Novak Djokovic tightened the Grand Slam gap and extended his winning streak against Roger Federer, edging his rival for the Wimbledon title on Sunday by winning the first ever fifth-set tiebreaker in the tournament final.
Djokovic won, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3). The tiebreaker at 12-12 was instituted after last year’s tournament, when Kevin Anderson beat John Isner, 26-24, in the fifth set in the semifinals. It was meant to provide a more definite finish time for previously interminable matches (Isner also once won a fifth set, 70-68).
Federer, who will turn 38 next month, remains a beloved champion worldwide and is having another excellent, time-warping season. But Djokovic has had his number.
Djokovic earned his fifth straight victory over Federer and also his fifth straight in Grand Slam play. The last time Federer defeated Djokovic in one of the four major tournaments was in the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2012.