LONDON: Novak Djokovic won his second Wimbledon title and seventh career major with a 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-4 victory over Roger Federer on Sunday, shattering the Swiss star’s dream of a record eighth triumph in an epic struggle.
Victory allowed the top seeded Serb, who was also the 2011 champion and runner-up last year, to end a run of three successive defeats in grand slam finals, but the 27-year-old struggled to get across the finish line, surrendering a 5-2 lead in the fourth set and then a match point.
Djokovic celebrated victory in a typically eccentric style, kneeling on the Centre Court turf and munching on a few blades of grass just as he had done three years ago.
Defeat for 32-year-old Federer ended his bid to become the oldest Wimbledon champion in the Open Era and of breaking the tie of seven titles he shares with Pete Sampras.
“First of all I want to congratulate Federer,” said Djokovic.
“It was a great match to be a part of. He is a magnificent champion and a great example of a great athlete and a role model. I respect everything you [Federer] have done and thanks for letting me win today [Sunday].
“That’s why he has 17 Grand Slams because at important times, he comes up with those shots. After losing the fourth set it wasn’t easy to go on and win the fifth; I don’t know how I did it.”
Djokovic has the added bonus of reclaiming the world number one spot from Rafael Nadal.
Federer said he was surprised to have got to a deciding set.
“It was a great final,” said Federer. “I can’t believe I made it to five, it wasn’t looking good for a while.
“Going into a match with Djokovic, you know it’s going to be tough. I can only say congratulations to him.”
Battle of the big names
The first set witnessed a rollercoaster of a tiebreaker as Federer saw a 3/0 lead gobbled up and then had to save two set points to take the opening set.
However, Djokovic took a nasty tumble on the bone-dry grassless baseline and saw two break points disappear in the first game of the second set.
But he did break in the third for 2-1 before calling the trainer to treat the left ankle he hurt in the fall.
Federer had his first break point of the tie in the 10th game but Djokovic saved it and levelled the final with a brutal overhead.
Federer saved two break points in the 11th game of the third set, moving to 6-5 with a 20th ace.
But it was Djokovic, who was on top in the tiebreaker, charging to two set points and the third set when Federer pushed a drive wide.
But in a thrilling fourth set, the veteran Swiss broke his opponent when he served for the title.
He saved a match point in the 10th game on a successful challenge to take the final into a decider.
Djokovic led 2-1 in the fifth and called the trainer for the second time for treatment to his right calf.
The man from Belgrade fought off a break point to lead 4-3 and then wasted three of his own as the rivals went to 4-4.
Djokovic held for 5-4 and from nowhere he seized the initiative, moving to two championship points and clinched the trophy when Federer netted a return.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2014.
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