Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will play for the Wimbledon title after they beat two emerging stars of the men’s game in today’s semifinals.
Federer defeated 23-year-old Milos Raonic of Canada, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Centre Court at the All England Club to move to his ninth Wimbledon tennis final.
“It wasn’t easy but I got it done,” 17-time major champion Federer said in a televised interview after he won the match with a service winner. “I had to focus on every point, I had to be careful on my service games and I knew I’d only get a few chances on the returns.”
Djokovic had a more difficult path to his third Wimbledon final in four years as he beat Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (9-7).
“I allowed my opponent to come back into the match, but overall I am glad to be back in another Wimbledon final,” Djokovic said.
Federer, who leads Djokovic 18-16, said he’s looking forward to the July 6 final. He hasn’t won a major since he reduced Andy Murray of Britain to tears in the 2012 Wimbledon championship.
“We always play good matches against each other,” Federer said. “Novak is a great champion who has been around a long time. He is used to these occasions.”
Federer, at 32 the oldest man in the last four, overwhelmed the No. 8 seed from Canada from the start with strong serving and all-court coverage against his 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters) opponent.
Raonic, who had been trying to become the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam tennis final a day after compatriot Eugenie Bouchard advanced to the women’s championship match, dropped his serve at 4-all in all three sets. Federer never got broken and faced only one break point.
“I expect a lot from myself here,” Federer said, after he reached the final having dropped only one set. “I played some great tennis under pressure as well at times,” added the Swiss father of four, who lost in the second round last year.
Djokovic, a six-time major champion, had come to Wimbledon after losing a close four-set final against top-ranked Rafael Nadal at the French Open, the only major that has eluded him. Djokovic, 27, was also beaten by Nadal in the finals of last year’s U.S. Open, and lost to Murray in the 2013 championship match at Wimbledon.
No. 11 seed Dimitrov, 23, had been playing in his first Grand Slam semifinal after he ousted defending men’s champion Murray in straight sets in the quarterfinals. That win came a day after 14-time major singles champion Nadal of Spain was knocked out of the fourth round by Australian wild card entrant Nick Kyrgios, 19.
Watched by his girlfriend, 2004 champion Maria Sharapova, Dimitrov lost the first set in 27 minutes as he got broken early on and Djokovic missed only four first serves.
With Djokovic leading 3-1 in the second set and one point away from a double break, the momentum shifted when Dimitrov produced an ace. It was all Dimitrov after that, winning five straight games as he attacked his opponent’s backhand. Faced with a second set point, Djokovic stopped play to challenge a line call. He was wrong, handing the set to Dimitrov.
Djokovic got so frustrated with his faltering backhand, that he threw his racket high in the air in front of the Royal Box after yet another error mid-way through the third set. Watched by his coach, three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker, Djokovic regained the initiative in the tie-break, taking a 5-2 lead on a double fault. A failed attempt at a backhand drop shot by Dimitrov handed Djokovic four set points, which he converted with a service winner.
Three double faults and a forehand error gave Djokovic an early break in the fourth set, only for the Serb to let Dimitrov off the hook once again by dropping his own serve. Serving to stay in the set at 5-4 down, Djokovic screamed after he saved a set point and held as Dimitrov continued to slip on the baseline.
In the fourth-set tie-break, Djokovic saved three more set points. Dimitrov fended off the first match point with a forehand passing, and then lost the match as a forehand clipped the net.
“He has some quality shots, he has great touch,” Djokovic said. “It’s a great win for me.”