ATP tennis veterans, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will meet in the final of Wimbledon after winning their respective semifinal matches. It is their 35th meeting and 10th in a final, with Federer holding the edge at 18-16. Six time grand slam champion Djokovic held off young Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, while Swiss maestro Federer put away rising Canadian youngster Milos Roanic.
When 23-year-old Dimitrov thrashed defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in the quarter finals 6-1, 7-6, 6-2, the buzz surrounding his ascent was getting loud. Meeting for just the fifth time, with Djokovic holding the edge 3-1, the young challenger had a tall order. Despite his victory over Murray, in which the Briton simply did not show up, Dimitrov had a very good draw to the semifinals, facing only one firm challenge in Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, the 21st seed.
Djokovic was not at his best in his Wimbledon semifinal clash against the young shot maker, but being the caliber of player that he is, simply outclassed his younger opponent. With all the use of the grass courts, they are well worn and slippery. Dimitrov was hungry to get to his first grand slam final, and the commentators were in stiches as he slipped all over the court. He certainly had his chances, but in the end Djokovic’s poise and experience made all the difference as he reeled in the young gun 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6.
Meanwhile veteran Federer had a much for straightforward Wimbledon semifinal when he trounced Roanic in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. It was a good match with very little separating the two, but Federer was just better when it counted, and Roanic did not seem to have that extra gear needed to take the veteran down. Federer’s run to the semifinal was relatively easy despite facing Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals. Wawrinka seemed to have peaked in Australia, and does not appear to have the same rich vein of form he enjoyed when winning his lone grand slam earlier this year.
Federer on the other hand has always played at a high level, and his run to the semifinals is not necessarily indicative of his quality of play as compared to other tournaments this year. Despite being in his ninth Wimbledon final, the 32-yea-old veteran will have to defeat arguably the best player in the world in Djokovic. Despite holding a winning record against the Serbian, they trade blows like boxers, and have exchanged defeats to each other consistently in the past 18 months. In 2012, Federer defeated the Serbian in the semifinal of Wimbledon, but time can change everything.
In reaching his third Wimbledon final, Djokovic will have to face seven-time champion and fellow veteran Roger Federer after they each held back young guns battling for their first grand slam finals. Despite the “Big Four” being spoken of like a thing of the past, two of its members are again in a grand slam final. Predictions on the Wimbledon final would have to give the victory to Djokovic in four sets.
Commentary by John Benjamin Wilson