Bartoli pulls upset of the year on miraculous day at Wimbledon
by Abe Kuijl | July 6th, 2007, 6:20 pm

Has this been the most exciting day of tennis in 2007, or what?

After Nadal had easily routed Tomas Berdych in the opening match on Centre Court, I was starting to think, ‘this guy just might seriously challenge for the title this year’.While I was debating this issue to myself, I quickly started to be absorbed by the dogfight going on at Court No.1, where Novak Djokovic and Marcos Baghdatis were throwing everything they had at each other.

Djokovic continued where he’d left off in his match against Lleyton Hewitt in the fourth round, and that was winning tiebreaks. The fourth-seeded Serb had won the first set against the Cypriot in a breaker and took the second in similar fashion, pouncing on his first set point at 10-9, after Baghdatis had wasted no less than six setpoints in the tiebreak himself.

Djokovic consequently went up an early break in the third set, and the match looked to be in the bag for the No.5. Little did he know, but Marcos Baghdatis fought back from the huge deficit and tied the score at two sets all after shortly over four hours of play. Djokovic was looking very tired out there and it appeared as if the deciding set would just be a formality for Baghdatis, who appeared to have quite some gas left in the tank.

At this point, Djokovic proved how good of a match player he is. The Roland Garros semifinalist played his heart out, until at 5-all he created the first break point of the set. It was all he needed to clinch the crucial break of serve, and finish the match 7-5 in the fifth after exactly five hours of play.

Despite his great win, Djokovic won’t be too happy looking ahead to tomorrow. He’ll face Rafael Nadal in the semifinals, after having played over nine hours in the last two days. Frankly I don’t think the Serb has any chance at all at upending Rafa, without the proper time to recover. Nadal has convincingly beaten Mikhail Youzhny after a false start, stating he played his best grass match of his career, and also hard-hitting Tomas Berdych posed no problems on the lawns for the second seed.

Djokovic told the BBC after his win that “the crowd have seen one of the best matches at Wimbledon this year for sure”. He was right, but the 20-year-old from Belgrade had no idea that there would be a lot more in store for the rest of the day.

Andy Roddick was the odds on favorite to beat the talented Richard Gasquet en route to another clash with Roger Federer at Wimbledon in the semifinals. After having comfortably won the first two sets 6-4, 6-4, and leading with a break in the third, nobody in the stands would have given his young opponent the least bit of a chance to turn the match around. But, at this crazy day at Wimbledon, where not even a single drop of rain fell from the clouds, nothing was impossible.

Gasquet finally showed why he had been considered the next big thing in tennis ever since he was just nine years old. Hitting one formidable backhand after the other, the Frenchman clawed back into the match. The No.12-seed won two tiebreaks to send the match into a final set and stayed strong mentally to edge out Roddick 8-6 in the fifth.

I have never seen Gasquet pump his fist as often as in his match against Roddick, nor have I witnessed the Frenchman step it up on the big points the way he did on Friday. Undoubtedly, this has been Richard Gasquet’s break-out match. Currently ranked No.14, the Frenchman will make his Top 10 debut on Monday and could pose serious trouble to Roger Federer in the semifinals if he plays like he did against Roddick.

Federer dropped a set against Juan Carlos Ferrero in his quarterfinal match, which could really only have happened on this particular day.

Before I caught the end of the Gasquet – Roddick match, there had been a certain women’s semifinals match over on Centre Court. Originally scheduled for Court No.1, Justine Henin’s encounter against Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli had been moved to the big one due to the extroardinary long match between Djokovic and Baghdatis before.

Venus Williams had already qualified for the final following a commanding win over Ana Ivanovic, and I was starting to think about how she would match up against Henin in the final on Saturday. The Belgian was dominating her opponent and took the first set 6-1. Surprise, surprise. After immediately breaking serve in the second set, Bartoli looked ready to be demolished by the No.1.

