Sun, Jul 06, 2014 - Page 19 News List

‘Generation next’ fail to usurp champs

FEDERER CRUISES:Three 6-4 sets against Canadian Milos Raonic saw the seven-time Wimbledon winner into the final with a shot at being its oldest pro champ

Reuters, LONDON

However, a competitor who had won 10 successive matches on grass was not about to give up his chances of becoming the first Bulgarian to reach a major final without a fight.

He broke back for 2-2, went toe-to-toe for 3-3, 4-4 and at 5-4 held set point in a game where he slid after a Djokovic shot and curled in a sensational forehand winner down the line that left spectators leaping to their feet.

However, the set point disappeared into the bottom of the net.

Three more set points vanished under a blaze of amazing shot-making in the tiebreak as the hollering crowd willed Dimitrov to take the match into a thrilling decider.

Djokovic, though, had witnessed enough nail-biting drama for one day and his ear-splitting celebrations showed just how much winning the tiebreak 9-7 meant to him.

“I was a set and a break up and made some unforced errors that gave my opponent hope that he could win the match,” said Djokovic, who had survived a five-setter against Marin Cilic in the previous round. “That’s something that I definitely cannot allow myself in the final against Roger.

“They have a similar game, so it was good to play a longer match and understand the way I need to prepare for Roger,” added the top seed, who has lost the three major finals he has played since winning the last of his six Slams at the 2013 Australian Open. “I am physically ready and fit to go the distance this time.”

With Djokovic and Federer showing the “next big things” in tennis that they are still clearly second-best — today’s final will be the 38th successive Grand Slam final to feature at least one member — in this case two — of the so called “big four.”

After all the hoopla following the early exits of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, Federer summed up: “Let’s just be honest, it was always going to be hard to get rid of all four guys at the same time.”

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