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Pro Tennis: Djokovic beats Federer in epic 5-set Wimbledon final

Novak Djokovic reacts to winning the second set during the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer Sunday in London. Reuters

By Toby Davis


LONDON — Novak Djokovic claimed a second Wimbledon title after coming out on top in an extraordinary battle of wills against seven-times winner Roger Federer, eventually triumphing 6-7(7) 6-4 7-6(4) 5-7 6-4 in a gripping encounter on Sunday.

The Serb, who has now won seven grand slam titles, denied Federer the opportunity to win a record eighth All England Club trophy but was pushed all the way by the Swiss who faced a match point in the fourth set before forcing a tense decider.

Djokovic eventually wrapped up the contest that will go down as one of the greatest Wimbledon finals, in three hours and 56 minutes, falling to the ground in celebration before climbing to the players’ box to greet his camp with an emotional embrace.

“I don’t know how I managed to do it,” said a teary Djokovic, who had lost his last three grand slam finals.

“This is the tournament I always dreamed of winning. This is the best tournament in the world, the most valuable one. The first tennis match I ever saw when I was five years old was Wimbledon and it’s stuck in my mind, so to be able to compete on such a high level I’m so grateful to have this opportunity and hold this trophy.”

The victory propels Djokovic back to number one in the world, while his seventh major title draws him level with John McEnroe and Mats Wilander in joint eighth place on the all-time winners’ list.

For Federer it was a crushing defeat, yet he was magnanimous and even slightly disbelieving of his own resolve having forced a decider after looking down and out at 2-5 in the fourth set.

“It was a great final. I can’t believe I made it to five, it wasn’t looking good for a while,” he said having reached his ninth final.

“Going into a match with Novak, you know it’s going to be tough. I can only say congratulations to him. It was an amazing match and an amazing tournament. It’s well-deserved.”

Federer saved three break points in the eighth game of the fifth set as Djokovic and his famed resolve sought to take charge once more. The 32-year-old’s seeping reserves could not hold out for long.

Serving to stay in the match at 4-5, Federer fell to 15-30, and then sent a forehand long to bring up another match point.

This time, there was no stopping Djokovic, who accepted the acclaim of an emphatically appreciative crowd when Federer netted a backhand.

Kvitova cruises to 2nd women’s title

Her nearest and dearest thought she was “too nice to play tennis” but Petra Kvitova proved that when she walks out on court, she is “not that nice” as she handed Eugenie Bouchard a right royal thumping in the Wimbledon final.

Kvitova was so brutal and so lethal on Saturday that it will be a long time before Bouchard, tipped as a Wimbledon-queen-in-waiting, forgets the 6-3 6-0 execution she suffered at the hands of the Czech sixth seed.

It was not the final that 15,000 fans, including members of the British royal family, had flocked to see.

Kvitova did not care.

After just 55 mind-blowing minutes, she was flat on her back in celebration while spectators such as nine-times champion Martina Navratilova stood up to hail a majestic Centre Court performance.

“After three years to be back here with the trophy is absolutely amazing. It’s amazing time for me,” a teary-eyed Kvitova told the crowd with a quivering voice after hoisting the Rosewater Dish for the second time in four years.

“It will be good ... to have a second trophy at home. I still have a lot of work to do to match how many Martina has. So I will work very hard for that.”

It was an astonishing performance for a woman whose career has gone south since her breakthrough win here three years ago.

Kvitova hit rip-roaring winners left, right and centre to win the most one-sided final since Steffi Graf also dropped only three games against Monica Seles in 1992.

— Pritha Sarkar/Reuters