WIMBLEDON, England — Novak Djokovic captured the Wimbledon title for the second time and denied Roger Federer a piece of history on Sunday at the All-England Club.
Djokovic dropped the first set in the blockbuster final and failed to serve it out in the fourth, but recovered to earn a 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-4 victory. He also won the 2011 Wimbledon championship and now has seven career Grand Slam titles.
Federer, meanwhile, was denied an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon crown. The Swiss superstar remains tied with Pete Sampras for the most men’s titles in the Open Era on the famed lawns of the London suburb.
It appeared to be Djokovic’s match for the taking on Sunday after he won the second and third sets, then grabbed a 3-1 lead in the fourth with a break of serve.
There had been just one break in the first three sets, but the floodgates opened in the fourth as the two traded breaks again to make it 4-2. Federer had a chance to make it four straight breaks, opening a 30-15 lead in the next game, but Djokovic recovered and held for a 5-2 advantage.
After an easy Federer hold, Djokovic had a chance to serve for the match. He quickly fell behind and Federer earned a break point, which he converted with a forehand winner after Djokovic fell while chasing the previous shot.
Djokovic, though, picked up a championship point against Federer’s serve, but an ace saved it for the Swiss superstar and he went on to hold to make it 5-5. Federer then broke serve again for a 6-5 edge when he forced Djokovic into a long forehand, and came away with an easy hold in the next game to send the match to a fifth set.
Federer saved three break points in the eighth game of the decider and held to make it 4-4, but Djokovic also held in the next game and earned a second championship point when a Federer forehand went long. A Federer backhand then found the net on the ensuing point to end the nearly four-hour marathon.
“It was a great match,” said Djokovic in an on-court interview afterward with a nod toward Federer. “Thank you for letting me win today.
“I don’t know how I managed to find the energy in the fifth set. This is the tournament I always wanted to win. I’m so grateful to be able to hold this trophy.”
Djokovic had lost his last three Grand Slam finals, falling to Rafael Nadal in the French Open title match last month after runner-up finishes in both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon last year. He lost to Andy Murray in last year’s title match at the All England Club, and is now 7-7 all-time in major finals.
Federer, meanwhile, dropped to 7-2 in Wimbledon finals and remained stuck on 17 career Grand Slam titles. He hasn’t won a major championship since beating Murray in the 2012 final at Wimbledon and is now 17-8 all-time in Grand Slam title matches.
“As you can imagine, I’m very disappointed not being rewarded with victory,” said Federer. “Novak deserved it, but it was extremely close.”