Wimbledon men’s final: Novak Djokovic secures first Wimbledon title since 2015 with straight sets victory over Kevin Anderson

15 Jul

Novak Djokovic is a grand slam winner once again after defeating a weary Kevin Anderson to claim his fourth Wimbledon title.

The Serbian has been fighting for two years to restore health, form and confidence after the heights of making it four slam titles in a row at the French Open in 2016.

The two players congratulate each other at the end of the final

His two-day semi-final victory over Rafael Nadal proved he was back to his best and he fought off a comeback from Anderson to win 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7/3), earning him a 13th grand slam trophy.

Anderson, in his first Wimbledon final, had five set points in the third set but could not take any of them.

And Djokovic wrapped up victory after two hours and 19 minutes, pointing his finger at the sky before taking his now customary bite of the Centre Court grass.

Anderson did not even schedule a practice session on Saturday as he battled to recover from the effects of his epic semi-final against John Isner, where he finally overcame the giant American after six hours and 36 minutes.

Djokovic was seeded 12th going into the championships

That came on the back of the four hours and 14 minutes he played to defeat Roger Federer in the match of his life in the quarter-finals, so it seemed inevitable he would not be at his peak.

Djokovic also had to focus on rest and recuperation following his stunning match against Nadal, more than two hours of which were played on Saturday after the 11pm curfew cut them off on Friday night.

But he made the perfect start, reading the Anderson serve immediately and breaking in the opening game when the South African double-faulted.

The crowd, which included Prime Minister Theresa May and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watching from the Royal Box, were desperate to see Anderson at least make a match of it.

Anderson came into the game in the third set

But his physical troubles were evident when he called the trainer at the end of the first set for massage on his right arm, which has done more than its fair share of serving this fortnight.

After last year’s final, when Marin Cilic was heavily beaten by Roger Federer and his own blistered foot, this was shaping up to be another underwhelming occasion, but Anderson was determined not to go down meekly.

The 32-year-old has worked tirelessly to improve his game and has seen the rewards over the last two years, including a first slam final at the US Open last summer and a place in the top 10.

He could not prevent the second set slipping away but Djokovic was no longer having an easy time of it and Anderson ensured he kept his nose in front early in the third set.

Djokovic has 13 Grand Slams to his name

Djokovic was increasingly on the back foot in rallies, and he double-faulted twice to cough up two set points at 4-5 – only to hold his nerve and save them both.

On the first, the crowd roared prematurely when they thought he had missed a forehand, prompting the Serbian to put his finger to his lips and then pump his fist in their direction when he finally held.

It was reminiscent of his third-round win over Kyle Edmund, but this time the crowd reaction was less about bias towards his opponent than in favour of a great contest.

Anderson was certainly doing his best to create that, but three more set points came and went in the next Djokovic service game and they headed into a tie-break, where the Serbian quickly stamped his foot down and did not yield.

Roger Federer out of Wimbledon after throwing away two-set lead, Novak Djokovic safely through to semis-finals

11 Jul

Eight-time champion Roger Federer is out of Wimbledon after losing to Kevin Anderson in an epic five-set encounter on No.1 Court.

The Swiss maestro threw away a two set to love lead to lose 2-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 13-11 against his 6ft 6ins opponent in four hours and 13 minutes.

Federer was uncharacteristically lacklustre in his defeat to Anderson

Federer equalled his own record of 34 consecutive sets won at Wimbledon as he went 2-0 up but was unable to break his own record after dropping the third set.

Anderson, seeded eighth at this year’s championships a, saved three break points before taking the set 7-5.

When Anderson broke again in the fourth, Federer was suddenly on the ropes.

The 20-time grand slam winner lost the set 6-4 as Anderson’s relentless, powerful serve sent the match into a fifth and deciding set.

Anderson will meet John Isner or Milos Raonic in the semi-finals

A marathon final set eventually went the way of Anderson, denying Federer a 13th Wimbledon semi-final and a 44th appearance in the last four of a grand slam.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic ended his near two-year absence from grand slam semi-finals by booking a place in the last four at Wimbledon.

The Serbian beat Kei Nishikori 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-2 to reach his first semi-final at any of the four tennis majors since the US Open in 2016.

Djokovic was ecstatic after the game

After a slump following two years of almost total domination of the men’s game, Djokovic’s star appears to be back on the rise and he is a clear contender to win a fourth Wimbledon title.

This was his 13th win in a row against Nishikori, who is also on the way back up after an injury nightmare.

Djokovic now awaits Rafael Nadal or Juan Martin del Potro and on Friday will contest his first All England Club semi-final since 2015.

The Serbian secured the first set fairly comfortably but he then fell out with umpire Carlos Ramos after complaining of “double standards” when Nishikori was not punished for a racket throw.

Djokovic in action

The Japanese remained in control and served it out to level the match and he appeared in the ascendancy as, after saving a break point, he then raced to a 0-40 lead on Djokovic’s next service game.

But the three-time champion here turned the tables on Nishikori, holding his serve and then breaking in the next game to start a run of four successive games which allowed him to take the third set 6-2.

Djokovic then reeled off four games on the spin which helped send him into the last four.