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Novak Djokovic again revealed the
true depth of his steely core to grind
Wimbledon idol Roger Federer’s
hopes of a record eighth title into
Centre Court ’s baseline dust today.
With a sell-out crowd urging
Federer to scale the same dizzy
heights he reached in eclipsing
Britain’s Andy Murray in Friday ’s
semi-final, Djokovic shrugged off
losing a stomach-churning second-
set tiebreak to prevail 7-6(1), 6-7
(10), 6-4, 6-3.
After swiping away a forehand
winner to end a two hour 56 minute
contest that crackled into life midway
through but then fizzled out, top seed
Djokovic roared to the grey London
sky before kneeling down and
nibbling some of the cherished turf.
“In the end when I finished the last
point, I took out everything that was
in me,” Djokovic, who has rebounded
magnificently from losing the French
Open final to Stanislas Wawrinka
and missing out on a full set of
“It’s a great achievement. Even
though it ’s the third title here, it feels
like the first.
“O bviously, I was disappointed and
heartbroken (to lose the French), but
if there is one thing that I learned in
the sport it’s to recover fast and to
leave things behind and move on.”
For the second year running in the
All England Club’s showpiece final
Federer played majestically but could
not break down the defences of the
game’s ultimate warrior.
Twelve months ago he pushed the
Serb to five sets. This time the Swiss
maestro’s challenge fizzled out in
anti-c limactic fashion and Djokovic
dominated the third and fourth sets
of his 17th grand slam final with
c linical precision.
World No 1 Djokovic now has
three Wimbledon titles, the same as
his coach Boris Becker, and moves
above the likes of Andre Agassi,
Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Ken
Rosewall in the all-time list of grand
At 28, he already has nine majors
to his name and, despite the life-
changing journey into married life
and fatherhood, his hunger for battle
remains as voracious as ever.
Nearly six years older, Federer
had hoped to become the oldest
man to win the Wimbledon title
in the professional era. But, after
saving seven set points and coming
through a pulsating second-set
tiebreak that will go down as one of
the tournament ’s classics, his well of
inspiration ran dry.
He will come again, that much
is guaranteed, but his chances of
winning a record-extending 18th
grand slam title are receding.
“ You know, I still think I had a great
tournament,” Federer told reporters.
“ You can have good tournaments
without winning, as well. I still won
six matches, lost one. The ratio still
remains very good. But of course you
sort of walk away empty handed. For
me a finalist trophy is not the same.
Everybody knows that.”
Second seed Federer made the
first move today, breaking for a 4-2
lead, only for Djokovic to hit back
Djokovic escaped at 5-6 when
Federer held two set points and then
ran away with the tiebreak, winning
it 7-1 as Federer’s timing, so sweet
against third seed Murray, went off a
Federer’s mistakes and he looked in
trouble at 4-5 in the second set when
Djokovic earned a set point only
to waft a loose forehand over the
The real drama was to come.
The final’s second tiebreak was in
Djokovic’s pocket at 6-3 but Federer
summoned some magic, winning a
hypnotic 26-stroke rally on the way
back to 6-6.
With the crowd on the edge of their
seats Federer saved three more set
points, one when Djokovic slipped
over, and then failed to take one of his
own before reeling off three points in
a row to win it 12-10.
“ It was frustrating obviously not to
be able to close it out,” Djokovic said,
who took his anger out by smashing
his racket into his shoes. “I knew that
I could not let this happen against
Roger in the finals of Wimbledon
because it might be my last chance.”
Instead of fretting over missed
got back to business and earned a
break point at 1-1 by displaying his
freakish court-covering ability before
delivering the coup de grace with a
deft drop shot.
Federer then blazed a forehand long
and the momentum switched back to
A weather interruption dampened
Federer’s fire still further and once
they returned to the court Djokovic
eased through the third set before
breaking twice in the fourth.
A superb defensive effort at Rugby
Park on Saturday carried Blaketown
into the Taylorville Wallsend Cup
grand final this weekend against last
year’s beaten finalist, Kiwi.
After leading 14-6 at the break,
Blaketown downed a strangely
subdued Marist, 24-11.
Kiwi beat South Westland 89-26 a
week ago but had a tougher tussle on
Saturday, coming out on top 31-11 .
In the other game, the young
Wests team concluded a successful
season with a 24-10 victory over
Grey Valley in the McLean Shield
final, which involved the bottom two
Marist had beaten Blaketown
22-19 the previous week but it was
apparent from the start that the men
in black meant business on Saturday.
With a simple game plan of
keeping play close to the forwards
in a short passing game, the seagulls
ground Marist into the submission,
the greens not scoring a try until
the 77th minute, when lock Isie
Lewaqai crossed. All previous
attacks foundered on a rock solid
wall of black.
