words_Brandon Richard

A little under two weeks ago, we pondered whether or not we’d see another Rodger Federer and Rafael Nadal tennis classic in the Wimbledon final. We received our answer when Czech-born Tomas Berdych pulled off a four set stunner against the defending Wimbledon champion. Now, after semi-final wins today by both Nadal and Berdych, we’re left with a Nadal vs. the man who beat Federer showdown for all the glory.

To reach the final, Nadal disposed of 4th ranked Andy Murray, who was making a bid to become the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final since 1938. All sets were competitive, with Nadal’s superior skill and athleticism shining through in the end. The first set was even at 4, until Murray hooked a forehand, giving Nadal the lead and a chance to serve it out. The second set went to a tiebreak, and saw Nadal’s resilience help him overcome a 6-5 deficit. The third set started with Murray breaking Nadal’s serve and going up 2-0. Once again, Rafa made adjustments, breaking back in the eighth game and eventually served his way into the final.

Berdych was also able to take care of business in three sets, this time surprising 3rd ranked Novak Djokovic. Berdych is the first Czech to reach the Wimbledon men’s final since Ivan Lendl in 1987. Once again, Berdych played more efficiently than his higher-ranked opponent. His serve was broken just once in 16 games, while he was able to break Djokovic three times. Berdych had 11 aces, 34 winners, and 17 unforced errors. In the third set, Djokovic committed two of his eight double faults to lose serve and give Berdych the chance to serve out the match.

Nadal and Berdych have played 10 times before, Nadal owning a 7-3 advantage. Berdych put his best run against Nadal together in 2005 and 2006, defeating him three straight times. However, Nadal has won the last six meetings, including 14 straight sets. Berdych will need some of his Wimbledon magic to carry over if he’s looking to hold up the trophy as the end of the day. Nadal will be looking for his second Wimbledon title in four straight finals appearances, not including last year’s tournament, which he sat out with an injury. Be sure to see who stands alone when the Wimbledon men’s final gets underway on Sunday.

images via Getty