Djokovic crushes Gasquet, Federer outplays Murray

LONDON, July 10

Defending champion Novak Djokovic swept into his fourth Wimbledon final with a ruthlessly efficient 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Richard Gasquet on Friday.

Djokovic, the world No 1, survived an unusually sloppy start and eventually dismissed the French 21st seed with 12 aces and 46 winners in two hours and 20 minutes on Centre Court. The 28-year-old will go for his third All England Club title, and his ninth at the majors, when he faces seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in Sunday’s final.

Federer produced a display of clinical majesty to down Andy Murray and maintain his bid for a record eighth title with a sparkling 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 win. The second-seeded Swiss reached his 10th final at the All England Club with a near-perfect demolition of home favourite Murray to set up a repeat of last year's showpiece decider against Djokovic.

Murray could not lay a glove on the Federer serve and the Swiss upped the pressure at crucial stages of each set before wrapping up victory in two hours seven minutes when the British third seed sent a forehand wide. Federer, who has won all 10 of the semi-finals he has played at Wimbledon, will now resume his rivalry with Serb Djokovic.

For the first time, Djokovic has made the Wimbledon, Australian and French Open finals in the same year. Djokovic, who also won Wimbledon in 2011, now has a remarkable 47-3 record in 2015 and one more win would give the reigning Australian Open champion his second Grand Slam of 2015.

Watched by a Royal Box packed with celebrities including Thierry Henry, Alex Ferguson and Bjorn Borg, Djokovic once again showed how tough he is to take down. Djokovic seemed set for another quick-fire win after breaking in the opening game against Gasquet. Unexpectedly, the Serb lapsed into an error-strewn period that left him visibly frustrated as Gasquet began to take control. Unfurling his majestic one-handed backhand whenever the opportunity arose, Gasquet broke back and matched Djokovic blow for blow all the way to the tie-break. But the tenacious Serb blitzed Gasquet in the breaker.

It was rough on Gasquet, but despite making only five unforced errors he found himself a set down. Djokovic kept the heat on Gasquet at the start of the second set, breaking with a brilliant forehand that curled cross-court past his stranded opponent. He twice called for treatment on his left shoulder even that impediment couldn’t stop him easing to a two-set lead. With another showpiece, Djokovic turned the screw, moving Gasquet into awkward positions to induce errors that brought a decisive break in the third game of the third set.