Wimbledon tennis: Roger Federer, Andy Murray to meet for title
WIMBLEDON, England — With more titles in Grand Slam tennis tournaments than any man in history, Roger Federer of Switzerland had little to prove when he strode onto Centre Court for Friday's Wimbledon semifinal against defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
But in beating the world's top-ranked player 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, Federer proved plenty. Namely: Age has not diminished his skill; grass is the surface that best showcases his gifts; and he remains, at 30, a formidable threat to add to 16 major championships.
To the utter joy of Britain's sporting public, Scotland's Andy Murray is the other title contender Sunday, reaching Wimbledon's final after suffering four semifinal knockouts.
In turning back Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, Murray touched off a jubilant celebration at the All England Club, where thousands packed the hillside known as "Murray Mound" to groan and exult via a giant projection screen.
Murray, 25, is the first man from Britain to play in a Wimbledon final since Henry "Bunny" Austin in 1938. Fred Perry, who won in 1936, is the last male champion from Britain.
When Murray ripped a winning cross-court service return to end the match, confirmed seconds later by replay, the hillside erupted in cheers. Union Jacks and Scottish flags were waved. Chants of "Ahn-DEE!" "Ahn-DEE!" filled the air, loud enough for Murray to hear inside Centre Court, where Tsonga wrapped him in a congratulatory embrace.
Murray started well, making a mere four unforced errors through the first two sets compared with Tsonga's 20 and virtually pinning his opponent on the baseline with deep groundstrokes.
"He didn't give me one chance to go the net," said the fifth-seeded Tsonga.
No. 4 Murray was somewhat restrained in victory.
"It's a massive challenge to win against Roger in the final of a Slam, at Wimbledon," Murray said.
After Friday, Djokovic would agree.
Though the third-seeded Federer held a 14-12 edge in their rivalry, Djokovic was favored in their first meeting on grass. Djokovic won their last three meetings, including the semifinals of last year's U.S. Open.
The third set was worth the price of admission, even at scalpers' inflated prices.
"In the important moments, he was aggressive," Djokovic said. "I needed to be very consistent in order to win this match. I wasn't."
It has been 2 ½ years since Federer won a major, the 2010 Australian Open. With a victory Sunday, he would match American Pete Sampras' open-era record of seven Wimbledon titles.
"I'm aware that the tournament's not over," Federer said.
• American Serena Williams, seeded sixth, seeks her fifth Wimbledon title Saturday when she plays No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the final.
Radwanska didn't appear at a news conference, citing an upper-respiratory illness that makes it difficult to speak.