Rafael Nadal Reigns At Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal Reigns At Wimbledon

words_Brandon Richard

As dominant as Serena Williams looked in the women’s final on Saturday, Rafael Nadal was all of that and more when he captured his second Wimbledon title in straight sets on Sunday. The Spaniard’s aggressive style and skill was too much to overcome for the 12-seeded Tomas Berdych. Sunday’s win gives Nadal 8 Grand Slam titles, landing him in a sixth place tie with legends such as Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, and Ken Rosewall.

Much like Serena’s performance in the women’s final, Nadal refused to let his serve be broken. On the other hand, he was able to break Berdych four times. The first set was tied 3-3 before Nadal recorded his first break of the match. After taking the 4-3 lead, Nadal never looked back. He went on to quickly win the next two games and jump out to an early 1-0 set advantage.

The second set began with a 10-minute game in which the Czech attempted to break Nadal’s serve. Berdych was able to get 3 break points, but they were all saved by Nadal. Rafael didn’t seem to have the same problems, as he was able to get six points off of Berdych’s second serve, including a successful break. Berdych missed a forehand at 6-5 to hand Nadal a two-set lead, a seemingly insurmountable deficit against the world’s top ranked player.

Though Berdych was able to find success with his serve in the third set, the outcome was till the same. He tried mixing up the angles, speeds, and power levels on his shots – only to have them fly back past him as winners from Nadal. Down 5-4 in the third, Berdych was broken once again to give Nadal a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victor in the final.

Nadal’s 8 Grand Slam victories put him at the half-way-to-Federer mark. For the second time, he’s won the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back. Prior to he and Federer accomplishing this feat the last three years, no player had done it since Bjorn Borg in 1980. Next up for Rafa is the U.S. Open, the Grand Slam event he has never won. That tournament kicks off in late August.

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Rafael Nadal Reigns At Wimbledon

Serena Williams Wimbledon Champ Again

words_Brandon Richard

What started off as Serena Williams’ tournament to lose turned out to be her tournament to win. The now four-time Wimbledon champion looked overwhelmingly dominant as she rolled over Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-3, 6-2 in Saturday’s final. The win gives Serena 4 Wimbledon titles and 13 Grand Slam titles overall.

As Serena loves to say, her serve does not abandon her at Wimbledon. To drive that point home, the number 1 ranked player in the world didn’t face a break point in the entire match. The same could not be said for Zvonareva. After a very evenly played six games, the two were all square at 3-3. Serena, as expected, held serve to jump back ahead by a game. Then, the first break of the match came when Williams smacked a curling forehand winner down the line to jump ahead 5-3. She wouldn’t look back, as her reliable serve helped her close out the first set in impressive form.

Those guessing that Serena would slow down in the second set guessed wrong. In fact, she played better. The set began with Serena immediate breaking Zvonareva to go up 1-0. The Russian started to unravel when she double-faulted to fall behind 4-1. Three games letter, Serena put away an overhand to seal the deal on another successful Wimbledon run. The reaction of the two finalists mirrored the on-court action. Serena’s reaction was one of great jubilance, while Zvaonareva sat in her chair and wiped away tears.

By securing her 13th Grand Slam title, Serena moved past the legendary Billie Jean King on the all-time women’s list. She now stares up at Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, each with 18 titles. Her first crack at number 14 will come at the 129th U.S. Open. The tournament starts on August 30th in New York City. Serena’s last U.S. Open win came in 2008 against Jelena Janković.

Where do you think Serena currently stands on the all-time women’s tennis list? Let us know!

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Rafael Nadal Reigns At Wimbledon

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.

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Rafael Nadal Reigns At Wimbledon

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.

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Rafael Nadal Reigns At Wimbledon

WTA: Upsets Add Intrigue To Women’s Wimbledon Draw

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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.

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