WIMBLEDON, England – For Roger Federer, it’s Wimbledon final No. 8.
For Andy Murray, it’s No. 1 – and the first for a British man since 1938.
Federer, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, beat defending champion Novak Djokovic, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, Friday under the closed roof at Centre Court to reach a modern-era record eighth final at the All England Club. He is one win from equaling Pete Sampras’ record of seven titles.
“I have one more match to go. I’m aware of that,” said the 30-year-old Federer, who is 6-1 in Wimbledon finals. “Still, it’s always nice beating someone like Novak, who has done so well here last year, the last couple years.”
The next challenge will come Sunday against Murray, who is the first British man to even reach the Wimbledon final since Bunny Austin 74 years ago. Murray, also trying to become the British man to win the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936, beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, in the second semifinal.
If Federer wins, he would also take the No. 1 ranking from Djokovic and equal Sampras’ record of 286 weeks as the top-ranked player.
Federer and Djokovic went for winners on almost every point. But it was Federer who got the key points when they mattered in the third set.
At 4-4, Djokovic had his chance with only his third break point of the match. Federer held with three service winners.
Moments later, while serving to stay in the set – and, essentially, the match – Djokovic gifted Federer a pair of break points by blasting an overhead long with much of the court open. He saved one, but Federer’s overhead smash on the second gave the Swiss great the third set.
“(I) had unfortunately a bad service game on 5-4, and obviously he uses his opportunities when they’re presented,” said Djokovic, who had reached the last four major finals.
Murray later played Tsonga under an open roof on Centre Court, and under intense pressure to succeed in front of the British public.
“Big relief,” Murray said.
Murray got off to a fast start, serving well and winning the first two sets easily. And after losing the second, he hung on in the fourth, breaking in the final game with a forehand return winner.
Murray, 25, was playing in the Wimbledon semifinals for the fourth straight year. On Sunday he’ll be facing an opponent who beat him in straight sets in the 2008 U.S. Open final and the 2010 Australian Open final.
SERENA WILL BE BUSY
Serena Williams will be playing for two Wimbledon titles today after she teamed with sister Venus to reach the doubles final.
The Williams sisters struggled with their serves in the first set Friday but recovered to beat American duo of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Serena will play Agnieszka Radwanska in the singles final as she looks for her fifth Wimbledon title. A few hours after that, the Williams sisters will to go for their fifth doubles title in doubles – against Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
On the men’s side, defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan of the U.S. were knocked out by Jonathan Marray of Britain and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark, 6-4, 7-6 (9), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5).
They’ll play Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Horia Tecau of Romania, who lost in the final the last two years.