Though it did not start like one, the Wimbledon 2014 final, ultimately became one classic of a match, truly worthy of being ranked as one of the greatest finals in Wimbledon history. It lasted the distance, provided edge of the seat romance and it was not over until the last point was played. Both Djokovic and Federer played marvelous tennis and matched each other in brilliance. Djokovic was probably tired of being graceful in defeat to his opponents after losing his last three Grand Slam finals and desperately wanted a win here to end an 18 month drought. It was the same with Federer, who too, was tired of the media barrage six months back about his tennis capability and probably wanted to tell them that he was very much in the game to which he belongs and they can chose someone else for the retirement from active tennis. In the closing stages of the almost 4-hour final, Djokovic began looking a better and more energetic player. When Federer sent the last shot into the net and the match was over, Djokovic ran to the net and warmly embraced the ever graceful Federer. Later, overcome by emotions, the Serb fell to his knees on the court, pinched out a bit of grass and savored its taste. It was Djokovic’s second Wimbledon title after he won here in 2011 and Monday, when the ATP rankings are released, the Serb will reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal.
As the match began, Djokovic found ways to deal with Federer’s recently improved service delivery. It was evident that the Swiss great was following some sound advice from his coach Stefan Edberg as he rushed to the net many times to affect killing winners but his forays met with only a limited success. The first set was decided on the tie-break after each player held his serve. Though Federer took an early 3-0 lead, the Serb unleashed his own weapons to push Federer on the defensive. Djokovic snatched a set point in the first set but Federer came back with some more service boomers and took the set in 57 minutes. In the second set, Djokovic bounced back and forced Federer to save two break points on his service in the opening game. Somehow Federer won the game but next when he served in the third game, Djokovic broke him to take a 2-1 lead. That one break of serve was enough for Djokovic to take the second set 6-4.
Both players had great service games in the third set and no breaks came until the 11th game, when Djokovic elicited two break points from Federer just as he had done in the second set. Federer saved both and held his serve to force another tie-break of the match. Djokovic played forcefully to hold a set point at 6-4 in the tie-break and closed the third set at that.
With a 2-1 set lead, Djokovic’s confidence grew in the fourth set and when he broke Federer in the fourth game to lead 3-1, the end of the match looked close. The players traded breaks but the Serb raced to a 5-2 lead and after Federer held his serve in the eighth game, Djokovic prepared to serve for the championship at 5-3. But Federer was not done in yet. He came up with some controlled power-hitting to turn the tide in his favor. The partisan center court crowd rooted for the Swiss as he forced Djokovic into some crucial errors. First he broke Djokovic’s service to make it 5-4 and while he was expected to hold his own service to take the score to 5-5, Federer got pushed yet again as Djokovic held a match point. But the 7-time champion held both his nerve and the serve to lead 6-5. In the next game Federer broke Djokovic once again to take the set 7-5 and then everything rested on the final set.
Despite being on the court for long, the quality of tennis was maintained on the upper keel by two accomplished masters as the final set went on serves until the seventh game. In the eighth game, however, Djokovic had three break points against Federer. But he saved them all. However, the consistency in Djokovic’s game was enough to put Federer in trouble as he served at 4-5, 15-30 to stay in contention for the championship. But another of his famous forehand fell far from the line and for the second time, Djokovic held a match point. This proved to be the last point of the match as a backhand from Federer could only reach the net to give Novak Djokovic a 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 win.
As Boris Becker flashed a smile from his box, it was justice in the end for the Serbian, who has had a great 2014 season, though the superb quality of his tennis has not been rewarded with tournament victories. Wimbledon championship, however, is the most cherished dream for any player and from the time he lost to Andy Murray last year, Djokovic has been waiting for this day. Despite opposition from Federer, Djokovic played brilliantly. He served well, returned well and produced far more winners than Federer.
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