Djokovic, Federer to decide '14 Wimbledon champ

The Sports NetworkJuly 4, 2014 

London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Sunday's marquee men's Wimbledon final will pit top-seeded former champion Novak Djokovic against seven-time titlist Roger Federer.

Friday's semifinals at the All England Club saw the Serbian stalwart Djokovic hold off 11th-seeded rising Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (9-7) to reach his third Wimbledon final in four years and the fourth-seeded former world No. 1 great Federer stymie eighth-seeded Canadian slugger Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on another beautiful day on the famed Centre Court.

The 32-year-old Swiss icon Federer will now appear in his ninth Wimbledon final, with his only loss coming at the hands of Rafael Nadal in their 2008 classic. A win on Sunday would make him the all-time Open era king at the AEC, as he's currently tied with Pete Sampras with the seven championships. William Renshaw piled up seven titles, including a record six straight, in the 1880s during the Amateur era.

Djokovic will appear in his 14th career major final, seeking a seventh championship. A big victory on Sunday would propel him back to the world No. 1 ranking.

"Considering I have lost the last couple of Grand Slam finals -- and I could have won them all -- I'm looking forward to it," Djokovic said of Sunday's final.

In the first set in the first match on Day 11 of the fortnight, Djokovic recorded the only break en route to winning the stanza against Dimitrov.

The Bulgarian, however, leveled the match in the second after Djokovic blew a 3-1 lead, as the talented Dimitrov surprisingly won five straight games to stun his Serbian counterpart.

With no breaks of serve in the third, Djokovic would easily prevail in a tiebreak to forge ahead.

The fourth set then saw the Serb break for a 2-1 lead, but Dimitrov broke right back on his way to a 3-2 edge.

Djokovic saved a set point while trailing 4-5 and staved off three more after trailing 3-6 in the fourth-set tiebreak. Dimitrov then committed an untimely double fault to give Djokovic a 7-6 lead, but then saved a match point with a forehand winner.

Two points later, however, it was over, as Djokovic converted on his second match point by clipping the net cord with a forehand pass winner.

Djokovic wound up with 45 winners, including 17 aces, in the three-hour affair. Dimitrov actually had more winners (48), but also misfired for 33 unforced errors and eight double faults.

Djokovic improved to 4-1 lifetime versus Dimitrov, including 2-0 at the majors. He beat the Bulgarian at Roland Garros last year.

The 27-year-old Djokovic is now 3-3 in his Wimbledon semifinals, while the 23-year-old Dimitrov was playing in his first-ever major semi.

Dimitrov captured his first-ever grass-court title at London's Queen's Club three weeks ago and had been an unblemished 9-0 on grass this season.

The six-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic, who was the French Open runner-up to Nadal last month, captured his lone Wimbledon title in 2011 and was last year's runner-up to Andy Murray, who lost to Dimitrov in straight sets in the quarterfinals here on Wednesday.

Djokovic has now secured berths in 12 of the last 16 Grand Slam finals. The Belgrade native is 44-22 in his overall career finals, including 3-1 this year, with a trio of Masters titles and a French Open loss to the current world No. 1 Nadal.

With sports royalty such as Rod Laver and Jack Nicklaus looking on, Federer got an early break in the first set and late ones in the second and third in an uneventful bout against Raonic on Centre. The match ended on Federer's first match point, which turned out to be an unreturnable first serve.

Federer moved on in a brisk in 1 hour, 41 minutes, despite a 17-ace attack from Raonic. The Swiss star had all three breaks in the match and saved the only break-point he faced while committing only 11 unforced errors on Day 11.

The amazing Federer has dropped only one set at this 2014 fortnight.

"I'm extremely happy to be in another final," he said. "I expect a lot of myself here.

"Now I can look forward to another great match with Novak."

Raonic, like Dimitrov, was playing in his first-ever major semi.

Appearing in his 35th career Grand Slam semi, Federer is now 73-8 overall at Wimbledon after handling the 23-year-old Montenegro-born Raonic. The super Swiss improved to 5-0 lifetime against Raonic, including 2-0 at the majors.

Federer is 17-7 in his Grand Slam finals, with his last win coming here at Wimbledon two years ago. He's 79-39 in his overall career finals, including a pair of titles this year and a win on the grass in Halle, Germany, three weeks ago. The Basel native has also been a three-time runner-up this season, including at two Masters events.

Djokovic and Federer will meet for a 35th time, with the Swiss holding an 18-16 lifetime advantage, including a 2-1 record this year. They will battle for a 12th time at a Slam, with Federer holding a 6-5 lead there, including a win in a Wimbledon semifinal two years ago, there lone meeting at The Championships.

Djokovic is 5-4 in his career finals against Federer, but the Swiss is 1-0 in their lone major final, the 2007 U.S. Open.

Sunday's winner will pocket more than $3 million.

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