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Federer finishes flawless run to win Wimbledon

From ESPN - July 16, 2017

Roger Federer is a Wimbledon champion for a men's record eighth time, defeating Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in Sunday's final.

The win moves Federer past both Pete Sampras and William Renshaw, who each won seven titles at the grass-court major, for the most men's titles in the history of the event first held in 1877.

"It's disbelief that I can achieve such heights," Federer said in his postmatch on-court interview. "I was not sure if I was ever going to be here, in another final."

When it ended, with an ace from Federer after merely 1 hour, 41 minutes of play, he raised both arms overhead. A minute or so later, he was sitting on the sideline, wiping tears from his eyes.

Truly, the outcome was only in doubt for about 20 minutes, the amount of time it took Federer to grab his first lead. Cilic, whose left foot was treated by a trainer before the third set started, was never able to summon the intimidating serves or crisp volleys that carried him to his lone Grand Slam title at the 2014 US Open. Cilic beat Federer in the semifinals during that run, his only win over the Swiss player.

Federer, 35, became the oldest champion at the All England Club, and he won his second Grand Slam of the year in impeccable fashion by not dropping a set throughout the two-week run. Federer joins Bjorn Borg (1976) as the only men in the Open era to win Wimbledon without losing a set, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Federer last won the grass-court major in 2012 but took the Australian Open title this year before skipping the French Open to focus on the remainder of the season.

That decision apparently paid off for the now-19-time Grand Slam champion.

With clouds overhead and a bit of chill in the air, the match's first game offered a glimpse at Cilic's apparent plan: Go after Federer's backhand. All five points Cilic won in that opening stanza came via mistakes by Federer on that stroke. Conversely, all three points won by Federer in that game were thanks to forehand miscues by Cilic.

Understandably, there were signs of nerves for both.

Federer's early play, in general, was symptomatic of jitters. For everything he has accomplished, for all the bright lights and big settings to which he's become accustomed, the guy whom many have labeled the greatest of all time admits to feeling heavy legs and jumbled thoughts at important on-court moments to this day.

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