“I know that I have to kind of just calm down. There’s still a couple days until that moment. Hopefully tonight I’ll get a better rest, chamomile tea and a better rest.”

© AAP





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