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Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a shot to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during a semifinals match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, Friday, July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Wimbledon: Andy Murray will meet Roger Federer in men’s final

Tennis » Murray is first British man since 1938 to make it to championship match.

First Published Jul 06 2012 08:56 am • Last Updated Oct 30 2012 11:31 pm

Wimbledon, England • For Roger Federer, it’s Wimbledon final No. 8.

For Andy Murray, it’s No. 1 — and the first for a British man since 1938.

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Women’s finalist Radwanska ill

Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska canceled a news conference Friday because of a respiratory illness.

Radwanska is scheduled to meet four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams for the title Saturday.

“Unfortunately I have picked up an upper respiratory illness, which is affecting my nose and throat,” Radwanska said in a statement. “I have been playing a lot of matches here in the rain and cold wind, and I haven’t been well for a few days. The most important thing is that I’m feeling good on the court.”

Wimbledon finals

Women’s championship match: Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Serena WilliamsSaturday, 7 a.m., ESPN

Men’s championship match: Roger Federer vs. Andy MurraySunday, 7 a.m., ESPN

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Federer, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, beat defending champion Novak Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 Friday under the closed roof at Centre Court to reach a modern-era record eighth final at the All England Club. He is now one victory from equaling Pete Sampras’ record of seven titles.

"I have one more match to go. I’m aware of that," said the 30-year-old Federer, who is 6-1 in Wimbledon finals. "Still, it’s always nice beating someone like Novak, who has done so well here last year, the last couple years."

The next challenge will come Sunday against Murray, who is the first British man to even reach the Wimbledon final since Bunny Austin 74 years ago. Murray, also trying to become the British man to win the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936, beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the second semifinal.

If Federer does win Sunday in his 24th Grand Slam final, he would also take the No. 1 ranking from Djokovic and equal Sampras’ record of 286 weeks as the top-ranked player.

"There’s obviously a lot on the line for me in terms of winning here, the all-time Grand Slam record, world No. 1," Federer said. "I’m also going into that match with some pressure, but I’m excited about it. That’s what I play for."

Federer and Djokovic went for winners on almost every point. But it was Federer who got the key points when they mattered in the third set.

"It’s hard to fire bullets the whole time, so you try to also find some range. If he tees off first, it’s hard to defend obviously," said Federer, now 1-0 against Djokovic on grass. "It’s just not as easy to take that many balls out and come up with amazing shots time and time again. That’s why I kept on attacking."

At 4-4, Djokovic had his chance with only his third break point of the match. Federer held with three service winners.


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Moments later, while serving to stay in the set — and, essentially, the match — Djokovic gifted Federer a pair of break points by blasting an overhead long with much of the court open. He saved one, but Federer’s overhead smash on the second gave the Swiss great the third set, and put him on the way to the final.

"[I] had unfortunately a bad service game on 5-4, and obviously he uses his opportunities when they’re presented," said Djokovic, who had reached the last four major finals. "So you have to be always consistent. I wasn’t."

The win improved Federer’s semifinal record at the All England Club to 8-0. His only loss in the final came in 2008, when Rafael Nadal beat him 9-7 in the fifth set.

"I hope I can keep my nerves," said Federer, looking toward the final. "I’m sure I can. Then hopefully win the match. But we’ll see about that."

William Renshaw and Arthur Gore also played in eight Wimbledon finals, but that was when the defending champion received a bye into the following year’s title match. That rule was changed in 1922. Renshaw won seven titles and Gore three.

On Friday, Federer had the only break of the first set to take the lead, and Djokovic returned the favor in the second set to even the score.

The third set proved decisive, and Djokovic fought to stay in it right from the start. After holding easily, Federer gained a break point when Djokovic sent a forehand long. Although the Serb saved it, and eventually held to 1-1, it was the beginning of the end for him.

The next three games went quickly and on serve, but Federer then earned a pair of break points in the sixth game. Djokovic again saved them, the first after a 24-stroke rally that ended with Federer’s forehand going wide.

"He was the better player. In the important moments he was aggressive, hitting from both sides," Djokovic said. "Obviously, that’s what you expect when you play against Roger at the final four of a Grand Slam. I knew that."

Murray later played Tsonga under an open roof on Centre Court, and under intense pressure to succeed in front of the British public.

"Big relief," Murray said. "I just got to try to keep it together for the final."

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