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Every tennis era produces a champion, most tend to dominate the sport for a period of 4-5 years before the next contender rises and brushes the former away into the record books where they maintain a place forever in the annals of history. Every once in a while though there are exceptions where a champion goes on to become much more than just a memory in a history book, he embodies the sport for a concerted length of time to ensure that he becomes synonmous with it, and gives the fans stories worthy of being passed on from one generation to the next. One such champion is Roger Federer, who after 16 Grand Slam titles one would have believed to have a chapter dedicated to him in every tennis book ever written from now to eternity. Well that chapter got a new entry today as the Swiss Maestro, who hasn't won a major since the Australian Open in 2010, turned back the clock many a years to comfortably ease past young contender Novak Djokovic, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 into his 8th Wimbledon final.
The opening set raced by as if the players were on the clock, rushing to catch the last shuttle home. Service games went by like blurs and with the exception of Djokovic's third service game, there was nothing to write home about. That game though made all the difference as Federer got his backhand working to perfection, slicing to keep the ball low, while rifling forehand winners down the line to grab the all important first break. The rest of the set continued to whizz by, and in 24 minutes flat, Federer was a set up in this semi-final, 6-3.
The world no.1 though was just getting warmed up, and in under an hour, had returned parity to this contest. Federer's impeccable serve had been laid to waste in the second game with the help of some heavy groundstrokes. Meanwhile, Djokovic's serve was impenetrable, losing just 3 points in the entire set to constantly keep the 6-time champion at arms length. Though, Federer got into a few spots of bother on his own serve, he managed to hold on to keep the deficit to just one break of serve but Djokovic's immaculate serving coupled with some deep and penetrating groundstrokes meant that Federer did not get even so much as a peek at the Serbian's service games paving the way for him to level the scores at one set apiece.
The quality of play from both ends of the courts rose remarkably in the all important third set with both men armed with the knowledge that a two sets to one lead would put them firmly in the driver's seat. Djokovic fell behind in a couple of service games, including offering two break points to Federer in the sixth game, but the defending champion managed to dodge a bullet. It was Federer's turn to be in trouble in the 9th game, but three perfect serves allowed him to stave off a breakpoint and serve his way into a 5-4 lead. The hold proved to be crucial, as a missed overhead from Djokovic at 15-30 gave the 6-time champion two set points, and he showed the youngster just how to put a tough smash away to wrap up the third set 6-4.
Federer carried the momentum forward into the fourth set, breaking Djokovic's very first service game to give himself a 2-0 lead. Djokovic had a glimmer of a chance at 30-30 in the next game to answer right back, but once again some immaculate serving from the Swiss maestro, who was using the body serve in particular to perfection, helped him consolidate the break for a 3-0 lead.
Djokovic finally ended the run of games against him by holding serve in the fourth game, but the damage had been done by then. The defending champion had his back to the wall again in his following service, but held on to delay the inevitable. It was all about Federer from there on as the legendary champion reaffirmed his supremacy on the day to wrap up an interesting if not enthralling contest in four sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a shade over 2 hours.
Up next for the man who has owned Center Court for the last decade will be the winner of today's second semi-final between Britain's Andy Murray and the enigmatic Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
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- 06/07/2012 22:22 - Murray downs erratic Tsonga to advance to first ever Wimbledon Final