Djokovic makes Wimbledon final, gets No 1 ranking
Updated: 2011-07-02 10:42
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France dives to hit a return to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their semi-final match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, July 1, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during their semi-final match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, July 1, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
WIMBLEDON, England - Novak Djokovic reached his first Wimbledon final and guaranteed himself the No 1 ranking by defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-7 (9), 6-3 Friday in a match filled with diving shots by both players on Centre Court.
Djokovic, a two-time Australian Open champion, improved his record to 47-1 this year. And although he won another Friday, it was Tsonga who entertained the crowd with his tennis skills and showmanship.
In the final, Djokovic will face either defending champion Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray.
Djokovic will replace Nadal as the top-ranked player in the world on Monday, but reaching the final at the All England Club was the relief he was looking for after losing twice at the same stage.
After Tsonga's return on match point sailed out, Djokovic dropped to the ground and lay on his back. A few seconds later, he knelt down and kissed the grass.
"It's hard to express your emotions in a very short time but hopefully some more celebrations are about to come," said Djokovic, who also beat Tsonga in the 2008 Australian Open final.
Djokovic started the season by winning 41 straight matches, but he lost to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals. Since then, he is 6-0, with all those victories coming at the All England Club.
"I've been working all my life for this," Djokovic said. "I've been dreaming about playing the finals of Wimbledon since I started playing tennis when I was 4. To be able to be there on Sunday will probably be the best feeling."
Tsonga, however, didn't make this one easy. The 12th-seeded Frenchman went to the turf several times to knock balls back over the net, some landing in and some going long.
"This is the only surface you can really dive, because on the others, if you dive you go directly to the hospital," Tsonga said. "So this is good."
Twice in the third set, both players went down on the same point.
At 1-1 with Tsonga serving, the Frenchman dived to send the ball back toward Djokovic. The Serb then dived to hit a backhand across the net while Tsonga scrambled to his feet just in time to dive again and push a forehand long.
In the seventh game, Djokovic dived to hit a forehand, but Tsonga did the same, sending a forehand winner back over the net.
There were more theatrics in the first set.