The victories keep adding up for Novak Djokovic: 20 in a row at Wimbledon since the start of the 2018 tournament, 20 in a row in all Grand Slam matches since the start of this season.
Make both of those streaks reach 21 on Sunday, and Djokovic will accomplish something he has been chasing for years: He would tie his rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with a 20th major championship, the most by a man in tennis history.
The top-seeded Djokovic worked his way in and out of trouble against a much younger, much less experienced opponent Friday until eliminating No. 10 Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5 to reach the final at the All England Club.
"At this stage of my career, Grand Slams are everything, really. They are the four events that count the most in our sport. I've been very privileged to make history of a sport that I truly love. It fills my heart every time that I hear there is something on the line that is historic. Obviously it inspires me, it motivates me," said Djokovic, a 34-year-old from Serbia. "But at the same time, I have to balance it with trying to be present and in the moment and win only the next match."
Each set of his semifinal was tight and intense. Each appeared to be within Shapovalov's grasp -- until it was in Djokovic's.
"I don't think that the scoreline says enough about the performance and about the match," said Djokovic, who saved 5 of 5 break points in the second set, then 3 of 3 in the third.
Talking about Shapovalov, a 22-year-old from Canada, Djokovic told the capacity crowd at Centre Court: "We're going to see a lot of him in the future, definitely."
Djokovic is most definitely dominating the sport's present.
If he can beat another new-to-these-stages foe, No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy, in Sunday's final, Djokovic will collect a sixth championship at Wimbledon -- his third straight.
And then there's this: He already won the Australian Open in February and the French Open in June, so a Wimbledon triumph would put him three-quarters of the way to a calendar-year Grand Slam, with only the US Open remaining. No man has pulled that off since Rod Laver in 1969.
First things first. This will be Djokovic's 30th major final, Berrettini's first. Much as it was Djokovic's 41st major semifinal, Shapovalov's first.