IMAGE: Italy’s Matteo Berrettini celebrates victory Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the men’s singles semi-finals of The Championships – Wimbledon 2021, at the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, on Friday. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Seventh seed Matteo Berrettini stayed solid in the face of a spirited fightback from Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz to become the first Italian to reach the Wimbledon final with a 6-3, 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-4 victory on Friday.
The 25-year-old took two hours and 36 minutes to get past the 14th seeded Hurkacz on Centre Court to reach the championship match on Sunday – the same day Italy takes on England in the Euro 2020 soccer final a few miles up the road at Wembley Stadium.
Waiting for Berrettini on the opposite side of the net will be either world number one Novak Djokovic, a five-time Wimbledon winner, or Canada’s 10th seed Denis Shapovalov.
“I have no words,” Berrettini said in his on-court interview.
IMAGE: Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz appreciates the applause from the crowd as he walks off the court after losing to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
“I need, I think, couple of hours to understand what happened. I just know that I played a great match. I’m really happy. I’m really glad to be here.
“I think I never dreamed about this because it was too much for a dream.”
Berrettini’s success in the past fortnight has not been entirely out of the blue as he arrived at the All England Club after winning his fifth tour-level title at Queen’s.
He was the first player to win the Wimbledon warm-up event on his debut appearance since Boris Becker in 1985 and remains on course to match the German’s feat of completing the Queen’s Club-Wimbledon double in the same year.
Friday’s victory also made Berrettini the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam final since Adriano Panatta won the Roland Garros title in 1976.