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  • Wimbledon, Day 14

Classy Federer shatters Murray's Wimbledon dream

ESPN staff
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Andy Murray's wait for his first grand slam title continues after he was sunk by Roger Federer as the Swiss secured a record-equalling seventh title at Wimbledon to secure a return to world No. 1.

Murray was on course to end Britain's 76-year wait for a men's singles champion at the All England Club when he won the opening set, but Federer produced an inspired fightback to claim a 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 victory in a match that started outdoors but was completed under the Centre Court roof.

When heavy rain arrived at the end of the second set the match was firmly in the balance, but when play resumed under the roof, Federer was virtually unstoppable as he powered to a 17th grand slam title.

Playing in his first final at his home slam, Murray showed no signs of nerves as he broke Federer in his opening service game to get the British crowd buzzing when Federer drilled a volley long.

Federer rallied to get back on level terms, and appeared to be in the ascendancy as Murray's early intensity began to fade. With Federer starting to settle, it was Murray who came under the greater pressure on serve, and was forced to fend off a handful of break points.

But Murray, who had never won a set in three previous grand slam finals, continued to play with intent and was rewarded with two break points, grabbing the break when Federer dumped a forehand into the net.

With Jonathan Marray tasting victory in the men's doubles on Saturday - Britain's first winner since 1936, Murray had the crowd believing he could repeat the feat in the singles, but four unconverted break points in the second set proved costly.

While Murray was looking untroubled on his serve, he was attacking Federer's backhand at every opportunity and had a chance to take a stranglehold on the match. But he was left to rue what might have been as Federer produced a moment of magic to snatch the second set.

With Murray serving to force a tiebreak, a dark cloud looming into view, Federer conjured up set point with a superb drop volley, and after forcing the Scot deep behind the baseline, a backhand drop shot spun away to negate Murray's early authority.

With the match firmly in the balance, the rain arrived, and a 40-minute delay ensued after officials decided to close the roof. With the atmosphere intensified in the closed arena, Federer showed no signs of being intimidated by the patriotic home crowd as he got off to a blistering start.

In what proved to be a pivotal moment in the match, Federer came out on top in an epic sixth game as Murray fended off five break points but was helpless to save a sixth as the momentum swung firmly in Federer's favour. Murray, who had already picked himself up off the floor twice in a 19-minute service game, slipped at the net as the Swiss fashioned an inch-perfect lob which landed on the baseline before consolidating his advantage with a simple service hold.

As Murray's first-serve percentage waned, Federer's forehand was beginning to fire, and he snuffed out any hope of a third-set comeback as he wrapped up the set with an ace.

With Murray desperately trying to get himself back into the match, his error count began to creep up, while Federer turned on the style, seemingly defying the laws of physics with a series of stunning drop shots which left Murray rooted to the baseline in disbelief.

A stunning backhand pass gave Federer the all-important break in the fifth game of the fourth set, and despite ferocious support from the home fans, Murray was unable to find a way back into the match as the Swiss reclaimed the title he last won in 2009.

His win sees him equal Pete Sampras' record of seven titles at the All England Club and he now leapfrogs Novak Djokovic, who has spent exactly 12 months at the top of the world rankings, to return to world No. 1 for the first time in over two years.

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