Four hours and 57 minutes later, Novak Djokovic outlasts Roger Federer to win fifth Wimbledon title
The longest final in Wimbledon history, first time the title has been decided under the new fifth-set tie-breaker rule, drama from start to finish, but in the end there could only be one winner and that winner was Novak Djokovic.
The word epic is often overused when tennis matches go the distances, but for once that word is appropriate as Djokovic and Roger Federer slugged it out for four hours and 57 minutes on Centre Court on Sunday.
The final score was 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 13-12 (7-3) with so many twists and turns.
Unbelievable. Unshakeable. Unstoppable.@DjokerNole wins his fifth #Wimbledon title in an instant classic, defeating Roger Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) #JoinTheStory pic.twitter.com/S2Mx1yyJ3M
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 14, 2019
At the age of 37, Federer is never going to be able to challenge Djokovic when it came to covering ground, but he more than made up for it with his experience and tactics.
The Swiss Maestro looked to be in charge of the first set as he made all the play, but the world No 1 held firm and it went to the tie-breaker and suddenly the momentum shifted early with a mini break for the Serb.
Federer, though, had his moments as he broke back and then led 5-3, but Djokovic came charging back and won the set.
The omens were against Federer as his record against Djokovic was not good after going down a set.
Of the 19 times Roger Federer has dropped the first set against Novak Djokovic, he’s come back to win only once…
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 14, 2019
But the comeback was brutal as Federer dispatched him 6-1 in the second set. Sure, the Serb was misfiring, but the pressure from the other hand was often too hot to handle as Federer broke three times.
Having conserved his energy during the latter stages of the second set, Djokovic was more than up to it again in the third set as he slugged it out with the Swiss Master again.
Federer produced the classy shots, but Djokovic continued to chase down every ball and saved a set point in game 10 as it eventually went to the tie-breaker.
Again Federer shanked the first point in the tie-breaker and never really recovered from two mini breaks and suddenly the Serb was two sets to one up.
And so to a fourth set it went and much like the second, Federer came out hard and the break eventually came in game five and then he got the security of a second break two games later to go 5-2 up.
He needed that second break as Djokovic hit back immediately, but finally got the job done at the second time of asking as he served it out.
Both were visibly starting to feel the effects of spending more than three hours on court and there were glimpses for both to break early on before world No 1 finally made the most of some loose Federer shots to go 4-2 up.
Instead of making it 5-3, it was 4-3 as Federer upped the ante to hit back immediately. And he had another look-in in the next game at 15-30, but missed a forehand and it was 4-4 in the blink of an eye.
And so to 7-7 we went and suddenly Djokovic misfired again and Federer had a break point and a cross-court winner meant he had the chance to serve it out.
It wasn’t going to be so easy, was it? Federer found himself with two Championship points, but the Serb was all over him after that and we were back on level terms.
To the new fifth-set tie-breaker it went and again Djokovic got an early mini-break and he made no mistake on his second Championship point to secure his fifth Wimbledon title and move to 16 Grand Slam titles.
His latest major puts him four adrift of Federer and two behind Rafael Nadal.
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