However, all of a sudden, Henin started to make a lot of unforced errors with her forehand. My thoughts went back to her win over Serena Williams in the quarters, when she went through a similar lapse in the second set.

Bartoli started to regain confidence, and battled bravely to stay in the match. The 18th seed upped her level and managed to increasingly take control of points. Henin remained erratic on her forehand wing and dropped the second set. She looked up to her coach, Carlos Rodrigues, clearly worrying about what had just happened.

Still, if Henin managed to get back to the level she displayed in the first set, there would be no reason for concern, one would expect.

Not exactly. At the beginning of the third set, Henin was simply being overpowered by Bartoli. The ’06 finalist at SW19 played some good defensive tennis, but her opponent would hit one screamer after another, dominating the No.1 in almost every rally. Two weeks ago, Henin had easily beaten Bartoli in the semifinals of Eastbourne, 6-1 6-3, but after letting her opponent back into it in the second set, the Belgian had lost control and saw the match slip away from her. Bartoli was hitting everything and raced out to an incredible 5-0 lead, before she eventually closed it out 6-1, pulling off the biggest upset in women’s tennis since, I don’t know when.

Bartoli will face Venus Williams in the final on Saturday. Surely her dream must come to an end against the three-time Wimbledon titlist. If not, we’ll be looking at one of the most unexpected Grand Slam champions of all time.

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30 Comments for Bartoli pulls upset of the year on miraculous day at Wimbledon

Aussie Says:

Henin failed to play a good tactical match, (like she brillianty does against more muscular powerful opponents). She failed to resort to her high deep top-spin forehands to change things up. Also, she seldom approcahed the net.
Looks like Bartoli can give Venus a run, if she plays her game…But alas I think the pressure of a grand slam final may affect her. Grass suits her flat baseline shots

Christopher Says:

I am not a big fan of Henin’s. After Justin quit in the final at the Austrailian open two years ago against Mauresmo, I lost respect for her. She didn’t show class. I also think she cheats by getting coaching signals during matches. Needless to say, I won’t lose sleep tonight because Henin got upset. Go Venus!

andrea Says:

Have to say that the gasquet-roddick match was pretty darn good. richard stepped it up big time and it was bizarre to see andy just watch balls breze past him in the last set….great upset.

funny how the big headlines are about roger losing a set – gasp – it just goes to show how we all expect him now to crush everyone in straight sets.

although i’d love to see a novak/roger final i doubt novak has the legs to do any damage to nadal.

i’m tipping my hat to a roger/rafael final but then again…i’m sure everyone else is too!

Seth Says:

Regardless of what happens tomorrow against Federer, Gasquet may have just experienced the crucible match that his career needed. His talent has always been unquestionably immense, but (like Federer before him), he’s struggled to live up to it and perform on a high level consistently. This win over Roddick may just be the confidence-booster he’s needed for his mental toughness to mature and blossom.

As an unabashed Federer fan, I’m still pulling all the way for Roger to win his 5th consecutive Wimby. But if he must lose to someone this tournament, I would prefer he lose to Gasquet, who is easily my favorite of the new blood (probably because his game recalls Fed’s game so much). I predict a Fed victory in 3 or possibly 4 sets, but it won’t be a walk in the park.

Giner Says:

“I am not a big fan of Henin’s. After Justin quit in the final at the Austrailian open two years ago against Mauresmo, I lost respect for her.”

I’m not sure what the problem is here. Is it because she did it in a final and not some other match? Did you know that Mauresmo’s previous TWO opponents did the exact same thing? I doubted she would have got past Kim Clijsters if Kim hadn’t quit, making the final irrelevant.

Skorocel Says:

Well Seth, we all knew Roger can lose to only one guy at SW19, didn’t we? Really, we (Fed fans) can only pray Roger wins tomorrow – I must admit that… I’m a hardcore Fed fan, but if he loses tomorrow, I will have no other choice but to accept the FACT that he’s no longer the World Nr. 1 – let’s face it! So far, Nadal’s been beating him mainly on clay (that is 6 times out of his 8 wins against the Swiss), but if he wins tomorrow… Well, game over for Fed!

