LONDON Roger Federer fueled his hopes of a record eighth Wimbledon title by saving seven set points to level Sunday's final against Novak Djokovic at one set each.
Both the opening sets were decided by tiebreaks with Djokovic, chasing a third Wimbledon trophy, running away with the first and Federer coming through a marathon second to leave the match tantalizingly poised.
Federer landed the first punch in the first set, breaking the Djokovic serve to love for a 4-2 lead when the world number one netted a straightforward mid-court backhand.
But the second-seeded Swiss's serve, which had been functioning with laser precision throughout the tournament, then faltered allowing Djokovic to break back immediately.
Both players stayed strong to force the tiebreak in which Serb Djokovic raced into a 6-1 lead and closed it out when Federer served his first double fault of the match.
The more Federer tried to get on to the front foot the more Djokovic returned the ball with interest, preventing the Swiss playing the attacking game that had caused Britain's Andy Murray headaches in their semi-final.
Federer had two break points in the fifth game of the second set, but the top seed's ability to produce big serves on crucial points kept the Swiss at bay.
Federer's unforced error count continued to mount and another double fault in the 10th game gave Djokovic the first of a series of set points.
The rest came in a tense tiebreak in which Federer hung on bravely before Djokovic wafted a forehand into the net to give the Swiss set point at 11-10 on his own serve and he wrapped it up with a volley.
(Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Ken Ferris)