By Ned Payne |
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic secured his fifth Wimbledon title in extraordinary fashion after surviving two championship points against Switzerland’s Roger Federer before winning a fifth-set tiebreak.
The 32-year-old saw off Federer 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 3-6, 13-12 in one of the greatest men’s singles finals witnessed by the All England Club.
There was little in the first set and, predictably, it went to a tiebreak.
Federer appeared to have control at 5-3 but Djokovic roared back with four points in a row to snatch it away, the set sealed when the Swiss pulled wide a backhand from the baseline.
Federer, an eight-times Wimbledon champion, broke in the first game of the second set as he sought to get himself back in the contest.
Another break put the 37-year-old 3-0 up and he did not look back, increasing to 5-1 his advantage before another error-strewn service game from Djokovic – capped by a double fault – handed his rival the set.
The next saw both players refuse to give an inch, although Federer was a couple of points away from the set at 5-4 up and facing the Djokovic serve.
However, the Serb survived and a second tiebreak was the result.
He blazed into a 5-1 lead and although Federer pulled it back to 5-4, a misjudged backhand slice and a running forehand into the net allowed Djokovic to take the set.
Federer seized the initiative in the fourth with a break at 2-2, following it up with a hold to love.
Another break – sealed by a wayward Djokovic backhand – set up Federer to serve it out, which he needed two attempts at but duly did so, 6-3.
The Swiss survived three break points early in the fifth but could not replicate that in his next service game, Djokovic despatching a backhand to go 4-2 up.
But Federer was not done and pulled it back to 4-4, surviving another stern examination of his serve in the process.
On the match went, to 5-5, 6-6 and then 7-7.
Djokovic was 30-0 up in the 15th game of the set but Federer reeled off four points in a row – capped by a cross-court forehand which sealed the break.
But the five-times US Open champion then agonisingly failed to convert two championship points and the players were back on serve.
The clash went all the way to 12-12 where Djokovic took control in the tiebreak, racing into a 4-1 lead.
And a Federer mis-hit eventually handed the title to Djokovic, who celebrated – unusually – by chewing on the Wimbledon turf.
Meanwhile, the mixed doubles final was a more straightforward affair.
French Open champions Latisha Chan of Chinese Taipei and Croatia’s Ivan Dodig were comfortable 6-2, 6-3 winners over Lativan Jelena Ostapenko and Robert Lindstedt of Sweden.
In the women’s doubles final, Czech Republic’s Barbora Strýcová and Hsieh Su-wei of Chinese Taipei beat Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and China’s Xu Yifan 6-1, 6-4.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.