For the first time since early in 2010, a men’s Grand Slam trophy will be engraved with a name other than Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, thanks to Roger Federer’s victory over the latter in the 2012 Wimbledon semifinals on Friday. Djokovic and Nadal had combined to win the last nine major tournaments, going all the way back to the 2010 Australian Open, but Wimbledon 2012 shall feature a new champion.
While Nadal equaled his career-worst performance in a major with a shocking second-round exit, Roger Federer cruised to a four-set victory over Djokovic, knocking out the defending champion with relative ease. Thanks to Nadal’s early departure, Federer will now be favored to take home his seventh Wimbledon title, which would tie Pete Sampras for the most of all time.
Even more surprising, however, is that Federer’s dominating victory will give him a chance to claim the world’s top ranking for the third time in his career, should he also win Sunday’s Wimbledon final against Andy Murray. Regardless of the result, Federer will leap over Nadal to the No. 2 spot, while a victory in the final would leave Federer just a nose in front of Djokovic for the No. 1 ranking. Federer would need to hold the position for just two weeks to break Pete Sampras’ career record of 286 weeks atop the rankings
Considering his recent struggles against Nadal and Djokovic and the steady Murray lurking behind him, many believed Federer would never again climb above his current ranking, let threaten the world’s top spot. But with Friday’s impressive performance, the veteran star has made it clear he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Federer’s serve was on point from the start, as he finished the first set (6-3) in just 24 minutes after breaking Djokovic midway through. Though Djokovic took the second set (6-3) with similar ease, the Swiss star broke him once again on a lengthy set point to steal the third 6-4. Federer never looked back, breaking Djokovic for a 2-0 lead and holding serve through the remainder of the match.
Despite losses in the quarterfinals in each of the past two Wimbledons, there’s no doubt that Federer is still a menace on grass, having lost just five games to Mikhail Youzhny in the quarters and downing Djokovic in their first-ever clash on grass. As he moves on to his record-breaking eight Wimbledon final, he may very well be on his way to equaling two more of Sampras’s storied records.Follow paulmbanks