Novak Djokovic got off to a sluggish start but quickly made up ground as he added Cam Norrie to a British victim’s list in their Friday Wimbledon semi-final with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The Serb top seed got a bit tetchy as he closed out the win in just under two and three-quarter hours, finishing with an untouchable serve but then failing to convey his “love’ to all four sides of the court as is his habit.
Norrie, who swept the first set and gave upset hopes to Centre Court fans, was unable to get over the line to become the second British man in the post-1969 Open era to reach the final here.
Djokovic, who has reached his eighth title match at the All England Club, got on with the job and rolled through the remaining three sets to reach his 32nd career Grand Slam final from 68 majors played,
“I didn’t start off well, he was the better player in the fist set,” the Serb who has won the last three editions here said.
“The semi-final of a Grand Slam is never easy, it is never easy walking out on court.
“There is pressure and expectations. Cam didn’t have much to lose, he was probably playing the tournament of his life.”
Djokovic added: “At home it’s never easy, he’s a great player and I have a lot of respect for him.”
Norrie, the British No. 1, was hoping to become the first local to reach the final here since Andy Murray, twice a champion (2013, 2016).
Djokovic moved into the final against Nick Kyrgios after the Australian was put through automatically when Rafael Nadal pulled out due to a 7-mm tear in his abdominal muscle which would have prevented him from competing.
Kyrgios and the Serb have a long history, with swings and roundabouts in their off-court social media postings. At the moment, the relationship seems to be an online tennis bromance with compliments all around.
“There will be a lot of emotional fireworks from both of us,” Djokovic said of the Sunday showdown.
“This will be his first Grand Slam final and he will be very excited. He doesn’t have much to lose.
“Nick plays freely and has a big serve and a big game with a lot of power.
“I’ve never won a set off of him (both matches played in 2017). I hope it will be different now.
“It’s another final for me here and I hope experience can work in my favour.”
Norrie claimed the opening set in the semi-final in 30 minutes, finishing with ace.
But then it was time for Djokovic to take over.
The top seed sent down 13 aces and broke five times to put the Brit back in his box.
Djokovic denied that putting a cap on after losing the opener had anything to do with his turnaround.
“it was very hot today, hottest day of the event,” he said. “I was tight at the start of the match and was not swinging through the ball.
“I got some luck in the second set and Cam missed on a couple of putaways. After that, the momentum shifted a bit.
Djokovic put a bit more polish on his record against Brits on their home ground with the victory.
The Serb was facing a British player at the tournament for a fifth time and has won four of those five encounters.
He lost to Murray in the 2013 final and now stands 15-2 against the Brits at the four majors.