Federer back in Wimbledon final
LONDON (Reuters) — When Novak Djokovic’s flying forehand kissed the net and bounced into the corner, he let out a primal roar that echoed around Centre Court, the All England Club and probably all the way to his hometown of Belgrade.
It was the point that had spared him going into a nerve-jangling fifth set.
It was the point that secured him a 6-4 3-6 7-6(2) 7-6(7) over win over shotmaker extraordinaire Grigor Dimitrov.
Most importantly it was the point that propelled him into a final showdown at Wimbledon with seven-times champion Roger Federer.
The so-called revolution by the ‘generation next’ of men’s tennis failed to gather further momentum on Friday as 23-year-olds Dimitrov and Milos Raonic came up short in their bids to overthrow the establishment.
Instead a 27-year-old father-to-be and a 32-year-old father of four — who between them own 23 grand slam titles — will battle it out for the biggest prize in lawn tennis.
“I’m unbelievably thrilled to be in another final,” said Federer, who has been in superb form on the grass this year after winning in Halle and motoring through the early rounds at Wimbledon. “My game’s back where I hoped it would be from one year ago.
“Things were difficult all of last year, most of the year, so I’m happy I worked hard off the court to get myself back into shape and back into contention for tournaments.”
Federer standing just three sets away from becoming the oldest man to triumph at the grasscourt major in the professional era. Federer is chasing a record eighth Wimbledon trophy to take his overall grand slam haul to 18.
“I have a lot of energy in the tank. I am very excited for the final because that’s how you want to feel before a final, totally energized and eager to play,” said the Swiss, who will be contesting a 25th grand slam final.
After watching a sure-footed Federer neutralize Raonic’s bullet-like serve and firecracker forehand with casual ease, no one would have guessed that the same court had resembled a treacherous and dusty minefield only minutes earlier.
Those who had never laid eyes on 11th seed Dimitrov soon realized why he had been christened “Baby Fed” as he produced Federer-esque shots that drew a 15,000-strong chorus of “oohs” and “aahs” to draw level at one set all.
Djokovic, though, had witnessed enough nail-biting drama for one day and his ear-splitting celebrations showed just how much of a relief winning the tiebreak 9-7 meant to him.
“I was a set and a break up and made some unforced errors that gave my opponent hope that he could win the match,” said Djokovic. “That’s something that I definitely cannot allow myself in the final against Roger.”
Djokovic expects a grand affair.
“They have a similar game, so it was good to play a longer match and understand the way I need to prepare for Roger,” added the top seed, who has lost the three major finals he has played since winning the last of his six slams at the 2013 Australian Open. “I am physically ready and fit to go the distance this time.”