Two weeks of earnest tennis matches, 126 names eliminated from the brackets, and the same two transcendent stars have emerged out of the stunted grass blades.
But Federer held in the next game and then broke for the set.
The 33-year-old Swiss became the oldest All England Club finalist since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974 when he swept past 2013 champion Murray 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 to set up a rematch of previous year s final against Novak Djokovic, a clash he lost in five sets.
“He’s a great sportsman, he’s a great great tennis player“, Murray said of Federer after the match.
Federer has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, his last at Wimbledon in 2012.
The 28-year-old Serbian revealed his mentor and coach Becker lives every point while spurring him on, ahead of a re-run of last year’s final. “Really, I tried my best”, Gasquet said. “I have a responsibility to play well here in the cradle of tennis”. Murray finally held with a 129 miles per hour ace. As he strutted near the Centre Court stands, shaking his fist and roaring, spectators loudly saluted the effort with a standing ovation.
“He served it extremely well, close to the lines”, Murray said of Federer, who has dropped serve just once en route to the final. You’ll have to ask him. I’m unbelievably happy. I maybe didn’t show it as much because the crowd went silent a little bit.
“It was a very important match for me to win past year because I’ve lost quite a few grand slam finals”.
But the Federer siege continued and after serving a love game he got the breakthrough in the 12th game, opening the court before swatting away a high, loose response from Murray.
He counts Federer – conqueror of Murray in the SW19 semi-finals on Friday – as “my sporting hero, my sporting idol” and said: “The one thing I took away from Wimbledon was learning to ride out the storm”. Whether I could have done more returning-wise, I don’t know.
Federer and Murray each used the word “unbelievable” to describe their terrific exchanges. The second-seeded Swiss won 70 of 91 points today on serve and was only taken to deuce twice in the entire match. “I don’t want to change anything, but I’m not superstitious”, said Muguruza. “It’s an awesome feeling when you come back from the match and everybody’s so happy for you – even like in the Royal Box when I was walking back, there was applause all the way to the locker room”.
Nine of Gasquets first 10 winners came via his smooth, one-handed backhand, but that stroke eventually let him down. The first set tie-breaker likely exhausted out Gasquet, who had longer fight on Wednesday against Stan Wawrinka, going into the fifth set 11-9, while the Serb’s quarterfinal made 3 sets of 6-4 each look easy.
Whether the second seed can reach the same dizzy heights he achieved against Murray will be the key to the outcome – anything less will probably not be enough against a player eyeing a third Wimbledon title and ninth grand slam crown.
From then on, it was business as usual for the energized Serbian.
What was no surprise was Novak Djokovic’s 3-set win over Richard Gasquet. He injured his left shoulder with the effort and required massages from a trainer on two changeovers. “Nothing major that concerns me for the next match”. “It’ll be fine for the next match. But I definitely don’t feel like I played a bad match”.
That next match is for all the All-England marbles, between familiar opponents.
Federer has a 20-19 career edge in their head-to-heads but they are locked at 6-6 in the Grand Slams.
“He’s one of my greatest rivals”, Dokovic said.
The good news for the Murray family is that Jamie Murray plays in the men’s doubles final, targeting that silverware for his second Wimbledon title, after a mixed success with Jelena Jankovic eight years ago.