Speaking about the women’s final, let’s just hope it won’t be an onesided affair – at least! If Bartoli can pull out another upset, that will be fine, though both of the finalists are pretty much ball bashers only, so I don’t care… I was rooting for Justine, but she lost fair and square yesterday – and I have to accept that… May the best win!

Giner Says:

Funny how people wrote off Nadal’s wimbledon final run last year as a fluke, for having an easy draw and that he will not be coming close to the finals this year. If he has to play actual tough opponents like Berdych he’d lose. Well he made the finals again, and routed Berdych along the way, so I think he has vindicated himself.

Btw, Djokovic quit the match Henin style! ZOMG… I’ve lost all respect for him now. Just no class at all. /end sarcasm

Giner Says:

“I am not a big fan of Henin’s. After Justin quit in the final at the Austrailian open two years ago against Mauresmo, I lost respect for her.”

Lol. Mauresmo must have forgot that she herself quit a match at the Aust Open a few years back… talk about double standards.

Skorocel Says:

Giner, let’s not forget that Youzhny and Djokovic were far from fit in these matches… That said, Nadal certainly proved his 2006 final WASN’T a fluke – I have no problem to accept that! He beat Berdych fair and square – no matter what the Czech was saying afterwards (I mean mostly those “wind excuses”).

samps Says:

If you think about it, few players play the match to the very last moment. Its not like they wait till they are dying of pain and then they retire. Though Henin explicitly said it, Djoko’s wasnt too different I expect(or many others in the past for the matter). He wasn’t moving great in the third (he was actually ok most of the second set) but he wasnt dying of pain or anything.
If you have a health issue and it seems that you can complete the match but are worried about worsening injuries and what not and at the same time find it impossible to actually compete, I think most players would quit and it seems to me that thats how the general situation is when one retires midway.
Sure there are instances when players are reduced to the unbearable-pain situation but I would think that a minority.

Also Giner, I think its great that Rafa has made it to the finals and he has done well in general.
It shows that he’s here to stay on grass. But he has a lot to improve before he can be considered dominant on grass. His serve (though still vastly improved) is clearly on top. His volleying is way better but there is some way to go on that. He completely dominated Berdych and would have won anyway (without the wind) but it certainly would have been much harder. Against Youhzny he was perhaps lucky that his back had problems though he seemed fine in the fourth and fifth sets.
And he needs to improve his start. He’s been a very slow starter throughout and thats crucial on grass where things are faster.

samps Says:

Sorry I said something like “his (Rafa’s ) serve is clearly on top”!
I meant its on top of the list of improvements and he has been very vocal on working on it and I would be surprised if didnt make a huge improvement on it by next time.

Also, he is not going to win tomorrow but next year he might have a chance provided he works on his serve. You cannot consistently succeed on a
surface without having all the weapons for it.
In fact though he’s played in easily the craziest game this wimbledon (against soderling) he’s also had some luck (against Youhzny that is). I think he would have beaten Djoko anyway though in a long match.

Djoko is here to stay too considering he’s a super fighter and has an excellent serve with a remarkable first serve percentage.

grendel Says:

I agree with you Seth, about Gasquet. After Federer, he is easily the most attractive player to watch, and I would guess most Fed fans are Gasquet fans, and vica versa – be interesting to find out. They are similar in that they are both utter naturals, they were born to the game. For all that, I wouldn’t say they are similar – their styles, and their respective strengths, are very different. What they have in common is sheer glorious talent. And something else: they are both at or near the top. That is unusual for artists of their calibre – think of Santoro, just as gifted, really, but there was never any question of his making it to the top. Few, if any, players more fun to watch though. Federer, for one, understands just how good he has been. Baghdatis? In between – half flair, half grind.
There is room for the grinder, of course – I enjoy watching Hewitt. btw, I certainly wouldn’t rule Nadal out tomorrow. You know he’ll be playing at his best; any sustained lapse from federer, and he’s gone.

