Flawless Federer into tenth Wimbledon final
Originally published on 10/07/15
The seven-time champion hit 56 winners and just 11 unforced errors as he triumphed 7-5 7-5 6-4 to reach his tenth Wimbledon final, and with it the chance to avenge last year’s final defeat to Djokovic.
Federer has lost just one service game in six matches en route to the final, and Murray, one of the game’s greatest returners, had just one break point opportunity, which came in the first game of the match.
In a match of the highest quality, Federer took the opening set after Murray couldn’t scoop the ball from out from under his feet after rushing the net. After winning the toss, Murray opted to receive and he found himself serving to stay in each set. The 2013 champion saved five set points in a 14-minute service game to keep himself in the second set at 5-5, but after Federer replied with a love service game, Murray was once again serving to stay in the set, and a forehand volley winner sealed the second set for the Swiss.
Murray has come back from two sets to love down seven times in his career, including twice at Wimbledon (against Richard Gasquet, in 2008 and Fernando Verdasco in 2013) but the Scot could find no opening on Federer’s impenetrable serve.
"That's definitely the best he served against me," said Murray, who has not beaten Federer since the 2013 Australian Open. "Apart from the first game where I had the chance there, I didn't really have any opportunities. Then that puts pressure on you and the pressure builds throughout the set. Obviously I got broken right at the end all of the sets.
"But I didn't actually play a bad match. Whether I could have done more returningwise, a few times when I had opportunities on the second serve. But he served it extremely well, close to the lines and made it very difficult for me on the first serve return."
"It was definitely one of the best matches I've played in my career," admitted Federer. "Today I was clearly able to play very well from the start. The beginning was always going to be an important part of the game. I had to save breakpoint first, then I was able to start rolling on my serve. I played a great game to break."
In a repeat of the 2014 final, Federer will now meet Djokovic after the world No.1 defeated Richard Gasquet in 7-6(2) 6-4 6-4.
Gasquet, who shocked French Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals, ran Djokovic close in all three sets, but the Serb was the more clinical as he booked his place in a fourth Wimbledon final in five years.
After an early exchange of breaks, Gasquet was the better player for much of the first period, hitting just five unforced errors in the opening set, but Djokovic was clinical when it mattered most, winning the opening set on a tiebreak.
With momentum on his side, Djokovic broke in the opening game of the second set to put himself in control, and began to pile on the pressure as Gasquet was forced to fend off another break point to avoid going a double break down.
With the final in his sights, Djokovic broke in the third game of the third set, and although Gasquet saved two match points as he served to stay in the match, it merely delayed the inevitable as Djokovic sealed victory in two hours and 21 minutes.
"We all know how good he is. He's the greatest ever," Djokovic said of his next opponent. "There's not enough praises for what he does. But this is where he loves to play. This is where he plays his best tennis.
"The Centre Court of Wimbledon, seven titles. It's his court; he loves it. He usually rises up to the occasion. He's always playing his toughest when it matters the most. That's why he's a big champion. It's going to be probably the biggest challenge I can have."