LONDON (AP) — A game away from a third Wimbledon championship and ninth Grand Slam title, Novak Djokovic sized up a 108 mph serve from none other than Roger Federer and stretched to smack a cross-court forehand return winner.
Two points later, Djokovic again took the measure of a serve from Federer, this one at 123 mph, and delivered a down-the-line backhand for another return winner. After this one, Djokovic bellowed.
“I roared because I felt like that’s the moment,” Djokovic would say later. “Now is the time for me to close this match out.”
One forehand winner later, he did. For the second year in a row, Djokovic solved Federer’s superb serve in the final at the All England Club. And for the second year in a row, Federer’s bid for a record eighth championship at the grass-court tournament ended with a defeat against Djokovic.
This time, the match was even as can be through two sets, before the No. 1-seeded Djokovic grabbed ahold of it and wouldn’t let go, beating No. 2 Federer 7-6 (1), 6-7 (10), 6-4, 6-3 Sunday thanks to brilliant returning.
“It feels, obviously, good when you make a return winner out of Roger’s serve on the grass,” Djokovic said, “but it doesn’t happen too often.”
Over the past three seasons, Federer has reached two Grand Slam finals — both at Wimbledon, both against Djokovic, both losses.