Djokovic outlasts Federer for second Wimbledon title
Novak Djokovic dug deep to see off Roger Federer in an epic five-set final on Centre Court, claiming his second Wimbledon title and denying the Swiss his chance to make history.
Federer was on the brink of defeat at 5-2 down in the fourth set before saving a Championship point and forcing a decider as he kept alive his hopes of winning what would have been a record eighth SW19 crown.
However, Djokovic was not to be denied. Having lost his last two grand slam finals, and five of his last six overall, Djokovic battled through to win 6-7(7) 6-4 7-6(4) 5-7 6-4 in four minutes shy of four hours.
In securing his seventh grand slam title - which brackets him with the likes of John McEnroe, Mats Wilander and John Newcombe - Djokovic ensured he will return to No.1 in the world rankings.
For now, Federer remains stuck on 17 major titles and it seems unlikely the 32-year-old will get a better chance to add to the number.
After Federer took the first set on a tie-breaker, Djokovic battled back to take the next two sets and edge in front.
The Serb looked to be home and dry at 5-2 in the fourth set and even had Championship point at 5-4. However, Federer bailed himself out in style with an ace down the middle that was proved correct by Hawk-Eye.
With the Centre Court crowd abandoning all pretense of neutrality as they chanted "Roger, Roger, Roger", Federer then took his second of three break points and held for his fifth game on the spin to send the match into a decider.
Federer had won three previous Wimbledon finals in three sets - in 2007, 2008 and 2009 - though the last time someone had saved Championship points in the men's Wimbledon singles final and gone on to win the title was 1948.
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That record will go on, however. Djokovic pounced in the 10th game of the fifth set, after both men had wasted numerous break points, to finally end Federer's challenge for an 18th grand slam title.
With neither man broken in in the first set, Djokovic blew two set points in the tie-breaker before Federer wrapped it up at 9-7.
After a slip in the first game of the second set, Djokovic rebounded to take a 2-1 lead with Federer broken for just the second time in the tournament. The trainer then arrived to attend to Djokovic, who closed out the set to level the match.
The third set played out on serve and headed for another tie-breaker. This time, Djokovic learned from his mistakes and put away his first set point to take it 7-4 and claim a two-sets-to-one lead.
After just one break of serve in three sets, the Centre Court crowd were treated to five in the fourth set. Djokovic took his fourth break point to lead 3-1 but Federer pegged him back immediately. A third consecutive break of service put Djokovic 4-2 up and he held to move a game from the title.
Federer, on the brink of defeat, secured a vital hold with Djokovic then serving for the Championship. However, Federer kept his hopes alive by breaking once again to trail 5-4. The Swiss then saved a Championship point at 40-30 with an ace down the middle and held for 5-5.
Djokovic then began to fall apart, offering up three break points for Federer. He managed to save two before going long, and Federer - backed by a vociferous Centre Court crowd - duly held to take the game to five sets.
On serve at 3-3 in the fifth, Federer wasted a break point as Djokovic ground out an incredibly important hold. Federer then handed Djokovic two chances to break. His return from Federer's serve struck the net-cord but landed agonisingly on his side of the net, before Federer charged forward to pick his spot and bring it to deuce.
With Federer coming forward again, Djokovic picked him off with a backhand winner down the line for another break point only to be bested in a tense rally at the net. He went on to hold for 4-4.
Another Djokovic hold forced Federer to serve to stay in the match and a shanked backhand handed the Serb 0-30. Djokovic went on to take his second Championship point.