Wimbledon men's final: Novak Djokovic defeats Kevin Anderson to win fourth Wimbledon title
A faltering serve from Anderson was ultimately his demise against the tenacious Djokovic
For the second time in less than a year, Kevin Anderson came short in a Grand Slam final. For the fourth time, Novak Djokovic is the Wimbledon champion. The Serbian star beat Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 on Sunday. Djokovic has put himself back on the map after missing the U.S. Open last year with an elbow injury that eventually required surgery. He's the first player not named Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer to win a Grand Slam in the last six, but he's not new to the top.
Djokovic was emotional and relentless all tournament. Kevin Anderson's serve, which had done so well for him all tournament before the final, faltered in the first two sets. Djokovic broke his serve four times, while Anderson never broke Djokovic's, which was ultimately the difference. By the time Anderson found his serve in the third set, it wasn't enough, and Djokovic took it in a tiebreaker.
Anderson reached the U.S. Open final in 2017 but lost to Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic now has 13 Grand Slam titles and four Wimbledon wins. His Wimbledon titles are good for fourth all-time in the Open era and tied for sixth in the Open and Amateur eras. He trails only Roger Federer among active players, who has eight.
It was an exhausting tournament for both players. Anderson set the record for most games played in one Wimbledon (50 came in the fifth set against John Isner in a six-hour-and-35 minute semifinal), while Djokovic played against his arch-rival Nadal in a semifinal match that went on for over five hours. The key to this match was always which player would come out with more energy, and from the opening serve that player was Djokovic.
The crowd was decidedly pro-Anderson, with Djokovic at one point kindly asking the crowd to "shut the [expletive] up." His frustration was apparent at several times throughout the match, but that was the only time it seemed to reach a boiling point.
Anderson finished with five double faults, the most he'd had since the Round of 16. Djokovic saw his own serve falter in the third set, when Anderson had far more energy. Djokovic saved set point five times in the third set to eventually force extra games. He never broke Anderson's serve in the third set, which was a key part of what happened in the first two sets. It was a grind of a set, but every time it looked like Djokovic lost control, he pulled it back again. Anderson pulled his first-serve percentage up to 64 percent, when at one point in the second set it was under 50. It just wasn't quite enough.
For Djokovic, it's a huge win. The 31-year-old Serbian has returned to form much quicker than anyone expected. Despite making it to the fourth round of the Australian Open, concerns arose when he was knocked out of both the Indian Wells Masters and the Miami Open. At the Italian and French Opens, he finally started to find his groove again. Then, at the Queen's Club Championships that led into Wimbledon, he lost to Marin Cilic in the finals. At Wimbledon, he was able to defeat Kyle Edmund, Kei Nishikori, Nadal and -- finally -- Anderson.
The win should move Djokovic back into the ATP top 10, as he continues his comeback tour. However, for the time being, it's safe to say that regardless of ranking, Djokovic is back.
You can recap all of the action with our live blog below.
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