LONDON: Novak Djokovic withstood early brilliance from Australian showman Nick Kyrgios to secure a fourth successive Wimbledon title with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) victory on a sun-drenched Centre Court yesterday.
The 35-year-old Serb stretched his unbeaten streak at Wimbledon to 28 matches as he calmly seized the initiative after being eclipsed in an opening set dominated by the Kyrgios serve.
In claiming a seventh Wimbledon crown, Djokovic took his Grand Slam singles haul to 21, one behind men’s all-time record holder Rafa Nadal.
Playing in his first Grand Slam final, the 27-year-old Kyrgios played some scintillating tennis in a 31-minute opening set in which Djokovic could get nowhere near his serve.
But Djokovic raised his level to break out of nowhere early in the second set and began to take control as Kyrgios’s volatile temperament started to boil in the afternoon heat.
When Kyrgios dropped serve from 40-0 up at 4-4 in the second set and Djokovic held to move a set from victory the Australian appeared close to losing control as he ranted with his box.
Kyrgios re-focused in a fourth set in which neither player saw a break point but his dream of becoming Australia’s first male Grand slam champion for 20 years evaporated as his game fell apart in the tiebreak.
During the first week of the grasscourt Grand Slam, Kyrgios played his usual role of pantomime villain but as his run got deeper, the 27-year-old presented a much calmer demeanour to reach the biggest match of his career.
The Australian maverick was back to his usual hot-headed self during the third set as Djokovic started playing pristine tennis. Kyrgios got broken from 40-love up in the ninth game and continued swearing and shouting at his box.
Djokovic ignored the drama across the net and after holding serve to bag the third set he calmly collected his bag and left the court, leaving his opponent sitting on his chair and shaking his head in frustration.
After both players failed to create a breakpoint in the fourth set, Djokovic dominated the tiebreaker and sealed the Championship on his third match point after three hours when Kyrgios found the net on a return.
Djokovic raised his arms to the sky and after a shake of hands with his opponent, he bent down to pluck some grass from the famous old court and taste it before running up to his player’s box to kickstart the celebrations.
Kyrgios was furious with himself and poured out his frustrations in a lengthy rant aimed at his box.