Sunday, July 6, 2014

Wimbledon Day 13 highlights: Djokovic wins classic

Novak Djokovic needed 3 hours, 56 minutes to subdue Roger
Federer for his second Wimbledon title. It was the longest of
their 35 matches. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   Men's final -- Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer played the longest match in their long rivalry today.  In the end, Djokovic gutted out a tense 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4 victory in 3 hours, 56 minutes for his second Wimbledon title.
   Federer, down two sets to one and 5-2 in the fourth set, practically willed himself to his 18th Grand Slam crown. He won five straight games, saving one championship point, to send the match to a fifth set.
   Oddly, given that Federer will be 33 next month and Djokovic is 27, Federer looked fresher in the decisive set. Djokovic took a medical timeout for treatment on his right calf at 2-1 but, showing tremendous resolve himself, recovered to lead 5-4 and break Federer in the last game. Federer missed four groundstrokes in the game, netting a backhand on Djokovic's second championship point.
   Djokovic, who will return to No. 1 in the world on Monday, captured his seventh Grand Slam title but first since last year's Australian Open. He had lost three straight major finals and five of his last six.
   Federer, now 18-17 against Djokovic, was trying to:
   -- Win his first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon two years ago in his first major final since then.
   -- Become the oldest man in the Open era (since 1968) to win a Slam and only the fifth to win two majors past the age of 30.
   -- Break the record of seven Wimbledon men's singles titles he shares with Pete Sampras  (1993-95, 1997-2000) and William Renshaw (1881-86, 1889).
   Notable -- Djokovic was not the only Serb to win a title today. The 15th-seeded team of Nenad Zimonjic, 38, and Samantha Stosur of Australia topped 14th-seeded Max Mirnyi, 37, of Belarus and Chan Hao-Ching of Taiwan 6-4, 6-2 in mixed doubles.
   U.S. report -- Qualifier Noah Rubin, an 18-year-old protege of John McEnroe from Rockville Centre, N.Y., beat sixth-seeded Stefan Kozlov, 16, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 for the boys singles title.
   It was the first all-American boys singles final at Wimbledon since Van Winitsky defeated Eliot Teltscher in 1977, and Rubin became the first U.S. boy to win the title since Donald Young in 2007.
   The last all-American girls singles final at Wimbledon was in 1979, when Mary Lou Piatek downed Alycia Moulton of Sacramento. No U.S. girl has won the singles crown since Chanda Rubin in 1992.
   Rubin almost swept the boys titles as he and Russia's Andrey Rublev, seeded first, fell to third-seeded Orlando Luz and Marcelo Zormann of Brazil 6-4, 3-6, 8-6 in the doubles final.  
   Northern California connection -- Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open women's singles champion, is scheduled to make her eighth appearance in the Bank of the West Classic, July 28-Aug. 3 at Stanford. She reached the semifinals in 2009 and 2010. Entries also include Venus and Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova, who won her second Wimbledon title on Saturday. ...
   As a wild card, Rubin lost to second seed and eventual runner-up Tim Smyczek 7-6 (3), 6-0 in the first round of last year's Sacramento Challenger.
   Fast facts -- With 35 meetings, Djokovic and Federer are tied for the third-most in the Open era behind Djokovic-Rafael Nadal (42) and Ivan Lendl-McEnroe (36). However, this was only the second Grand Slam final between Djokovic and Federer. The Swiss star won 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the 2007 U.S. Open. Also, this was the first five-set Wimbledon final since Federer edged Andy Roddick 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 five years ago.
   Quotes -- Djokovic, on Wimbledon: "This is the best tournament in the world, the most valuable one. The first tennis match that I ever (saw), when I was 5 years old, was Wimbledon, and that image stuck (in) my mind."
   Djokovic, on prevailing in the fifth set: "I took a bathroom break after the fourth set and said, 'Believe in yourself.' It's not a cliche. It really works."
   Federer, on pulling out the fourth set: "I can't believe I made it to five. It wasn't looking good there for a while."
   Djokovic, whose fiancee is six-months pregnant, on how he will describe the match to his future child: "I don't know. I'll make sure I have everything on tape, and we'll watch it after a few hours of cartoons."

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