LONDON (AP) — Novak Djokovic got the better of Roger Federer at Wimbledon again.
The defending champion outplayed Federer in four sets Sunday to win his third Wimbledon title and ninth Grand Slam championship.
In a repeat of last year's final, won by Djokovic in five sets, the top-ranked Serb overcame the loss of seven set points in the second set and pulled away to beat the seven-time champion 7-6 (1), 6-7 (10), 6-4, 6-3.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates with the trophy after winning the Final Of The Gentlemen's Singles against Roger Federer of Switzerland on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
The top-seeded Djokovic broke No. 2 Federer four times and saved six of the seven break points he faced.
In winning the 40th career matchup between two of the greats of the game, Djokovic prevented Federer from winning a record eighth Wimbledon title.
The 28-year-old Djokovic further cemented his status as the dominant player in the game and one of the all-time greats, still in the prime of his career.
Djokovic closed out the match by breaking Federer for the second time in the fourth set, hitting an inside-out forehand winner into the open court on the final point. He pumped his arms and screamed, then bent down, plucked some grass from Centre Court and put it his mouth — just as he did when he won his first title in 2011 and again last year.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: Novak Djokovic of Serbia eats the centre court grass after winning the Final Of The Gentlemen's Singles against Roger Federer of Switzerland on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Djokovic equaled the number of Wimbledon titles won by his current coach Boris Becker, who won at the All England Club in 1985, '86 and '89.
Djokovic also became the first man to retain the Wimbledon title since Federer did it in 2007.
Sunday's victory evened their career head-to-head record at 20-20, but Djokovic now holds a narrow edge where it counts the most — 2-1 in Grand Slam finals, 2-1 at Wimbledon and 7-6 in majors overall.
The 33-year-old Federer will now have to wait another year to try again to become the first man to win eight Wimbledon singles titles. In 2012, he equaled Pete Sampras and 1880s player William Renshaw with seven.
Federer was playing in his 10th Wimbledon final and 26th Grand Slam final. He had been broken only once coming into the match, but dropped serve four times against Djokovic, considered the best returner in the game.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a backhand volley in the Final Of The Gentlemen's Singles against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
The final featured two of the fiercest competitors in the sport going toe-to-toe, with each going for big serves and engaging in furious corner-to-corner rallies.
Federer took more risks and was more aggressive, but the steely Djokovic refused to bend, digging in and lifting his game whenever he had to in order to prevent his opponent from gaining the edge.
While Federer had more winners (58) than Djokovic (46), the Serb finished with only 16 unforced errors, compared to 35 for the Swiss player.