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What we learnt from the 2014 Wimbledon men's final

Can anyone stop Novak Djokovic? (AAP Image/Barbara Walton)
Roar Guru
7th July, 2014
1

Unlike the lopsided women’s final which lasted just under an hour, the men delivered in a classic match between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic entered his third Wimbledon final, seeking redemption after being thrashed in straight sets by Andy Murray last year, while Roger Federer entered the match having dropped serve and a set just once in the six run-up matches to the final, against compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic won his second Wimbledon title at the expense of Federer, who was going for an unprecedented eighth title at the tournament where he has enjoyed the most success.

It marks the Serb’s second Wimbledon title, seventh Grand Slam title overall but first since last year’s Australian Open. The rankings points he accumulated is enough for him to return to number one in the world rankings, displacing Rafael Nadal, who once again fell before the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.

The first set alone, which lasted four minutes less than the entire women’s final, saw neither player force a break point on the way to it being decided by a tiebreak. Djokovic first held two separate set points at 6-5 and 7-6, but couldn’t convert either.

Federer won three straight points from the latter position to claim the first set, and his dream of winning a record eighth Wimbledon title remained on track. After all, he had won his only previous meeting against Djokovic on grass just two years ago.

The Serb would raise his game in the second set, breaking in the third game on his way to taking it 6-4. The third set followed a similar pattern to that of the first, going to a tiebreak which Djokovic won, thus putting him up two sets to one.

He then broke twice in the fourth set to put himself up 5-2 and leave Federer to serve for survival. That he did, and Djokovic was given the chance to serve for the championship at 5-3 up.

The Serb could not convert this opportunity, and Federer would break back, putting the set back on serve. Afterwards, the Swiss broke for a 6-5 lead, and duly served it out to send the final to its first fifth set since 2009.

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Djokovic had earlier held a championship point against serve in the tenth game, and was on the brink when Federer served an ace that was initially called out. However, a challenge from the Swiss proved otherwise.

The loss of that championship point, as well as a slip on the grass in the second set where the Serb was on the way to breaking for a 2-1 lead, would not deter him from claiming the final set 6-4 and the championship.

It ended what was one of the most thrilling Wimbledon finals not seen for five years, and this must surely rank with the 2001, 2008 and 2009 classics.

For the first time since the 2009 US Open, neither Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray featured in a Grand Slam final, and for the first time since the French Open that same year, neither reached the semi-finals.

Djokovic became only the third man, after Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, to defeat Federer in a Grand Slam final.

It was Federer’s second defeat in a Wimbledon final after falling to Rafael Nadal in the memorable 2008 final exactly six years ago.

Djokovic’s victory, as already mentioned, sees him reclaim the world number one ranking from Nadal, meaning that Federer still remains the most recent man who has held the top ranking unbroken through an entire calendar year (2007).

As for Roger Federer, it is now two years since he last mounted the Grand Slam dais, having most recently won Wimbledon two years ago. Many believe that this was his last shot at a Major title, given he will be 33 next month.

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Victory for the Swiss would have seen him become the oldest Wimbledon champion in the Open Era. The disappointment aside, his ability to come from behind in the fourth set to force a deciding set was testament to the fighting spirit he has shown numerous times throughout his very long career.

Congratulations to Novak Djokovic, who has buried his poor recent record in Grand Slam finals and remains on track to join Federer and Rafael Nadal with double-figure titles at the elite level.

I hope that you have enjoyed this year’s Wimbledon Championships, and we will be back to do it all again next year. I will be back, however, to provide analysis during the US Open next month.