Wimbledon - Djokovic reaches final, top spot

Fri, 01 Jul 16:38:00 2011

Novak Djokovic overcame the acrobatic brilliance of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach his first Wimbledon final and secure the world number one ranking with a dramatic 7-6 6-2 6-7 6-3 victory.

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"It's difficult to put into words, it's one of the best feelings I've ever had on the tennis court. My dreams are coming true, a first final at Wimbledon," the second seed said.

"I'm just going to celebrate and take some time but there is another match to come. I've been working all my life for this. I've been dreaming of this since I started playing tennis when I was four."

The Serbian made a lacklustre start and was broken in the first game but he worked his way back into the set with effective if unspectacular play and was rewarded when Tsonga lost his way in the 10th game and surrendered the tiebreak 7-4.

Several athletic encounters at the net, with Tsonga diving around and playing shots practically on his knees, spiced up the semi-final and entertained the crowd with scenes rarely witnessed at the grass grand slam since Boris Becker's pomp.

Tsonga's powerful hitting from his shock last-eight win over six-times champion Roger Federer melted away, though, under the sun in the second set as Australian Open champion Djokovic produced a few touches of flair to romped through it.

The third set appeared to be heading the same way before the French 12th seed, cheered on by the Centre Court crowd, suddenly found a second wind to break for 4-4 but Djokovic hit back for 6-5 only to lose his serve immediately.

The tiebreak swung both ways and Djokovic wasted two matchpoints before Tsonga, the 2008 Australian Open runner-up, overcame problems at the net to take it 11-9 and spark an array of fist-pumping all around the arena.

Djokovic has not been at his very best all tournament but powered ahead in the fourth set with a break to love for 2-0 when Tsonga's radar again faltered.

He sealed victory with a fierce service winner and screamed with delight before sinking to his knees and kissing the grass.

Djokovic faces champion Rafa Nadal or Briton Andy Murray in Sunday's final knowing he will be the top-ranked player in the world for the first time when the list is published on Monday irrespective of whether current number one Nadal wins the tournament.

The 24-year-old, who won 41 matches in a row from the start of the year before losing to Federer in the French Open semi-finals, will also become the first Serb to be men's world number one.

Reuters

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