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Federer, Murray set for Wimbledon final
Question of the Day
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 now one victory from equaling Pete Sampras’ record of seven titles.
“I have one more match to go. I’m aware of that,” said 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.
“There’s obviously a lot on the line for me in terms of winning here, the all-time Grand Slam record, world No. 1,” Federer said. “I’m also going into that match with some pressure, but I’m excited about it. That’s what I play for.”
“It’s hard to fire bullets the whole time, so you try to also find some range. If he tees off first, it’s hard to defend obviously,” said Federer, now 1-0 against Djokovic on grass. “It’s just not as easy to take that many balls out and come up with amazing shots time and time again. That’s why I kept on attacking.”
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, and put him on the way to the final.
“(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. “So you have to be always consistent. I wasn’t.”
The win improved Federer’s semifinal record at the All England Club to 8-0. His only loss in the final came in 2008, when Rafael Nadal beat him 9-7 in the fifth set.
“I hope I can keep my nerves,” said Federer, looking toward the final. “I’m sure I can. Then hopefully win the match. But we’ll see about that.”
William Renshaw and Arthur Gore also played in eight Wimbledon finals but that was when the defending champion received a bye into the following year’s title match. That rule was changed in 1922. Renshaw won seven titles and Gore three.
By Michael Widlanski
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