Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic put on a show last night in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon.
Djokovic eventually saw off seven-time champion in four sets to win his third Wimbledon and ninth Grand Slam title. But Federer, over the course of 17 minutes, showed his incredible durability to win what is being called the best Wimbledon tie-breaker in 35 years.
Federer lost the first set in a tie-breaker and was in danger of falling down two sets to none. Instead he rallied to win the second-set tie-breaker, fighting off six set points from Djoker and levelling the match at a set apiece and setting up what could go down as one of the all-time great finals.
The tie-breaker got off to a terrible start for Djokovic who let a return from Federer go. The ball hit the line giving Fed an early mini-break and 1-0 lead.
Djokovic was able to keep his cool and rallied to win six of the next eight points to take a commanding 6-3 lead in the tie-breaker.
Djokovic suddenly had three set points. It seemed inevitable that he would take a 2-0 lead in the match and take a huge step towards winning his third Wimbledon championship.
Djokovic looked composed and confident.
After fighting off one set point with a devastating first serve Djokovic could not return, Federer won an epic 27 shot rally with the final stroke by Djokovic going long.
Federer tied the tie-breaker up at six and celebrated with a subdued fist-pump and a quick side-glance at Djokovic.
The two traded points with Federer fighting off three more set points. Federer fended off one at 9-8 when Djokovic slipped just as a ball whizzed by.
Federer then fought off a final set point 10-9 with Djokovic serving. Federer won the long 16-shot rally when Djoker hit one long by about an inch.
Suddenly, Djokovic looked frazzled.
That was the first of three straight points Federer would win to end the tie-breaker. The final point came on a classic serve-and-volley and the crowd erupted when Djokovic’s final stroke hit the net.
It was the longest tie-breaker in a gentlemen’s final at Wimbledon since Pete Sampras and Patrick Rafter went 12-10 in the first set in 2000.
However, to some at least, it was the best Wimbledon tie-breaker since John McEnroe won a crucial fourth set against Bjorn Borg with an 18-16 tie-breaker in 1980.
Best Wimbledon tiebreaker since McEnroe-Borg?
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 12, 2015
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.