Djokovic holds off Dimitrov to set up Federer final
Originally published on 04/07/14
On a blustery Centre Court, Djokovic held off a strong challenge from the Bulgarian to come through 6-4 3-6 7-6(2) 7-6(7). He will meet Roger Federer in the final after he beat Milos Raonic 6-4 6-4 6-4.
"Considering I have lost the last couple of Grand Slam finals – and I could have won them all – I’m looking forward to it,” said Djokovic, who has been beaten in his last three major finals. “It will be a big challenge, a big match. Whomever I play, I will have to be on top of my game. I look forward to competing.”
It looked as though a tight semi-final would be going the distance when Dimitrov led 6-3 in the fourth set tie-break. But Djokovic battled back brilliantly to clinch victory and end the Bulgarian’s 10-match winning streak.
“He is a future star, he deserves respect, it was a tough match overall,” said Djokovic. “The fourth set could have gone either way. I started well, was up a set and a break, points for double break. But like I did against [Marin] Cilic [in the quarter-finals], I allowed him to get back in the match. Overall I’m really glad to reach another Wimbledon final.”
The Serb got off to a positive start against the first-time Slam semi-finalist as he made his first 19 serves in a row. He also took the only break point of the opening set in the fifth game and looked largely in control of the contest.
An early break in the second allowed Djokovic to open up a 3-1 lead but Dimitrov breathed life into his challenge by reeling off the next five games in a row. The Bulgarian’s determination to chase down every ball started to frustrate the top seed, but he saved the only break point in the third set and then dominated the tie-break to take the lead again.
When Dimitrov double faulted three times in a row to hand Djokovic a break in the fourth it looked as though that might be the end of his challenge. But the Queen’s champion showed brilliant character to fight back and add to Djokovic’s frustrations with a series of excellent shots. Unfortunately for Dimitrov he failed to take a set point at 5-4 and then blew his chance in the tie-break from 6-3 up as Djokovic came roaring back to book his place in the final.
The top seed now has even bigger challenge in front of him in the shape of Federer, who was yet again in fantastic form to see off Raonic. A break in the opening game gave the seven-time champion the perfect start and he never looked like losing his advantage as he closed out the set.
The second set stayed on serve until the ninth game when Federer again grabbed a break to take complete control of the match. The Swiss, who has only been broken once this tournament, rarely looked troubled on serve and he won the last two games of the match to seal victory. The win means he will move back up to world No.3 for the first time since June 2013.