Seth Says:

Skorocel, I’m not sure that there is too much to worry about yet. Fed owns the lawns, simple as that, and I still don’t see Nadal being able to take three sets off of him on grass.

One thing many of us overlook is the fact that the Fed-Rafa rivalry is lopsided in Nadal’s favor because they’ve met on clay more often than on any other surface. If the grass court season were longer, presumably Fed and Nadal would meet more often on that surface, with Fed likely dominating Nadal on it the way Nadal dominates Fed on clay. Then, we would have talk of “Can Nadal manage to overcome the Federer hurdle on grass?” the same way we speak of Fed’s numerous unsucessful challenges to Nadal on the dirt.

Their rivarly is really interesting when you consider that they’re an even 2-2 on hardcourts, with alternating wins and losses. The truth is that Fed performs at a consistenly higher level on clay, Rafa’s best surface, than Rafa does on hardcourts, which might as well be Fed’s best surface since the grasscourt season is so short. Fed has put himself into position to challenge Nadal on clay far more consistently than Nadal has put himself into position to compete with Fed on hardcourts. If Nadal got to the finals of more hardcourt tournaments, then perhaps the rivalry would even out.

As for tomorrow, I’m predicting Fed in four.

samps Says:

Seth, as you said the grass season is way too short but how do you feel they match up on the surface? I remember you were convinced about Fed taking out Rafa at the French this year and we know now that the equation there remains the same as before. You don’t think its a role reversal here on grass?
Admittedly Rafa has struggled a little more on grass than Fed on clay but Fed’s victories over Davydenko and Youhzny (albeit straight sets victories) were pretty close and far from confidence-inspiring.

Skorocel Says:

Seth, I always tend to think of the worst possible scenario:-), you know… But seriously, if Fed serves like today (that’s 20 aces + 1st serve % around 70 or higher), it will be very, very tough for Nadal… I too predict a 3-1 win for Fed, but it can easily be 3-0, who knows? And as samps mentioned, Nadal needs to be right there from the start, which I think will be the key for him (remember how poorly he began the 2006 FO and SW19 finals?)… Anyway, if he wins, Fed’s no longer the world’s best player for me… If it’s Roger, then he can still call himself the best out there – period!

Giner Says:

samps no one is calling Nadal a grasscourt master. But people shouldn’t be so quick to write him off like they were between last year’s Wimby and this year’s just because he wins a lot on clay. That doesn’t make him automatically suck on grass. If it did, he would not be in the finals, regardless of who his opponents were.

The sad thing is that if he does beat Federer (he will be the underdog for sure), people will say Fed had an off day and Nadal didn’t win it, but Fed lost it. I don’t think they can ever recognize him as a true wimbledon champion or finalist.

Nadal making a wimbledon final was inconcievable. Making two finals back to back? Ludicrous. And that’s how they’ll see it even if he wins Wimbledon.

Giner Says:

“Their rivarly is really interesting when you consider that they’re an even 2-2 on hardcourts, with alternating wins and losses. The truth is that Fed performs at a consistenly higher level on clay, Rafa’s best surface, than Rafa does on hardcourts, which might as well be Fed’s best surface since the grasscourt season is so short. Fed has put himself into position to challenge Nadal on clay far more consistently than Nadal has put himself into position to compete with Fed on hardcourts. If Nadal got to the finals of more hardcourt tournaments, then perhaps the rivalry would even out.”

I don’t think it’s that Fed’s more likely to beat Nadal on hard courts, but that Nadal loses to other opponents. The reason they haven’t had that many meetings on hard courts is because other players beat Nadal, the kind of players Federer doesn’t lose to. He has problems with certain types of players that don’t faze Fed. But if you’re going to talk about their rivalry, then how they play against others is irrelevent, what’s of interest is how they play against each other. And I think that if the two of them only had to play each other and not the hurdles along the way to the final, then Rafa would be at least 50-50 on hard, if not more. He has a way of bothering Fed in ways that only work on Federer and not others. On clay their H2H would continue to be lopsided.