Ill discipline was again Blaketown’s
Achille’s heal, Marist enjoying a
24-7 penalty count (10-5 at half-
time), but this time the frequent
indiscretions were relatively
unpunished, whereas last week Hugo
Torres’ boot supplied 17 points. To
the chagrin of some loyal supporters,
Marist ignored numerous chances to
keep the scoreboard ticking over, in
favour of tries which did not come,
until it was all too little too late.
Lock Brad Houston was at his
bustling best for Blaketown but the
rest of the pack was not far behind,
all standing up to be counted when
the time came.
Captain Nik Davy, overshadowing
Torres on this occasion, was in
sparkling form at halfback, the
Thompson brothers, Rob and Phil,
ran hard and Luke Negri, replacing
an injured James Ward, was a
surprise package at second-five,
causing the Marist defence many
Marist ’s usually fluent backline
struggled for cohesion, only looking
dangerous on the rare occasions they
got the ball out to the speedy wings,
Gilbert Fahey and Melali Mudu.
The green scrum gradually gained
ascendency as the game wound
down but the lineouts were poor,
hooker Ben Campbell struggling
to find his jumpers. F lankers Sean
Loveday and Sam Tau toiled hard
and prop Greg Crampton was again
Marist halfback Hugo Torres and
Phil Thomson traded penalties for
a 3-3 scoreline before Torres added
another three points from Marist ’s
However, Blaketown had made all
the running and eventually Houston
barged over from close quarter after
the greens had defended many
phases on their line, Phil Thompson
somehow sending a simple
conversion wide of the posts, 8-6 .
Blaketown kept offending but
Marist ignored several kicks at
goal and paid the price when their
attempts to score instead were
repelled by the black wave.
Phil Thompson, however, relished
his next opportunity, guiding the ball
between the posts for an 11-6 lead at
the 30-minute mark and he was to
add another (a Torres attempt from
40m had missed) to give his side a
14-6 lead at the break.
Four penalties in quick succession
gave Marist further scoring
opportunities early in the second
spell, but the best of them resulted
in a long range Torres penalty
bouncing back off an upright, while
Phil Thompson again made no
mistake at the other end, his fourth
penalty taking the score to 17-6.
The penalties kept coming and
Marist kept ignoring them, and Phil
Thompson made them pay when
tip-toeing down the sideline before
putting first-five Nik Cumming over
under the bar and then adding the
conversion, 24-6 .
Marist did have the final say, when
Lewaqai crossed too wide out for
Torres to convert, 24-11 .
Meanwhile, Kiwi, which beat
South Westland 89-26 a week ago,
had a tougher tussle on Saturday,
coming out on top 31-11 to win
a place in the grand final against
Player-coach Troy Tauwhare said
his team was looking forward to the
“ We were rapt when we heard that
Blaketown won the other game. It
couldn’t be better — the two best
teams fighting it out on Rugby Park,
can’t wait for it.”
South Westland forwards
hammered the Kiwi line for long
periods, but the blue defence held
“Prop Daniel Ford stood out for
us with his ball carrying and hard
defence and the old boy, Kyle Parker,
showed his class when he came on at
halfback. Kyle just keeps on getting
better,” Tauwhare said.
South Westland coach Grant
Mathieson was lamenting an injury
laden season which again prevented
him from putting his A team on the
paddock. “Having said that, all the
boys played well, I’m pretty chuffed
with them. We had a sniff of a
victory at one stage but in the end,
Kiwi were too good.”
Mathieson said South Westland ’s
“quiet achiever” Neil Kelly had an
outstanding game in the No 6 jersey,
while halfback Robbie Lash and
first-five Kip Nolan produced their
usual strong performances.
“We gave it our best and now it’s
onwards to next season,” Mathieson
Kiwi 31 (P Te Rakau, S McClure
2, M Olson, T Struthers tries;
Struthers 2, D Tauwhare cons);
South Westland 11 ( J Hill try, C
Deans 2 pens).
Wests’ long-awaited comeback
into the top echelons of West Coast
rugby is all-but complete after the
young, lightweight side beat a much
bigger and experienced Grey Valley
unit 24-10 to win the McLean
Wests hit rock bottom about three
years ago and went 30 months
without a victory, until the drought
ended with a win over South
Westland in the first round this
It soon added a victory over Grey
Valley to that result and has since
beaten the Ikamatua-based side
twice more, including the final on
Saturday, to the jubilation of a loyal
band of supporters.
