Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Cameron Norrie in a men’s singles semifinal in London on Friday. AP
Novak Djokovic promised there will be “fireworks” when he takes on Australia’s Nick Kyrgios for the Wimbledon title on Sunday.
Six-time champion Djokovic reached his eighth final at the All England Club and a record 32nd at the Slams by seeing off Cameron Norrie 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in Friday’s semi-final.
“The job is not finished. One thing is for sure there are going to be a lot of fireworks emotionally from both sides,” said the 35-year-old Djokovic.
Despite playing in his first final at the majors, Kyrgios boasts a 2-0 edge over the former world number one.
In the meetings in Acapulco and Indian Wells in 2017, Djokovic failed to win a set.
“We haven’t played for some time. I’ve never won a set off him,” said Djokovic. “Hopefully it can be different this time. It’s another final for me at Wimbledon, so hopefully the experience can work in my favour.”
For an hour on a sun-baked Centre Court, inspired ninth seed Norrie outshone the 20-time Grand Slam champion and looked capable of a huge upset in his first major semi-final.
The partisan home crowd roared its approval as Norrie capitalised on a rash of errors from a tense-looking Djokovic to win five successive games and take the opening set.
Djokovic, bidding for a fourth successive Wimbledon title and seventh in all, found his usual rhythm though and gradually seized the initiative as Norrie’s level dropped.
From the moment the Serbian broke Norrie’s serve in the eighth game of the second set it was one-way traffic.
Norrie battled hard in the fourth set as the crowd found its voice again but ultimately could not resist Djokovic’s march into a men’s record 32nd final from 68 Grand Slam events.
Djokovic, who received a few boos after gesturing at a heckling fan after match point, admitted he had struggled to get to grips with Norrie early on.
“I didn’t start off well and he was the better player for the first set,” Djokovic, who has now won 27 consecutive matches at Wimbledon dating back to 2017, said.
“In a Grand Slam semi-final, there’s always lots of pressure and expectation, Cameron didn’t have much to lose and he was playing the tournament of his life. “I got a lucky break at 4-3, he kind of gifted me that game, and then the momentum shifted a little bit.”
Kyrgios said on Friday he was disappointed not to face Nadal at Wimbledon, proclaiming that “everyone did want to see us go to war out there”.
The controversial Australian was handed a free pass final after Nadal withdrew from their semi-final with an abdominal injury.
Kyrgios, one of the sport’s most talented yet divisive characters, is in his first final at the majors at the age of 27. Had he faced Nadal, it would have been their third clash at Wimbledon.
Kyrgios won the first in 2014 as a 144th-ranked wild card before Nadal gained revenge in a stormy clash three years ago.
“We’ve had a lot of run-ins, a lot of battles,” said Kyrgios, who has won three of their nine encounters. “I’m sure at the end of the day everyone did want to see us go to war out there. I hope he just gets better.
“Obviously you never want to see someone like that, so important to the sport, go down with an injury like that. I’m sure I’ll play him again on a big stage.”
Earlier Friday, Kyrgios had posted a goodwill message on Instagram to Nadal. “Different players, different personalities. @rafaelnadal I hope your recovery goes well and we all hope to see you healthy soon — till next time.”