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Federer, Djokovic withstand new guard: Best of Day 11

Grigor Dimitrov and Novak Djokovic both fall to the ground on Centre Court
by Nicholas McCarvel
Friday 4 July 2014

The “new guard” will have to wait just a little longer.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer turned away two opponents christened as part of the next generation in men’s tennis in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Friday, setting up their first Grand Slam final against one another since 2007.  

Match of the Day: [1] Novak Djokovic d [11] Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(7)
This one could have easily gone five sets. Djokovic was an unpredictable mix of results on Friday, the 2011 champion leading by a break in both the second and fourth sets only to allow said leads to slip away.

But the six-time Grand Slam champion booked his place in a third Wimbledon final, saving three set points against Dimitrov in the fourth set tie-break and finishing the match with a forehand passing shot. Djokovic was testy at times, often slipping on the Centre Court lawn in the match and looking unsettled.

He’ll try to turn around a skid of late in major finals, having lost five out of his last six, dating back to the 2012 French Open.

“Losing [that many] Grand Slam finals, it cannot be satisfying,” Djokovic said. “But I know that I can win the title... It's mental in the end of the day. Things have to come together for you to win a Grand Slam. That's why not so many players throughout the history have done that.” 

Honorary Match of the Day: [4] Roger Federer d [8] Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Welcome back to the future, Roger Federer. The seven-time Wimbledon champion looked to be in vintage form in this semi-final triumph over Raonic, breaking out of the gates and never looking back in a straight-sets victory against the big-serving Canadian.

Federer controlled the match from the backcourt and the net, hitting 32 winners overall and going 24 for 32 at the net. Raonic never appeared to seriously threaten the Swiss 32-year-old in the one-hour, 41-minute affair.

Federer faced just one break point in the match – which he saved – meaning he moves into the final having been broken just once during this entire fortnight. Can he win a record 18th Grand Slam?

“I'm unbelievably proud every time I can walk to the grounds and play this tournament,” said Federer, who last was in a major final when he won here in 2012. “I know I don't have 10 left. The first one in 2003 was a dream come true. To have another chance to go through these emotions is an unbelievable thrill.”

Upset of the Day: Vasek Pospisil (CAN)/Jack Sock (USA) d [5] Leander Paes (IND)/Radek Stepanek (CZE) 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-4
It wasn’t a complete failure of a day for the younger crop. The newly-formed team of Pospisil (24) and Sock (21) continued their Cinderella run in the men’s doubles draw, taking out the veteran duo and two-time Slam champs Paes/Stepanek in straight sets.

They’ll face Bob and Mike Bryan in the final, the No.1 seeds and defending champions taking out Frenchmen Michael Llodra and Nicolas Mahut in the other semi-final.  

Also: The women’s doubles final was set with seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy and Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France moving through. They’ll play second after the women’s final on Saturday, preceding the men’s doubles final.

And: Jamie Murray bowed out of the mixed doubles, as did fellow British players Neal Skupski and Naomi Broady, all faltering in their quarter-final contests.

Photo of the Day (above): Hit the deck! This picture from the Djokovic-Dimitrov battle was popular among the “caption this” crowd.

Tweet of the Day: A gloriously sunny day at SW19 and the men’s semi-finals meant The Hill was packed to capacity. Is there a better sight in tennis?

Stat of the Day: He might be out of the tournament, but Raonic will safely walk away with the ace crown from this Championships. The Canadian blasted 164 aces through six rounds (an average of 27.33 per match). For one of Federer or Djokovic to overtake him, they’d have to hit 92 or 96 aces, respectively.

And one for the ladies: Finalist Genie Bouchard has run a distance of 7,802 metres (4.84 miles) during this Wimbledon. Her opponent Petra Kvitova? 5,552 metres (3.44 miles).

'Did you just see?' of the Day: Who was there to support Dimitrov in his semi-final trot against Djokovic? That’d be his girlfriend, one Maria Sharapova.

Video of the Day: What did Federer have to say after his win on Friday? This.

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