And he routed Roddick (who no one expected due to his massive serve) on the way to his Indian Wells title, so I don’t think you can call Nadal a fluke or poor hard court player either.

So in summary, against the rest of the tour, Fed is the more consistent player on hard courts. Against each other, that doesn’t mean anything and the rules seem a bit different. None of Fed’s two victories on hard court came easy, and the first one he had to come back from two sets and a break down (that was the first time they made the format best of 5 sets, other wise it would have been a straight sets defeat – Nadal twice was two points from the match), and Nadal was tired from playing long matches back to back. The other match was closely contested something like 7-5 6-4.

And you are right that Federer has more consistency against other players on clay. That means they will play each other more often on clay than on hard court, but I don’t equate that to meaning that Federer would dominate him on hard court. It just means we won’t see them together that often.

Seth Says:

Giner, I never meant to predict that Fed would dominate Rafa on hard courts. I was only suggesting that their rivalry would likely even out if they played more on hard courts, with Fed winning some and Rafa winning some. But since they’ve met the most often on clay, Rafa’s best surface, the rivalry is lopsided. That was exactly my point, Fed consistently goes deeper into the draw on hard courts than Rafa does, therefore they don’t meet as often on that surface. Since in any tournament they both compete in they’re seeded one and two, they can only meet in the finals. It’s rare that Fed fails to make a hard court final. It’s not so rare for Rafa to lose before that stage to players who, as you rightly noted, trouble him but don’t do the same to Fed.

My point was only that Fed’s winning percentage on clay is higher than Rafa’s on hard. And then comes the final of each clay court tournament, where Rafa inevitably awaits and Fed inevitably loses, and therein lies the lopsided nature of their rivalry.

Seth Says:

“Seth, as you said the grass season is way too short but how do you feel they match up on the surface? I remember you were convinced about Fed taking out Rafa at the French this year and we know now that the equation there remains the same as before. You don’t think its a role reversal here on grass? Admittedly Rafa has struggled a little more on grass than Fed on clay but Fed’s victories over Davydenko and Youhzny (albeit straight sets victories) were pretty close and far from confidence-inspiring.”

Heh heh, yes, I had to eat quite a bit of crow because of this year’s RG final. And it is indeed a role reversal, absolutely. But, being a Fed fan, I’m not as cavalier about saying, “This is Rafa’s year to take Wimby; I can feel it,” as I was in predicting a Federer victory at RG. And, honestly, that’s because I don’t want Rafa to win tomorrow. ;)

But, all that subjectivity aside (as much as is possible for a fanboy such as myself), I really do have a hard time seeing Rafa manage to win three sets off of Fed on grass at Wimbledon. I suppose had I been more objective about Fed’s chances at RG this year, I would’ve realized that expecting Fed to take three sets off of Rafa on clay was probably a bridge too far. But that blasted Hamburg final gave me such hope!

samps Says:

Seth I dont honestly believe Rafa has a chance this Wimby (though he has an excellent chance to win the next one) and Fed should win in four sets. Especially since there isnt a pre-wimby tourney for Fed to lose to Rafa and give Me hope:).

And Giner, I’m a Rafa fan! I am just trying to be objective (especially learning from Seth’s RG experience!) and I see the aspects he needs to improve (as I have stated before and are anyway obvious). And it would be utterly ridiculous for anyone to say that Rafa won because Fed had an off day. You cant say this for someone who has made so many consecutive Slam finals and (other than clay) generally murdered his opponents there. And when I say that he doesn’t have That level of a game on grass yet, I mean that he Can get there (and knowing his determination he probably will). And the evidence was really there in his struggles against Youhzny. You see, Youhzny has a game very similar to Fed’s except he’s a notch lower on every aspect of the game.

Which is why I dont see him beating Fed this year. If he does that would indeed be amazing, its just unlikely.

