Novak Djokovic beats Roger Federer in five-set thriller to win fifth Wimbledon title

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In one of the most dramatic matches the All England Club has ever witnessed, Djokovic defied a crowd screaming for his opponent by becoming the first player to win a singles match on a deciding tie-break.

Djokovic had saved two match points when Federer served for victory at 8-7 in the deciding set and went on to take it 7-6 (5) 1-6 7-6 (4) 4-6 13-12 (3) after four hours and 57 minutes.

Djokovic had saved two match points when Federer served for victory at 8-7 in the deciding set and went on to take it 7-6 (5) 1-6 7-6 (4) 4-6 13-12 (3) after four hours and 57 minutes.

Federer had hoped to follow up his emotional semi-final victory over Rafael Nadal by completing the double over his other great rival for the first time at a grand slam and fought back well having twice been a set down but this will be one of his most painful losses.

Djokovic has now won four out of the last five major tournaments, taking his overall tally to 16 and making Federer’s record of 20 seem ever more within reach.

The historical importance was a key theme of this final, with 37-year-old Federer staring at perhaps his last chance to put further distance between himself and his younger rivals.

Nadal is only two adrift and showing no sign of letting his iron grip on the French Open slip, while Djokovic has been open about the fact he is playing for history.

That perhaps played a part in this strange match, which rarely hit the heights in terms of sustained quality yet had enough plot twists for a feature-length thriller, even before its extraordinary deciding set.

Federer was the better player for all of the first four sets, with Djokovic’s game strangely off colour apart from his serve, but played two poor tie-breaks either side of a set that his opponent barely turned up for.

The fifth set was scarcely describable, finally ending in the 25th game when Federer, who had been chasing a ninth title, framed a forehand into the crowd.

The tie-break at 12-12 was introduced following last year’s epic semi-final between John Isner and Kevin Anderson yet had not been used in a singles match until this contest.

After 47 previous matches, 25 of them won by Djokovic, there were no secrets between these two and the first set was fascinating to watch as Federer sought to take his opponent out of his baseline comfort zone.

Federer, who had not beaten his rival since 2015, used the short backhand slice to pull Djokovic forward, mixed up the pace and threw in a number of drop shots.

He had a break point in the third game, and was two points from the set at 4-5, 0-30 but could not take either chance.

Errors then cost Federer after he turned a 1-3 deficit in the tie-break into a 5-3 lead, a mistimed backhand dropping into the tramlines on Djokovic’s first set point.

It must have been a painful set to lose for the Swiss but in double-quick time he was level at one-set all after an uncharacteristic mental lapse from his opponent.

A slip behind the baseline in the opening game perhaps unsettled Djokovic, who appeared to decide not to expend any unnecessary energy after going two breaks behind.

The most unexpected factor was how poorly Djokovic was returning but he somehow stayed with Federer through the third set.

He created one set point in the 10th game with a glorious half-volley but Djokovic’s serve – the one part of his game that was working well – bailed him out.

The Serbian was beginning to look very frustrated but he forced another tie-break and again it was Federer who unexpectedly crumbled.

Given Federer had never won a five-set match against Djokovic, that left him with a serious mountain to climb, but, just when it seemed he might finally be taking control, his level dropped again and Federer surged into a 5-2 lead.

Djokovic finally forced a break point, and converted it, to give himself a chance of rescuing the situation but Federer served out the set at the second opportunity, the partisan crowd roaring their approval.

History still said Djokovic was the favourite and, after Federer saved three break points in the third game of the decider, he made the breakthrough to lead 4-2.

But he could not cement it and on the match went, the tension growing with each point.

Djokovic was in trouble at 5-5, 15-30 but produced a diving volley winner, then Federer was two points from defeat three times in the next game but held on.

Federer, who turns 38 next month, looked to have made the crucial breakthrough when a forehand pass gave him an 8-7 lead and the chance to serve for the match.

His serve carried him to 40-15 but he netted a routine forehand on the first chance and was then passed by Djokovic, who went on to break back.

The world number one saved two more break points at 11-11 and that proved to be Federer’s final chance as Djokovic surged ahead in the tie-break and this time there was no way back.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer reaction

Novak Djokovic

“I’m just obviously thrilled and overjoyed with emotions to be sitting here in front of you as a winner. It was one shot away from losing the match. This match had everything. It could have gone easily his way.