Head coach Dicey Davidson said it
had been a long, slow climb from the
bottom and he was full of pride for
“That win on Saturday confirmed
that we are heading in the right
direction and we can look for ward to
the next season with confidence,
I couldn’t be more pleased for the
boys and for the club,” Davidson
He also played tribute to his
co-coaches Lyn Ross and Michael
Foster, who had moulded the
youngsters into a cohesive winning
Lock Lee Davidson took his play
to another level to win the man of
the match award, while fellow lock
Bazza Slaven and loosie Nick Monk
also starred in the pack. Halfback
Jordan Ross was the consummate
link between for wards and backs,
and centre Geoff Garland was again
strong in midfield.
However, Wests is a team in every
sense of the word and all players
contributed to the McLean Shield
win in some fashion.
Grey Valley’s overall player of the
year, John Brown, had a strong
game at No 8 and was rewarded
with a try.
Flanker Sam King also scored,
while wing Joseph Mueller finished
his season on a strong note.
Wests 24 ( J Garland, N Cook, L
Tekira, N Smith tries; Smith, L Ross
cons); Grey Valley 10 ( S King, J
Monday, July 13, 2015
PICTURE: Getty Images
Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after his Wimbledon victor y this morning.
The steps towards world domination
continue for Rowing New Zealand.
On an extraordinary day at the
final World Cup of the season at the
Rotsee, New Zealand took a step into
the unknown with unprecedented
supremacy across the breadth of
disciplines, particularly in the Olympic
The regatta may end up remembered as
the catalyst which took the sport into a
In summary, New Zealand. —
Secured 11 medals. Five gold, three
silver and one bronze came in Olympic
class events. A gold and a bronze came
in non-Olympic boats.
Won the trophy for overall World
Cup champions across three regattas,
despite only competing at two.
Put both men’s and women’s eight on
the podium for what ’s understood to be
the first time at the same World Cup
Had representation in 12 of the
14 Olympic class finals; the men’s
lightweight double sculls and coxless
four were the exceptions.
Issued a formidable statement they
will be the team to be beat at the world
championships and Rio Olympic
The triumphs came from Mahe
Drysdale in the single sculls, Eric
Murray and Hamish Bond in the men’s
pair, Zoe Stevenson and Eve Macfarlane
in the women’s double, Curtis Rapley,
James Lassche, Alistair Bond and James
Hunter in the men’s lightweight four, and
Sophie MacKenzie and Julia Edward in
the women’s lightweight double sculls.
Prendergast and Kerri Gowler, men’s
quadruple scullers Jade Uru, George
Bridgewater, John Storey and Karl
Manson, and women’s eight of Rebecca
Scown, Genevieve Behrent, Gowler,
Prendergast, Kelsey Bevan, Ruby Tew,
Emma Dyke, Kayla Pratt and coxswain
Frances Turner took silver.
The men’s eight of Stephen Jones, Alex
Robertson, Brook Kennedy, Jonathan
Wright, Isaac Grainger, Shaun Kirkham,
Michael Brake, Thomas Murray and
coxswain Caleb Shepherd secured
Those efforts added to Zoe McBride’s
gold and Adam Ling’s bronze in the
non-Olympic lightweight single sculls
The performance of the eights,
albeit with the United States and
Russia absent, bodes well for Olympic
qualification next month. It reinforces
the board decision to invest in eights
until the 2020 Olympics as a means of
retaining top talent beyond the Maadi
“This is a major stepping stone,”
women’s stroke Rebecca Scown said.
“ We’re such an inexperienced crew so
to win a heat and then take silver in the
final is the most important thing we’ve
done. I love sitting in the stroke position
because I feel so confident in the group
behind me. I just support the rhythm
they create. ”
Drysdale produced the most
convincing display, winning by 5.3s in
a race he described as his “easiest ever
World Cup win”.
The 36-year-old’s domination suggests
he is a genuine favourite to defend his
“ I couldn’t quite believe it. I looked
around at 500m and I was in front and
feeling good. I thought ‘today ’s my day ’.
No one put up too much of a battle
really. It was a confidence boost going
into the world championships.”
Bond and Murray completed their
57th consecutive victory at a FISA-
It was close for the first 1000m before
the old firm pulled away in their first
international event this season to extend
“ We probably could’ve pushed a bit
more in last 500m and opened the gap
through the middle but sometimes when
you’re out in front it’s easier to do what
you’re doing,” Murray said.
“The legacy comes from everybody else.
We never go out to defend anything, we
never say ‘we’re the best, come and catch
us”; we can’t go in thinking ‘oh, we beat
them last time so should beat them this
The acceleration of the women’s double
in the final 250m would not have been
out of place in a cartoon. Usain Bolt
could have taken notes.
