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Federer tops Murray for 10th Wimbledon final; Djokovic next

Roger Federer of Switzerland beat Andy Murray of Britain in straight sets in Wimbledon semi. (Associated Press)
Roger Federer of Switzerland beat Andy Murray of Britain in straight sets in Wimbledon semi. (Associated Press)
Howard Fendrich Associated Press

LONDON – If Roger Federer was going to allow Andy Murray to gain a foothold in the Wimbledon semifinals, this seemed as if it might be the moment.

Murray delivered a 129 mph ace to pull out an epic seven-deuce, 15-minute game, saving five set points along the way, to get to 5-all in the second set. As he strutted near the Centre Court stands, shaking his fist and roaring, spectators loudly saluted the effort with a standing ovation.

“I,” Federer would say later, “was screaming inside.”

Was Murray suddenly making a match of it? Swinging the momentum his way? Not against Federer. Not on this day. Displaying the impeccable serving he produced all match – indeed, all fortnight – Federer held at love right away, then broke Murray in the next game. And that, essentially, was that.

Federer’s 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 victory Friday, built by taking 70 of 91 points he served and breaking Murray in the last game of each set, moved him into his 10th Wimbledon final. One more win would make Federer the first man with eight titles at The Championships, as the grass-court tournament first held in 1877 is known around these parts.

“Doesn’t matter whether it’s No. 8 or No. 1,” Federer said, “Wimbledon finals is always a big occasion.”

On Sunday, the No. 2-seeded Federer faces No. 1 Novak Djokovic in a rematch of last year’s final. Djokovic won that one in five sets to keep Federer stuck on seven trophies at the All England Club, tied with Pete Sampras and 1880s player Willie Renshaw, and a record 17 Grand Slam trophies overall.

Djokovic, who also won Wimbledon in 2011 and owns eight major titles, advanced by beating No. 21 Richard Gasquet 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4.

Nine of Gasquet’s first 10 winners came via his smooth, one-handed backhand, but that stroke eventually let him down. At 2-all in the tiebreaker, Gasquet’s backhand sailed long, and he wouldn’t take another point in the set. When he was broken right away to begin the second, any suspense about who would win dissipated.

About the only intrigue concerned Djokovic’s left shoulder, which was massaged by a trainer during second-set changeovers.

“It’ll be fine for the next match,” Djokovic said.

After reaching his fourth Wimbledon final in five years, Djokovic called Federer “the greatest player of all time on grass courts, and maybe greatest player of all time.”

Sure looked that way against No. 3 Murray, who lost to Federer in the 2012 Wimbledon final but beat him a few weeks later for gold at the London Olympics.

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