Nadal, Berdych Set Up Wimbledon Final

Nadal, Berdych Set Up Wimbledon Final

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

Nadal, Berdych Set Up Wimbledon Final

ATP: Wimbledon Shockers Continue As Federer Falls

words_Brandon Richard

Just a day removed from the best female Wimbledon Champion of the last decade being prematurely ousted from the 2010 tournament, we now have an even more shocking result on the men’s side. Switzerland’s Roger Federer, who has participated in every Wimbledon Final since 2003, was upset by 24-year old Tomas Berdych in four sets.

Berdych used his larger frame and power to establish an advantage over the all-time great. Throughout the match, Berdych consistently served up balls that were clocking in the 130 mph range. Additionally, he beat Federer at his own game, ripping forehand winner after winner down the line. At the end of the match, he tallied 51 winners to Federer’s 44.  With the win, Berdych became the first Czech born player to to reach the men’s semifinals since Ivan Lendl in 1990.

The aftermath of the match saw a little tension between the two competitors. When asked about his inability to perform at his highest level, Federer cited nagging pain in his back and right leg. “I am struggling with a little bit of a back and a leg issue,” said Federer. ” That just doesn’t quite allow me to play the way I would like to play. It’s frustrating, to say the least.” Berdych wasn’t in the mood to reduce his victory to a triumph over an injured player. “I don’t know if he is just looking for some excuses after the match or something like that,” he said. “I think he was 100 percent ready.”

Some other notable numbers for Federer. For the first time since November 2003, he will fall to number 3 in the ATP rankings. After winning 23 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal matches, he has lost the last two. Additionally, Federer has won 76 of 77 grass court matches coming into the month, but has lost 2 of his last 6. Lastly, prior to Wednesday’s defeat, that six-time champion had won 51 of his last 52 Wimbledon matches. When asked about his immediate plans, Federer said that he wouldn’t watch the rest of Wimbledon and planned on taking a two-week vacation.

Next up for Berdych is number 3 ranked Novak Djokovic, who advanced to his second Wimbledon semifinal with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over 82nd-ranked Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan.

images via Yahoo

Nadal, Berdych Set Up Wimbledon Final

WTA: Upsets Add Intrigue To Women’s Wimbledon Draw

words_Brandon Richard

Just when you think you have the answers, they change the questions. Today, the greatest female Wimbledon competitor of the last decade took the court against an unseeded opponent. As expected, the match was lopsided. One player controlled things from start to finish, while the other looked like they didn’t belong on the court at all. However, it was not the Wimbledon great who walked off the court all smiles. After competing in the Finals in 8 of the last 10 Wimbledon tournaments, 5-time champion Venus Williams bowed out gracefully after a stunning 6-2, 6-3 loss to 82nd-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.

Venus was never able to find as comfort zone. After a 2-2 tie in the first set, Pironkova broke Venus’ serve twice and took 4 straight games to win the set in dominant fashion. Venus took a 2-1 lead in the second set, but was broken once again. Down 5-2 and two match points, she was able to fight her way to another game, but was ultimately beaten on Pironkova’s serve. Commonplace in tennis, the story of the match may have come in the unforced errors count. Venus totaled 29 to Pironkova’s 6. It was the first time Venus lost to a played ranked lower than 80 since she lost to Pironkova in the 2006 Australian Open.

The upsets continued to roll as Vera Zvonareva of Russia rallied to beat 8th ranked Kim Clijsters 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. It marked the first time Zvonareva has defeated Clijsters in six meetings. Despite the fact that this was the first time Clijsters competed at Wimbledon since retiring in 2006, many viewed her as a threat to win. After a victory over Justine Henin on Monday and drawing a familiar opponent, Clijsters appeared to be in good shape. Much like the Venus Williams match, unforced errors may have been the difference between advancing and a flight home. Zvonareva won that battle by posting 19 unforced errors to Clijsters 36.

Tuesdays results make it the first time two unseeded players have reached the women’s semifinals at Wimbledon since 1999.  The unseeded Pironkova will face-off against Zvonareva in one of the two match-ups. The other unseeded player, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, is rewarded with a match with the #1 ranked Serena Williams. Though the remaining draw looks like a favorable one for the remaining Williams sister, today’s results reinforced the idea that anything is possible.

images via Yahoo

Nadal, Berdych Set Up Wimbledon Final

ATP: 2010 Wimbledon Begins Today

words_Brandon Richard

The oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, the Wimbledon Championships, returns this week at the All England Club in London. From now until July 4th, the world’s best tennis players of both genders will compete for the sport’s two grandest prizes. The men will vie for the silver gilt cup and cover that has been awarded to the winner since 1877. On the other side, women will attempt to capture the Venus Rosewater Dish. These trophies are a lot more elusive to some players than others.

The main storyline heading into the men’s draw is simple. Will we see another installment of Federer vs. Nadal? The draws are stacked for both men, with a plethora of great players standing in the way of a potential showdown. On top of that, Federer had to fight tooth and nail to get out of his opening round match against Alejandro Falla this morning. That may come as a sign that he’s still struggling after a sub-par clay court season. On the other hand, Rafael Nadal is surging coming into the tournament. After decisively taking the French in straight sets earlier this month, Rafa has his eyes set on a 4th Wimbledon Final and 2nd championship. He opens up play against Japan’s Kei Nishikori. Other notable players to watch out for include Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Robin Soderling, and former champion Lleyton Hewitt.

As usual, all eyes are on the Williams sisters on the women’s side of things. After a woeful clay court season, Serena Williams returns to grass, where she hopes to reassert her dominance. Big sister Venus has made 8 finals appearance at the All England Club, bringing home 5 Rosewater Dishes. The only player she’s ever lost a Wimbledon final to? Little sister Serena. So, needless to say, Venus is always a threat when she plays this tournament. Experts also believe she has a favorable draw. Other big names to watch out for are Justin Henin, who is attempting to add Wimbledon Champion to her already impressive resume, and a focused Maria Sharapova who is looking to recapture her championship form.

These will be just some of the storylines to keep an eye out for as play starts today. With the final taking place on Independence Day, we’re a little under two weeks away from crowning champions. Stay tuned to the Eastbay Blog for more updates!

images via Yahoo