Federer wins record 8th Wimbledon as Cilic bid ends in tears

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Switzerland’s Roger Federer holds the winner’s trophy after beating Croatia’s Marin Cilic in the final of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships in Wimbledon Sunday. — AFP

LONDON — Roger Federer won a record eighth Wimbledon title and became the tournament’s oldest champion Sunday with a straight-set victory over injury-hit Marin Cilic who dramatically broke down in tears midway through the final.

Federer claimed his 19th Grand Slam title 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 and at 35 is Wimbledon’s oldest men’s winner of the modern era, succeeding Arthur Ashe, who was almost 32 when he won in 1976.

However, the Swiss superstar’s 11th Wimbledon final, and 29th at the majors, will also be remembered for the moving sight of the popular Cilic breaking down in tears after slipping 3-0 behind in the second set.

The seventh seeded Croatian, the 2014 US Open champion, sobbed inconsolably and buried his head in his towel as his title dream slipped away.

He had his left foot taped at the end of the second set but it was in vain as Federer became the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to win Wimbledon without dropping a set in the entire tournament.

His first major title came at Wimbledon in 2003, and was followed by others in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He won again in 2009 and 2012. But then he lost finals in 2014 and 2015 to Novak Djokovic.

“He’s a hero,” Federer said of his opponent.

Twelve months ago, Federer was defeated in five sets in the semifinals by Milos Raonic and promptly shut down his season to rest a knee injury.

“It’s disbelief I can achieve such heights. I wasn’t sure I would ever be here in another final after last year,” said Federer, who turns 36 in three weeks’ time and who has now broken the tie for seven Wimbledon titles he shared with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw.

“I had some tough ones in the finals, losing two against Novak (Djokovic).

“But I always believed. I kept on believing and dreaming I could get back.

“Here am I today with the eighth. It’s fantastic, if you keep believing you can go far in your life.”

Federer won his 18th Slam in Australia in January on his return to the tour before adding the Indian Wells and Miami Masters back-to-back and a ninth Halle grasscourt title.

He also skipped the entire claycourt season.

“I’ve got to take more time off,” joked Federer, playing in just his seventh event of the year.

“I’ll be gone again for the next six months! I don’t know if it will work as well again.”

Cilic, who had spent four and a half hours more than Federer getting to the final, said retiring with his injury was never an option.

“I never give up in a match. I gave it my best — it’s all I can do,” said Cilic who was still emotional at the trophy presentation.

“I had an amazing journey here. I played the best tennis of my life. I really want to thank my team — they gave so much strength to me.”

Beneath a star-studded Royal Box where Prince William and wife Kate rubbed shoulders with actors Hugh Grant and Bradley Cooper, Cilic had his first break point in the fourth game.

It was saved by Federer and it was to be Cilic’s only glimmer of hope.

Federer broke in the next game when his opponent suffered a nasty fall on the worn surface which was to ultimately undermine his challenge.

Federer then served up two love service games before claiming the opener 6-3 off a Cilic double fault, the Croatian’s second of the final.

The Swiss superstar swept into a 3-0 lead in the second set and at the changeover, Cilic slumped in his courtside chair in tears and in obvious pain.

The trainer and doctor were summoned before Cilic hid his head in his towel in a desperate attempt to compose himself.

The 28-year-old held serve on the resumption but the lethal barrage continued, Federer stretching his lead over his friend to 4-1.

Cilic dropped the set 6-1 and called a medical timeout to have his left foot bandaged and take a painkiller.

His discomfort was reflected in his statistics.

By the end of the second set, he had served just two aces compared to the 130 he had fired past bamboozled opponents in his previous six rounds.

Federer pounced again with a break for 4-3 and wrapped up the one-sided final with a second serve ace to complete his coronation after just 1hr 41 minutes.

Fittingly, he too wept at the end.

He turns 36 on Aug. 8, making the father of four the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the Open era. Both of his sets of twins — boys, 3, in their light blue blazers; girls, 7, in their dresses — were in the guest box for the trophy ceremony.

One son stuck a couple of fingers in his mouth; a daughter grabbed her brother’s hand.

“They have no clue what’s on. They think it’s probably a nice view and a nice playground. But it’s not quite like that here, so one day hopefully they’ll understand,” Federer said about his boys.

As for the girls, he said: “They enjoy to watch a little bit. They come for the finals, I guess.”

When Dad is Roger Federer, you can wait until the last Sunday to show up.

Hingis, Jamie Murray

win mixed doubles


Martina Hingis clinched her 23th Grand Slam title as the Swiss star and Scottish partner Jamie Murray beat Henri Kontinen and Heather Watson 6-4, 6-4 in the Wimbledon mixed doubles final.

Just hours after her compatriot Roger Federer won a record eighth Wimbledon singles crown, Hingis made it a double celebration for Switzerland on Centre Court.

Top seeded Hingis and Murray, the brother of men’s world No. 1 Andy, saw off Finland’s Kontinen and Britain’s Watson.

“It’s not bad for us!” Hingis said of a memorable day for her and Federer.

“I’m really pleased I contacted Jamie before Wimbledon. I’m really happy how we played.

“We knew before the final a British player was going to win the mixed doubles. I’m just happy it was mine.”

Hingis, 36, has now amassed six mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, 12 Grand Slam women’s doubles crowns and also won five major singles titles, including Wimbledon in 1997.

Murray got his hands on the Wimbledon mixed doubles silverware 10 years after first winning it with Jelena Jankovic.

The 31-year-old also won the Australian and US Open men’s doubles titles in 2016. — Agencies


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