Sublime Federer too good for Murray, reaches 10th Wimbledon final
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer played the kind of sublime, near-perfect tennis that has brought him 17 Grand Slam titles to beat Andy Murray in straight sets on Friday to advance to his 10th Wimbledon final and put him within one victory of a record eighth title at The All England Club.Updated: Jul 11, 2015 17:20 IST
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer played the kind of sublime, near-perfect tennis that has brought him 17 Grand Slam titles to beat Andy Murray in straight sets on Friday to advance to his 10th Wimbledon final and put him within one victory of a record eighth title at The All England Club.
Riding a dominant serve that produced 20 aces, keeping relentless pressure on Murray with his returns, and breaking at the end of each set, Federer put on a grass-court masterclass to outclass his British rival 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.
"I played so well on the biggest occasion today, and that's probably why I got it," Federer said.
The win sent Federer into his 26th Grand Slam final, where he will face defending champion Novak Djokovic in Sunday's championship match, in a rematch of last year's final. The top-ranked Serb beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4 to advance to his fourth final in five years.
It will be a repeat of last year's final, won by Djokovic in five sets.
"Novak's been the best player for a few years now," Federer said. "He's made it extremely difficult for the guys to win big tournaments. ... I know how I can beat him, but this is a different occasion. We've both been there before. I really hope I can get this one on Sunday."
Federer, who extended his record in Wimbledon semi-finals to 10-0, is the oldest man to reach the final since Ken Rosewall finished runner-up in 1974 at the age of 39. If he can beat Djokovic, Federer will become first man to win eight Wimbledon titles. In 2012, he tied Pete Sampras and 1880s player William Renshaw with seven.
If anyone thought the 33-year-old Federer was past his prime, Friday's match against Murray dispelled any of those thoughts. The second-seeded Swiss served as well as he ever has, saving one break point in the opening game of the match and never facing another the rest of the way against one of the best returners in the game. Federer won 70 of 81 points on serve and, after the first game, was taken to deuce only once on serve.
"I've been serving very well for the entire tournament," said Federer, who has been broken only once, by Gilles Simon in the quarterfinals, ending a streak of 116 service holds in a row going back to the warm-up tournament in Halle, Germany.
On Friday, Federer smacked untouchable serves of 125 mph, but also took off the pace and hit the lines with well-placed deliveries. At the same time, he flicked back Murray's 130 mph deliveries with quick reflex returns to keep his opponent guessing. When Murray put in second serves in the 80s, Federer stepped in and knocked off return winners.
"I kept the pressure up," Federer said. "I went for my shots and I was able to mix it up like the way I usually do. Then again I kept pushing forward."
He piled up 56 winners and had only 11 unforced errors, compared to 35 winners and 17 unforced errors for Murray. Federer extended his career record against Murray to 13-11, including 5-1 in Grand Slams.
This was the first time they've met at Wimbledon since 2012, when Federer beat Murray in the final and the Briton won in straight sets a few weeks later on Centre Court in the Olympic final.
The match featured a thrilling, 15-minute game near the end of the second set with Murray serving at 5-4 down. Murray fell behind love-40, but saved a total of five set points as the game went to deuce seven times and included furious corner-to-corner rallies. Murray finally held with a 129 mph ace.
"I was screaming inside of myself," Federer said.
But he didn't blink, holding serve in the next game at love for 6-5, then breaking to take a two-set lead. "It was a tough 20 minutes there but probably the key to the match anyway," Federer said.
Earlier, Djokovic overcame an early barrage of single-handed backhand winners from Gasquet, produced big serves at crucial times, and pulled away to win in straight sets. "It was a very good performance, considering the occasion," Djokovic said.
Djokovic was twice treated by a trainer on his left shoulder near the end of the second set, but showed no sign of injury as he dominated the third set to reach his 17th Grand Slam final.
"It's nothing that worries me, honestly," Djokovic said. "It'll be fine for the next match."
First Published: Jul 11, 2015 00:36 IST