While the much anticipated Novak Djokovic clash with Carlos Alcaraz will not happen at Wimbledon, an in-form Jannik Sinner looks more than an ample replacement as the next test for the top seed. Djokovic was the winner in their only match so far, winning easily in straight sets last year at Monte Carlo.
Sinner was superb in knocking off Carlos Alcaraz, with a rounded performance in the 6-1 6-4 6-7 6-3 win. He had not won on grass at tour level before this but has learned on the job quickly, defeating a variety of opponents on his way to the semi final. He also showed great nerve to avoid getting dragged into a five set scrap, saving set points in the fourth set having failed to take match points in the third set.
Djokovic did drop another set in his victory over Tim van Rijthoven but he especially showed his class late during then 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2 victory. A moment where he delivered multiple pinpoint lobs over the Dutchman in quick succession showed that this was a man at the top of his game and improving as the match went on. “But overall I think I’ve played very well, very solid from back of the court. I got into his service rhythm, started reading his serve better in the third and fourth sets.”
“He’s very solid. He has every shot in his game: serve, return, forehand, backhand. He’s constantly putting pressure on opponents. I kind of see a little bit of myself in his game, as well, from back of the court, playing flat backhands, constantly staying on the back of the line, trying to put pressure on opponents.” Djokovic said on Sinner. While the young Italian has improved dramatically as the tournament went on, he is going to be facing a different beast altogether in the best slow grass player by far. Finding a part of his game where he can best Djokovic for long periods is difficult to do and he will not be able to win free points in the same way as van Rijthoven did.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets