Sunday's Wimbledon men's final will pit Roger Federer, vying for a record seventh title, against Andy Murray (pictured), the first British man in 74 years to reach the finals after beating France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-5 Friday.
AP – For Roger Federer, it’s Wimbledon Final No. 8. For Andy Murray, it’s No. 1 – and the first for a British man since 1938.
Federer, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, beat last year’s winner Novak Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 Friday under a closed roof on Centre Court to reach a modern-era record eighth final at the All England Club and is now one victory from equaling Pete Sampras’ record of seven titles.
“I have one more match to go. I’m aware of that,” said the 30-year-old Federer, who is 6-1 in Wimbledon finals. “Still, it’s always nice beating someone like Novak, who has done so well here last year, the last couple years.”
The next challenge will come Sunday against Murray, who is the first British man to even reach the Wimbledon final since Bunny Austin in 1938. Murray, who is also trying to become the British man to win the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936, beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the second semifinal.
If Federer does win Sunday in his 24th Grand Slam final, he would also take over the No. 1 ranking from Djokovic and equal Sampras’ record of 286 weeks as the top-ranked player.
“There’s obviously a lot on the line for me in terms of winning here, the all-time Grand Slam record, world No. 1,” Federer said. “I’m also going into that match with some pressure, but I’m excited about it. That’s what I play for.”
Both Federer and Djokovic went for winners on almost every point. But it was Federer who got the key points when they mattered in the third set.
“It’s hard to fire bullets the whole time, so you try to also find some range. If he tees off first, it’s hard to defend obviously,” said Federer, who is now 1-0 against Djokovic on grass. “It’s just not as easy to take that many balls out and come up with amazing shots time and time again. That’s why I kept on attacking.”
At 4-4, Djokovic had his chance with only his third break point of the match. Federer held with three service winners.
Moments later, while serving to stay in the set – and, essentially, the match – Djokovic gifted Federer a pair of break points by blasting an overhead long with much of the court open. He saved one, but Federer’s overhead smash on the second gave the Swiss great the third set, and put him on the way to the final.
“(I) had unfortunately a bad service game on 5-4, and obviously he uses his opportunities when they’re presented,” said Djokovic, who had reached the last four major finals. “So you have to be always consistent. I wasn’t.”
The win improved Federer’s semifinal record at the All England Club to 8-0. His only loss in the final came in 2008, when Rafael Nadal beat him 9-7 in the fifth set.
“There’s a lot on the line for me. I’m not denying that,” Federer said of Sunday’s final. “I have a lot of pressure, as well. I’m looking forward to that. That’s what I work hard for.
“So it’s a big match for me and I hope I can keep my nerves. I’m sure I can. Then hopefully win the match. But we’ll see about that.”
Both William Renshaw and Arthur Gore have also participated in eight Wimbledon finals, but they played when the defending champion received a bye into the following year’s final. That rule was changed in 1922. Renshaw won seven titles, while Gore won three.
On Friday, Federer earned the only break of the first set to take the lead, and Djokovic returned the favor in the second set to even the score.
The third set turned out to be the decisive one, and Djokovic fought to stay in it right from the start.
After holding easily, Federer earned a break point when Djokovic sent a forehand long. Although the top-ranked Serb saved it, and eventually held to 1-1, it was the beginning of the end.
The next three games went quickly and on serve, but Federer then earned a pair of break points in the sixth game. Djokovic again saved them, the first after a 24-stroke rally that ended with Federer’s forehand going wide.
“He was the better player. In the important moments he was aggressive, hitting from both sides,” Djokovic said. “Obviously that’s what you expect when you play against Roger at the final four of a Grand Slam. I knew that.”
Murray later played Tsonga under an open roof on Centre Court, and under intense pressure to succeed in front of the British public.
“Big relief,” Murray said. “I just got to try to keep it together for the final.”
Murray got off to a fast start against Tsonga, serving well and winning the first two sets easily. And after losing the second, he hung on in the fourth, breaking in the final game with a forehand return winner.
The 25-year-old Murray was playing in the semifinals at the All England Club for the fourth straight year, and finally made the final.
On Sunday against Federer, he’ll come up against an opponent that beat him in straight sets in the 2008 U.S. Open final and the 2010 Australian Open final.
In Murray’s only other major final, the 2011 Australian Open, he lost to Djokovic – again in straight sets.
Date created : 2012-07-06