“In these kind of moments, I just try to never lose self-belief, just stay calm, just focus on trying to get the ball back, return, which wasn’t serving me very well today. But, in the most important moments, all three tie-breaks I guess, I found my best game.”

Roger Federer

“I will try to forget this final but it was a great match! It was long and had everything. I had my chances, but so did he. I have to be happy with my performance. But Novak, congratulations, that was crazy.

“I hope I give some other people a chance to believe around the world. I gave it all I had and I can still stand. I hope the same can be said for all the other 37-year-olds.

“My children won’t be excited with the plate, they would be more excited with that golden thing. But it is all good, back to being a dad and a husband.”

Grand Slam finals breakdown

Australian Open

  • Djokovic’s seven titles: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019
    Runner-Up: N/A
  • Federer’s six titles: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018
    Runner-Up: 2009

French Open

  • Djokovic’s one title: 2016
    Runner-Up: 2012, 2014, 2015
  • Federer’s one title: 2009
    Runner-Up: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011

Wimbledon

  • Djokovic’s five titles: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019
    Runner-Up: 2013
  • Federer’s eight titles: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017
    Runner-Up: 2008, 2014, 2015, 2019

US Open

  • Djokovic’s three titles: 2011, 2015, 2018
    Runner-Up: 2017, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016
  • Federer’s five titles: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Runner-Up: 2009, 2015
  • Wimbledon Finals: Five Other Classics

    1980 – Bjorn Borg beat John McEnroe 1-6 7-5 6-3 6-7 (16) 8-6

    With Borg going for his fifth successive Wimbledon crown, 21-year-old McEnroe raced into an early lead, but seemed to be out of juice when the Swede came steaming back at him claiming the next two sets with a minimum of fuss. McEnroe forced a mammoth tie-breaker in the fourth, in which the left-hander saved five match points before finally prevailing 18-16. A tiring McEnroe scrapped through set five, but Borg finally broke him in game 14 to seal a truly epic victory.

    2001 – Goran Ivanisevic beat Pat Rafter 6-3 3-6 6-3 2-6 9-7

    The people’s final was the first to begin on the third Monday after rain had disrupted the Championships and ended as one of the great sporting fairytales as two-time runner-up Ivanisevic, handed a wild card to get in the tournament, finally won it. In front of an unusually raucous Centre Court crowd the players rose to the occasion as the Croatian claimed an epic fifth to ensure he would not be remembered as one of the sport’s nearly men.

    2007: Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 7-6 (7) 4-6 7-6 (3) 2-6 6-2

    Federer was made to work all the way to equal Borg’s five straight titles at the All England Club against his main rival. The Swiss took the first and third sets on a tie-break, but Nadal sent it to a decider with two breaks in the fourth. Federer fended off break points in the fifth, but took his game to another level to claim his fifth crown.

    2008: Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-7 (8) 9-7

    Nadal finally recorded his first Wimbledon title in a match that somehow topped even the previous year’s drama. With rain delays prolonging the contest over the course of seven hours, Federer had to come back from two sets down to take it to a fifth via a pair of tie-breaks but the tables turned in Nadal’s favour when he needed it the most. It took until 9-7 in the final set but a new Wimbledon champion was finally crowned after what McEnroe described as “the greatest match ever played”.

  • 2014 – Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 6-7 (7) 6-4 7-6 (4) 5-7 6-4

    Federer had looked invincible on his way to the final but found himself 2-1 down and facing Championship point at 2-5 in the fourth. Somehow the Swiss broke serve twice to win the next five games and level the match, only for Djokovic to prevail in the decider with a single break.

