Novak Djokovic says: It could have gone either way, there was very little between the two players.
Djokovic beats the top seed
By Roger Childs
Wimbledon is the one grass court grand slam and the results are rarely predictable.
This year’s tournament saw all top ten women’s seeds eliminated before the quarter-finals.
On the men’s side, the 2017 champion, Roger Federer, was beaten in the quarters by big serving Kevin Anderson with the fifth set going to 13-11.
Novak Djokovic has been back from injury this year, but has not made a 2018 final. His semi-final against Rafael Nadal could not be completed on Friday because of the preceding 6 hour plus match between John Isner and Kevin Anderson, which culminated in the South African winning the fifth set 26-24.
The Serb had a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 lead when they resumed their match on Saturday. The fourth set went with serve to 3-3, then Rafa broke Djokovic to go 5-3 up and was serving for the set.
But he lost the first three points and a break-back looked on. However, the great players dig deep under pressure and the Spaniard did just that by winning the next four points.
Then Nadal’s next serve looked like an ace, but the line umpire called it out. Hawkeye overturned the call and the Spaniard was back on even terms.
Absorbing fifth set
The crowd had come for the women’s final, but were getting a thrilling bonus as a lead up. It was a full house at centre court and over 2000 were watching the big screen on the bank outside.
This was a game of high quality with many superb rallies showing the shot power, retrieval skills and supreme fitness of these two fine players. As the interviewer said to Djokovic after the match … you bring out the best in each other.
The player serving first in the fifth set has the advantage because he/she always goes ahead on games if service is held. The other player has to hold serve, especially after 5-5, otherwise they lose the match.
The first 17 games went with service but there were anxious moments for Djokovic in two of them.
- Djokovic down 15-40
- Ace – 30-40
- Nadal nets – 40-40
- At advantage Djokovic hits a tightly angled volley and Nadal just misses the winner.
In the fifteenth game Djokovic was again down 15-40, but clawed his way back to win this crucial game after 5 deuces.
The evenness of the contest showed up in the statistics: at 7-7 -175 points each and 70 winners apiece.
Both players were getting very tired, especially as 5 hours ticked over on the clock.
Finally in the 18th game Nadal unexpectedly lost his serve to love and the Serb was through to his 5th Wimbledon final.
Two tired finalists!
Kevin Anderson has had a day off before Sunday’s final, however he had been on court for over six hours, with half of that time taken up by the 50 game fifth set!
He had also gone five sets against Federer in the quarter finals.
Djokovic wishes he had a day off but as he said …it is what it is.
Both men will be weary and it’s hard to pick a winner. The Serb is the more experienced player and probably the best retriever in the game, however Anderson has a stronger serve and has been steadily improving his ground strokes over the last year. He was in the final at last year’s US Open.
It should be a very good match!