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Djokovic into first Wimbledon final

London, july 1 (agencies/ians)
Published on 1 Jul. 2011 11:40 PM IST
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Serbia’s Novak Djokovic battled past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach his first Wimbledon final and replace Rafael Nadal at the top of the world rankings. The second seed won 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-7 (11-9) 6-3 in three hours six minutes. Djokovic dominated after edging a tight first set but flashes of brilliance kept the Frenchman alive in the third. Tsonga could not sustain that form, however, and Djokovic held his nerve to set up a clash with Andy Murray or Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s final. The two-time Australian Open winner, who has now lost only one of his last 50 matches, will be aiming to leave SW19 with a third Grand Slam title to go with his new accolade as the world’s top player. He is likely to face a more sustained challenge in the final than he faced from the flamboyant Tsonga, who flitted in and out of their clash mixing moments of acrobatic genius with the sloppiest of mistakes, and making 29 unforced errors in all. The 26-year-old Frenchman, playing in the last four at the All England Club for the first time, made the most of a tense start by Djokovic that saw him broken when he sent a wild forehand flying long. Tsonga survived repeated pressure on his own serve but cracked when he was serving for the set at 5-4, gambling on a 133mph second serve that failed to clear the net and being broken back when he put a forehand wide. More mistakes followed in the tie-break, which Djokovic wrapped up on his second set-point when Tsonga flopped a routine volley into the net. The second set was a one-sided affair, mainly because Tsonga’s first serve deserted him and Djokovic was able to rip into his slower second delivery, breaking twice to go 4-1 up and wrapping it up in only 28 minutes. A rapid conclusion to the match looked likely when Djokovic broke again at the start of the third set but Tsonga, helped by the backing of the Centre Court crowd, soon returned to life. He won three games in a row to go from 2-4 to 5-4 before the pair shared breaks and some thrilling exchanges to take the set to a tie-break. That proved just as tense, with Tsonga denying Djokovic on two match-points with a smash and an ace before he saw out the set on his third set-point when the Serbian went long with a return. Tsonga had fought back from two sets down to beat six-time champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals but his hopes of a repeat were hit when he was broken to love at the start of the first set and soon found himself 1-4 down. There was still time for more moments of brilliance from the world number 19, in particular a lob that helped him hold at 2-5, but he could not stop Djokovic serving out to complete a memorable victory. A delighted Djokovic, who sank to the ground to kiss the Centre Court turf in celebration, told the BBC afterwards: “It is difficult to put it into words but it is one of the best feelings I have ever had on a tennis court. “My dreams are coming true. It will be my first Wimbledon final and I am so happy to be through. Hopefully there will be more celebrations to come.” Meanwhile, India’s Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina of Russia lost to Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovakia 3-6, 1-6 in the women’s doubles semifinal of the Wimbledon tennis championhips Friday. Sania and Rohan Bopanna will later take on Australian Paul Hanley and Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei in the mixed doubles quarterfinal. 

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