Novak Djokovic beats Grigor Dimitrov in four sets to reach third Wimbledon final
Last Updated: 04/07/14 11:17pm
Top seed Novak Djokovic beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7/2) 7-6 (9/7) to reach his third Wimbledon final.
The Serb, who lost to Andy Murray in the final 12 months ago, beat the Scot's conqueror in this year's tournament as he ended Dimitrov's impressive run at SW19.
Djokovic looked to be course for a comfortable victory as he efficiently closed out the first set with a single break before moving 3-1 ahead in the second.
However, Dimitrov, who had started nervously, clawed back the break and then grew into the contest, reeling off five straight games to level the match.
The Bulgarian then had chances in the next two sets - especially the fourth in which he spurned a total of four set points - but could not hold off his resilient opponent who came through in two tie-breaks to reach his 14th Grand Slam final.
Djokovic certainly bossed the early exchanges as a gusty breeze, and no doubt plenty of nerves, combined to leave Dimitrov looking like he was running in treacle at times - the 11th seed also throwing in numerous unforced errors.
But, a set and a break down, Dimitrov saved another break point with an ace and then ensured the momentum shifted completely when he broke back to level at 3-3 a game later when Djokovic netted a backhand.
Clearly rattled, the Serb could not turn the tide back his way, and the lack of clarity in his thinking was demonstrated when, on set point, he chose to stop the rally and challenge a ball that was shown to be in.
Both men knew the importance of the third set but there was no doubt Dimitrov, the novice semi-finalist, looked much more comfortable.
Djokovic had been slipping a lot on the worn grass and changed shoes after the fifth game, but his foothold in the match remained far from secure.
At 3-3 he faced the first break point of the set and was very fortunate to save it, scrambling Dimitrov's fizzing return just over the net with an unconvincing backhand.
The third-set tie-break was a crucial moment in the match but Dimitrov never threatened to make it close, and it got worse for the young Bulgarian when he double-faulted three times in a row to hand Djokovic a break in the third game of the fourth set.
But Djokovic did not make him pay, handing the break straight back and he had to fight off three break points in his next service game.
Dimitrov still firmly believed the match was there for the taking and brought up a set point at 5-4 with a volley at full stretch that caught the edge of the line.
He pumped his fist but could only net the return on the next point and Djokovic roared long and loud when he clinched the game to level at 5-5.
The top seed was on the ropes again in the tie-break when Dimitrov brought up three more set points at 6-3 in front, but he could not take any of them.
A first match point came and went for Djokovic, but on his second opportunity a Dimitrov volley set up the chance for a cross-court forehand winner and he took it, with a little help from the net.