MarkKW Says:

Getting back to Bartoli–for those in the states, I can’t forget the “BARTOLI!” ad that ends the dreams of Italian restaurants all for some grocery store food purchase–I haven’t been more endeared to a player in WAY to long. As a follower of women’s tennis, I knew the name, and had seen her play, but, it’s her personality that comes shining through. She’s real, she’s honest, and, as a die hard Venus fan, if she’d miraculously won today, I’d have been all right with it. That being said, congratulations Venus, from all of us die hard fans that remember the beaded hair and Lendl dumping saw dust all over the court.

grendel Says:

All this stuff about Nadal fine tuning various aspects of his grass court game, and then he’ll be able to take on Fed on grass is just rubbish. Federer is an incomparably better grass court player than Nadal and always will be. In any case, as the great grass court exponent Pat Cash has pointed out, Nadal is not actually playing as well as he did last year. His talking his game up is just bluff, Cash opined. A great deal of that sort of thing goes on, of course. And Nadal thumping Berdych – who certainly has the game to beat Nadal on grass as Jonas Bjorkman pointed out – proves nothing; Berdych is well known to disintegrate at the least sign of difficulty.

Even so, Cash was hesitant to endorse Federer unequivocally for today. As he points out, and as is obvious to anyone who has watched Federer against Nadal on any surface, Federer never plays freely against the Spaniard, always he is strangely shackled. How can this be?

Of course the answer lies in the mind. Fed always talks about Nadal and him being mentally very strong, but this is misleading to say the least. Compared to most players, Federer is strong, but compared to Nadal he doesn’t even leave the starting blocks. Nadal is a mental phenomenon, and he has got absolutely inside Fed’s head. The only possible comparison I would suggest is Jimmy Connors, another thoroughgoing hard case, or animal (Connors’ own description of himself; Serena, we note, refers admiringly to Nadal as an animal). With the departure of Borg, one might have thought the way was clear for McEnroe to win Wimbledon after Wimbledon. But Connors stood in his way. It is fascinating,watching the replays of their first final, to note McEnroes’s increasingly perplexed expression. He knew he was by far the better player. Connors – who to his great credit has always admitted this – knew. And yet he just couldn’t beat him. Connors was looking just like Nadal. Unshakeable self-belief. And yet two years later, McEnroe destroyed Connors in perhaps the finest ever grass court display, Sampras and Federer notwithstanding. On that occasion, you can see that Connors is simply irrelevant to McEnroe – Williams like, he was paying attention only to himself. He was playing to the absolute limit of his abilities.

Now Federer just can’t do that with Nadal – perhaps because Nadal has been Fed’s only genuine rival, whereas McEnroe had several. I don’t know.But what I am sure about is that all predictions for today’s match are to be taken with a grain of salt. This is war on the couch, and who can say which way it will go.

One thing is for sure. Say Fed wins, and both Fed and Nadal contest the final next year. Nadal will NOT have more chance because he has improved his serve, his volley, or whatever. That’s all for the birds. However, he will all the same have a bigger chance. Federer will be a year older and that bit slower. That might be enough.

samps Says:

Grendel, I agree with you on saying that Nadal is never going to get to the level of Fed on grass (or close to be honest) but he can get good enough to dominate many other players on the tour that he might be struggling with Now. And this thing about it being mental or whatever is nonsense and vastly overstated. Most of Rafa’s victories on Fed have come on clay and there its a serious issue of the nature of the game. Fed is losing to Nadal on RG not because of some ridiculous mental block but because he is inferior on the surface. Not unlike Nadal on grass. Nadal took a set off Fed last year because he played superbly in the 2nd and third sets (if it was mental does it really kick in After Fed bagels him in the first set?). A mental phenomenon? Thats really daft.

