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By Erik Gudris Photo Credit: Getty Images
Roger Federer Wimbledon
(July 6th, 2012) For all his many accomplishments, one thing Roger Federer had not yet done in his illustrious career was defeat a World No. 1 in a Grand Slam match. But that all changed today as Federer took out defending champion and current No. 1 Novak Djokovic in today's semifinals.

Both men started out not exactly in top gear for the first two sets. At 2-3, Djokovic while chasing a volley slipped up at net giving Federer a break point that Federer converted on thanks to a netted Djokovic backhand. Federer, with the help of five aces, served out the 6-3 set in a very quick 24 minutes.

Djokovic finally got his teeth into the match early in the second set by winning the first real rally that allowed him to break for 2-0. Several love holds of service from the Serbian punctuated with an ace on set point sealed the set for Djokovic 6-3.

The match finally got going in the third set that was initially littered with messy forehand errors from both but then later saw each man win stellar lengthy rallies that each went over 20 shots. Djokovic was tested serving down 2-3 but held after a nine-minute game.

Despite staying with Federer, Djokovic looked subdued through most of the match and was tested frequently on his forehand side, especially when Federer pushed him out wide forcing more errors on that wing from Djokovic than normal. Djokovic missed on his own break point chance at 4-all, but it was Federer who stepped up the aggression at 5-4 as he quickly earned two set points thanks to a blown overhead smash by Djokovic. Federer made no mistake though when he had his own smash to put away as he sealed a two sets to one advantage.

From there, Djokovic couldn't seem to summon enough energy to fight his way back into the match. A string of four errors in a row early in the fourth set from Djokovic gave Federer the early break and from there all Federer had to do was keep holding his serve, something he took care off all day as he served a healthy 71% on the day. Djokovic did fight off going down a double break and forced Federer to serve for the match at 5-3.

The final game got tight as a helpful lucky net cord that just dropped over on Federer's side allowed Djokovic to pull within 30-all, but Federer never looked back as on his first match point, he hit a final serve Djokovic couldn't handle to seal a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

"I'm ecstatic and so happy," said Federer afterwards after reaching his eighth Wimbledon final. "It's been a tough tournament but I was able to play some fantastic tennis today. Third set was key to the match and it was a lot of fun playing out there today."

Murray Endures Tsonga's Test To Reach First Wimbledon Final

It was a contrast in styles in the second men's semifinals as the steady yet speedy No. 4 seed Andy Murray took on the powerful yet always unpredictable No. 5 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France with both men hoping to reach their first ever Wimbledon final.

The initial stages of the first set proved to be a prelude of what the Centre Court spectators would be able to expect during the encounter as it was a steadier Murray who broke Tsonga early after the Frenchman attempted a diving stab at a volley that ended up in the net. Though it was clear Tsonga's strategy was to serve and volley more than usual, a tactic that saw him win nine of fifteen net points, it was Murray's better serving that helped him seal the first set 6-3. 

Murray broke Tsonga's serve at 2-all in the second set and with help by Tsonga's staggering inability to win any points off of his second serve, Murray cruised ahead to a two sets to love advantage. 

Though Tsonga called for a trainer to attend to his sore back during the changeover, it wasn't time for Murray's fans or Great Britain either, hoping to see its first men's finalist in 76 years, to break out the champagne glasses just yet. Murray, perhaps thinking about what might happen, played a very poor service game to give Tsonga an early break in the third set. Tsonga ramped up his attack game, including throwing in some one-handed backhands, to jump out to a 4-1 lead. Despite suffering having Murray rip a shot right at his private areas while he was up at net, Tsonga fought through the pain and closed out the set. 

The battle resumed in the fourth set with Murray ripping a crosscourt forehand to get to 15-40 on Tsonga's serve at 2-1. Tsonga couldn't control a volley down break point and suddenly Murray was up 3-1 and looking good to close out the match. But then Tsonga came to life with a series of whirling backhand winners and diving acrobatics up at net that allowed him to break Murray right back and then even the set at 3-all.

Despite all of his intensity and dramatic shotmaking, including hitting a 140 mph serve, Tsonga could never quite overpower Murray who remained steadfast despite the onslaught from the Frenchman. As a patch of sunlight illuminated a far corner of the court, Murray's chances of closing out the match seemed to brighten as he held serve for 6-5. Though a tiebreak felt inevitable, it was Tsonga who rushed through the opening points of his service game and with a netted forehand volley, he game Murray 15-40 and with it two match points. 

Sensing the moment, and his possible place in history, Murray stepped to his right to receive Tsonga's serve and ripped a crosscourt forehand return that looked like it clipped the line. But the sun and confusion from the linesman forced him to call it wide even though Murray was already walking to the net. Murray challenged and the review proved that indeed his shot had hit its mark giving him a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory to the delight of the crowd and his nation.

Murray now faces Federer for the first time on a grass court and currently leads their overall head to head 8 to 7 lifetime.


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