“That was not the plan,” Stevenson
said. “ We wanted to give everyone a
good go at the start but we let them row
away from us. We’re not really panicking
types but knew we were running out of
The lightweight four confirmed their
dominance across two World Cups,
despite being pipped by Denmark in
the semi-finals. In the final they also
overcame the Swiss crowd cheering on
the locals who took silver.
“The fields are so compressed. It feels
like about 10 countries are within a few
boat lengths of each other,” Lassche said.
“ But from 1000m out you could feel the
momentum was with us, even though we
were being pushed.”
The lightweight double scullers had
retribution in mind after losing their
world best time to Britain at the last
“ We’ve had fire in our bellies,” Edward
said. “ That gave us the confidence for
Earlier, Prendergast (23) and Gowler
(21) earned silver, 2.65s behind British
Heather Stanning and Helen Glover.
The selectors’ faith in the duo’s fitness
and tenacity was justified as they
moonlighted in the eight.
“ It ’s the first time we’ve done it
(doubled up in the eight) so it ’s exciting,”
Prendergast said. “It helped that we
avoided a repechage in the eight to
conser ve energy. ” — NZ Herald
PICTURES: Paul McBride
It is bread and butter possession for the Wests for ward pack during
their senior clash with Grey Valley, at Rugby Park on Saturday. In a keen
80-minute encounter the Hokitika side came home with a 24-10 win.
Marist defender Gilbert Fahey has his sights on Blaketown winger Phil Thompson as he charges upfield during
the senior fixture at Rugby Park, on Saturday afternoon. Blaketown won 24-11.
Golden NZ day
Novak wraps up 3rd title
Serena Williams is embracing the
suffocating pressure that seems the
only threat to the ageless champion’s
hopes of completing a fabled calendar-
year grand slam sweep.
“She doesn’t have a challenger,”
former world No 1 Lindsay Davenport
gushed after Williams subdued
Spanish prodigy Garbine Muguruza
6-4, 6-4 in yesterday ’s Wimbledon
No time to waste, though, celebrating
her sixth title at the All England
Club — or a 21st career major and
second “Serena slam” — Williams
immediately turned her focus to even
bigger opportunities at next month’s
Williams houses all four grand slam
singles trophies for the second time in
her remarkable career, but the newly-
crowned Wimbledon and reigning
Australian, French and US champion
is eyeing yet greater spoils.
The American will head to New
York striving to become only the
fourth woman in more than a century
of grand slam tennis to win all four
majors in the same year.
The spotlight will be intense, but
Williams insists the pressure will not
undermine her chances of joining
Maureen Connolly (1953), Margaret
Smith Court (1970) and Steffi Graf
(1988) in one of world sport ’s most
“I feel like if I can do the Serena
Slam, I will be okay heading into the
grand slam,” she said.
“Like I always say, there’s 127
other people that don’t want to see
me win. Nothing personal, they just
want to win. I had a really tough
draw (at Wimbledon). This gives me
confidence that if I had this draw, I
can do it again.
“I really don’t feel like I have anything
to lose. I’ve kind of solidified my place
at No 1. My goal is always to end the
year at No 1. I just want to make sure
when I play Australia, I don’t have
pressure going into that.”
Instead, if Williams does reign at
Flushing Meadows for a seventh
time, she will head to Melbourne in
January with the chance to eclipse
Graf ’s benchmark 22 grand slam titles
and enhance her status as arguably the
greatest women’s player of all time.
“ You’ve got to enjoy this. You’re
looking at arguably the greatest female
athlete in maybe the last 50 years.
Not just in tennis. All sports,” John
McEnroe mar velled after Williams
also became the oldest grand slam
singles champion in the open era with
her straight-sets defeat of Muguruza.
At 33 years and 289 days old,
Williams is 25 days younger than
when Martina Navratilova landed the
last of her record nine titles at the All
England Club in 1990, but she craves
more and credits a newfound passion
for “contemporary dancing” as the
reason for still feeling young enough
to compete with — and beat — rivals
across three generations.
“I’ve never loved working out,”
Williams said after 21-year-old
Muguruza became her 13th different
grand slam final scalp since beating
Martina Hingis at the 1999 US Open
at just 17.
“ When I first started, I would always
ride the bike, work on my legs. Then
I started doing more running. Then I
started doing more sprint work.
“At one point I was boxing. Every
few years I’m always doing something
physically-wise. I feel almost better
now. I mean, I do have some aches and
pains, but overall physically I feel like
I’m better. I feel like I’m more fit. I feel
like I can do more than I did 10, 12,
whatever years ago.
“ Yeah, I just think I just keep
reinventing myself in terms of
working out, in terms of my game. It’s
been working.” — AAP
Serena closes in on grand slam sweep
Blaketown sets up final with Kiwi
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