But you are right that Nadal hasnt been playing as well as last year though he Is a more complete player (his serve, slice and return of serve). Does that make sense? He has been much more inconsistent and he starts the game so poorly (also responsible for the nature of the Soderling match. Everytime the match restarted Rafa would be slow off the blocks and Soderling would be on top) which really perplexes me. Maybe its the ridiculous conditions this Wimby I have no clue. Or even worse maybe he has a mental block as far as grass is concerned.

grendel Says:

Exactly after Federer bagles Nadal in first set – a perfect example of Nadal’s toughness. Fed relaxes just a bit, and Nadal homes straight in. Tremendous mental strength. And if you think mental strength is relatively unimportant, Samps, you can be absolutely certain the players do not. It’s overwhelmingly important, and explains why players at least as talented as Nadal (e.g.Malisse, Nalbandian, plenty more) don’t have anything like his success. All sport is played to some extent in the mind, but this seems to be most true of tennis. This is just a simple fact, quite uncontroversial, as is the fact of Nadal’s near uniqueness in this area – perhaps Jimmy Connors comes close. Yes, I agree Nadal is simply better than Fed on clay – I had in mind all the other matches they have played. Win or lose, Fed never seems at ease.
Talking of the mental, Skorocel’s ultimatum – if Fed loses he is no longer the best – whilst in many ways irrational will reflect quite a widespread feeling, and you can be sure Federer will be conscious of it. That is huge added pressure. Some people can handle that, some can’t. We may be about to learn something new about Fed.

samps Says:

Hey im not saying that mental strength is irrelevant in fact its among the most important aspects in any sport. I just meant that Rafa does not have a mental edge or hold or whatever over Fed. Fed does not play worse with him than others. He plays the same(normally brilliant). In fact he raises his game as he does with everyone else.

Skorocel Says:

You know samps, many people (including me) are asking the same question: Why Fed can’t bring his A game when playing Nadal? But I guess we’re asking a wrong question… The more appropriate one should be: Can he do better than this vs the Spaniard, or in other words, is this really his A game which he’s showing in their matches? I agree with you that it does take more than a “mental edge” to win 8 matches against Fed – even though 6 of them on clay… It’s not that Fed’s not trying – indeed, he does everything in his power to win…

grendel Says:

Whewww! That was close! Federer deserved to win – just. Saving those two double break points in the fifth clinched it, and answered the question, too, as to how Federer would cope with huge pressure.

But I have to revise my opinion on Nadal. This was very different to last year. I am convinced now that Nadal is, at the very least, joint favourite with Federer to win Wimbledon next year. Bear in mind he can only improve, whilst Federer will be pushing 27. Hard to see how he can learn any new tricks, but you never know.

Incidentally, I thought at long last Federer did play with a measure of freedom against Nadal, didn’t look overawed. Odd that it should be on the occasion when we have to admit Nadal has just about caught up with Fed.

Meanwhile, it’s by no means going to be a two horse race at Wimbledon next year. There’s at least three others who are in with a real chance. If Federer wants to catch Sampras , he’s got his work cut out – and that’s as it should be. One has a distinct feeling of the changing of the guard……

MarkKW Says:

Oh…Federer defeats Nadal in a Slam. I guess I should be excited…oh, damn…I’m not…what will Federer win by at the US Open? Or will Nadal bring his 5 set A-Game? Wake me when the finals roll around. I’ll do a polite golf clap. Navratilova/Evert anyone?

samps Says:

MarkKW. Was your comment on because ur about eighty years old and are nostalgic about the old matches? Because the matches dished by these two champs (Fed-Rafa) have been fabulous. Men’s tennis is hardly a snooze as you seem to see fit. Or were you just winding everyone up?

the kiwi Says:

novak djockvic i would just like to talk about because he is one of the riseing stars comeing from no suprise serbia&montanegro not just him riseing there is ana ivanovic and there is jelena jankovic may i say asb classic champion from auckland beating vera zvonareva two time runner-up back to novak he has brought the mens age of tennis to a new young level showing people at the age of eighteen winning one of the majours this year the nasdaq one hundred tournament really exciting seeing young teens showing what kind of tennis he produces.

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