    Djokovic v Federer: Full past results

    • 2006 Monte-Carlo Masters, Clay, Round of 64
      Federer 6–3, 2–6, 6–3
    • 2006 Davis Cup Davis Cup, Hard
      Federer 6–3, 6–2, 6–3
    • 2007 Australian Open, Hard, Round of 16
      Federer 6–2, 7–5, 6–3
    • 2007 Dubai Championships, Hars, QFs
      Federer 6–3, 6–7(6–8), 6–3
    • 2007 Canadian Open, Hard, Final
      Djokovic 7–6(7–2), 2–6, 7–6(7–2)
    • 2007 US Open, Hard, Final
      Federer 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–2), 6–4
    • 2008 Australian Open, Hard, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 7–5, 6–3, 7–6(7–5)
    • 2008 Monte-Carlo Masters, Clay
      Semi-Final Federer 6–3, 3–2 RET
    • 2008 US Open, Hard, Semi-Final
      Federer 6–3, 5–7, 7–5, 6–2
    • 2009 Miami Open, Hard, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 3–6, 6–2, 6–3
    • 2009 Italian Open, Clay, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 4–6, 6–3, 6–3
    • 2009 Cincinnati Masters, Hard, Final
      Federer 6–1, 7–5
    • 2009 US Open, Hard, Semi-Final
      Federer 7–6(7–3), 7–5, 7–5
    • 2009 Swiss Indoors, Hard, Final
      Djokovic 6–4, 4–6, 6–2
    • 2010 Canadian Open, Hard, Semi-Final
      Federer 6–1, 3–6, 7–5
    • .2010 US Open, Hard, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 5–7, 6–1, 5–7, 6–2, 7–5
    • 2010 Shanghai Masters, Hard, Semi-Final
      Federer 7–5, 6–4
    • 2010 Swiss Indoors, Hard, Final
      Federer 6–4, 3–6, 6–1
    • 2010 ATP World Tour Final s, Hard, Semi-Final
      Federer 6–1, 6–4
    • 2011 Australian Open, Hard, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 7–6(7–3), 7–5, 6–4
    • 2011 Dubai Championships, Hard, Final
      Djokovic 6–3, 6–3
    • 2011 Indian Wells Masters, Hard, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 6–3, 3–6, 6–2
    • 2011 French Open, Clay, Semi-Final
      Federer 7–6(7–5), 6–3, 3–6, 7–6(7–5)
    • 2011 US Open, Hard, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 6–7(7–9), 4–6, 6–3, 6–2, 7–5
    • 2012 Italian Open, Clay, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 6–2, 7–6(7–4)
    • 2012 French Open, Clay, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 6–4, 7–5, 6–3
    • 2012 Wimbledon, Grass, Semi-Final
      Federer 6–3, 3–6, 6–4, 6–3
    • 2012 Cincinnati Masters, Hard, Final
      Federer 6–0, 7–6(9–7)
    • 2012 ATP World Tour Finals, Hard, Final
      Djokovic 7–6(8–6), 7–5
    • 2013 Paris Masters, Hard, Semi-Final Djokovic 4–6, 6–3, 6–2
    • 2013 ATP World Tour Finals, Hard, Round Robin
      Djokovic 6–4, 6–7(2–7), 6–2
    • 2014 Dubai Championships, Hard, Semi-Final
      Federer 3–6, 6–3, 6–2
    • 2014 Indian Wells Masters, Hard, Final
      Djokovic 3–6, 6–3, 7–6(7–3)
    • 2014 Monte-Carlo Masters, Clay, Semi-Final
      Federer 7–5, 6–2
    • 2014 Wimbledon, Grass, Final
      Djokovic 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 7–6(7–4), 5–7, 6–4
    • 2014 Shanghai Masters, Hard, Semi-Final
      Federer 6–4, 6–4
    • 2014 ATP World Tour Final s, Hard, Final
      DjokovicWalkover (Doesn’t count in H2H record)
    • 2015 Dubai Championships, Hard, Final
      Federer 6–3, 7–5
    • 2015 Indian Wells Masters, Hard, Final
      Djokovic 6–3, 6–7(5–7), 6–2
    • 2015 Italian Open, Clay, Final
      Djokovic 6–4, 6–3
    • 2015 Wimbledon, Grass, Final
      Djokovic 7–6(7–1), 6–7(10–12), 6–4, 6–3
    • 2015 Cincinnati Masters, Hard, Final
      Federer 7–6(7–1), 6–3
    • 2015 US Open, Hard, Final
      Djokovic 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, 6–4
    • 2015 ATP World Tour Finals, Hard, Round Robin
      Federer 7–5, 6–2
    • 2015 ATP World Tour Finals, Hard, Final
      Djokovic 6–3, 6–4
    • 2016 Australian Open, Hard, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 6–1, 6–2, 3–6, 6–3
    • 2018 Cincinnati Masters, Hard, Final
      Djokovic 6–4, 6–4
    • 2018 Paris Masters, Hard, Semi-Final
      Djokovic 7–6(8–6), 5–7, 7–6(7–3)

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