Venus too much for Bartoli, Federer v. Nadal again
by Abe Kuijl | July 8th, 2007, 8:22 am

Marion Bartoli had James Bond to turn to in her semifinal against Henin on Saturday, but she was on her own in Sunday’s final against Venus Williams, and consequently succumbed to the three time former champion in straight sets, 6-4 6-1. ADHEREL
Bartoli did not play a bad match by any means, but she was simply outplayed by her more athletic opponent on the other side of the net, who happened to bring not just a little bit of extra experience to the table.

Bartoli was hitting the ball cleanly and with authority, as she did in her matches against Jelena Jankovic and Justine Henin, but Williams moved better around the court and punished the Frenchwoman’s weaker serve.

Idolising Monica Seles, Bartoli hits with two hands from both sides, but the double-handed shots have their effect on the reach she has when on the run. Venus dictated play and managed to create some good angles on her shots to wear the 18th seed out. The crowd was taking to Bartoli, who was seemingly enjoying the experience of playing a Wimbledon final on Centre Court. The 22-year-old fought bravely until the last ball was hit, but playing her best tennis in a long, long time, there was no stopping Venus Williams on her favored grass courts.

Before the women’s final was played, the two men’s semifinals took to the two stadium courts simultanuously, with Federer – Gasquet being scheduled on Centre Court, and Rafael Nadal – Novak Djokovic taking place on Court No.1.

Unfortunately, neither of the two matches brought any of the drama from the day before, when Novak Djokovic bested Marcos Baghdatis after five hours of play, and Richard Gasquet came back from a two set deficit and a break of serve down in the third, to upset Andy Roddick 8-6 in the fifth.

Clearly, the tough matches Djokovic and Gasquet had played on Friday took their toll in their semifinal encounters. The Serb had to retire after two and a half sets to Nadal due to a nasty blister on his foot, and Gasquet felt the pain of an ankle injury in his straight set loss to the four-time defending champion. Still, the two youngsters can look back on an excellent performance at SW19, both debuting in a semifinal at the Championships. Djokovic will move up to a new high ranking of No.3 on Monday, while Gasquet cracks the Top 10 for the first time in his career.

Leaves us with the two finalists. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have already met three times this year, but the rivalry just keeps getting better. Interestingly enough, whether Nadal wins or loses on Sunday, he’ll stay No.1 in the Race, the year-ranking for 2007.

There’s no doubt that Federer will head into Sunday’s final as the big favorite. The Swiss has the chance to tie Bjorn Borg’s record five consecutive wins at Wimbledon, but there is more pressure on Federer’s shoulders. The ten-time Grand Slam champion knows that the No.1 position will be on the line tomorrow, because even though Federer might still own that top ranking statistically if he loses to Nadal, there’s no doubt that Rafa will be considered the true top dog should he win Wimbledon, after the dominant year the Spaniard has been having thusfar.

Federer and Nadal have both won one Grand Slam title in 2007, but whereas Federer has claimed just a single Masters Series crown, Nadal already owns three.

Both players have played some excellent tennis to get to the final, but what could be worrying for Federer, is how much Nadal has improved on the grass compared to last year. Not only is the Spaniard serving better, he is taking the ball early on the return and plays a lot more aggressive than before.

Of course Federer still remains the best player on the surface. Throughout the tournament, he has been serving at a very high level, and his forehand is lethal. However, if the No.1 fails to perform at his best, Nadal has become a genuine threat to do the unthinkable: beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon and taking over as the No.1 player.

I believe Nadal will take at least one set from the Swiss, who has always looked a little off-balance when facing his main rival, but as anyone else did, I picked Federer for the title, and I’m sticking with it. We could be in for a classic though.

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25 Comments for Venus too much for Bartoli, Federer v. Nadal again

Skorocel Says:

Absolutely agree with the author re: the Fed’s No. 1 status. Should Fed lose this, he’s no longer the best – let’s face it!

samps Says:

How good was that match?! Yes Fed is still No. 1 but I guess we can see how close Rafa is to him. And Rafa really had his chance to win but Fed had the goods everytime. Also Rafa choked every now and then. Of course it settles the issue of Rafa’s competence on grass once and for all doesent it? And Rafa had One ace to Roger’s 22. It might be a good idea working on that aspect of the game. But what an amazing rivalry!

Seth Says:

If memory serves (ha!), this is the first GS final Roger’s had to win in five sets. That he did it against his only rival and, as some have rightly suggested, co-number 1 only makes it that much more special and historic.

These two guys are absolutely incredible. Consider the fact that were it not for Nadal, Fed would likely have three French Open titles. And if it were not for Federer, Rafa would likely have two Wimbledons. It just goes to show how much they are contributing to each other’s legacies, and how legendary their rivalry is already becoming. We’ve had the same two men contest the French Open and Wimbledon finals for the last two years. Such things are simply unparalled in the history of the sport.

Congratulations to Roger Federer and to all my fellow Fed fans. And just as much congratulations are in order for Rafael Nadal and all of his fans. As Rafa is fond of saying, “Unbelievable, no?”

samps Says:

Oh I should add that the Hawk eye is seriously suspect. The point in the 4th which made Fed go 2 breaks down (and completely ballistic) was surely out. Nadal was a break up already and might have won but it was ridiculous. Which brings into question about how scientific it really is. There is no way hawkeye can measure the exact contact area between the surface and the ball. Being an essentially visual aid, I figure it uses the projection of the ball on the surface. But whats the error involved in that? If a decision looks so close that you zoom in to 100X I feel that should be called out or in or whatever. If you don’t exactly the limitations of the technology that is being used, its as bad (or good) as not having it.

Also what classy characters both of them are. Contrasting but classy. Fed’s speech was hilarious and he was very graceful. Hopefully Rafa reaches that level in hard courts too.

Dr. Death Says:

On to the U.S. Open! More tennis excitement and less rain, we hope. A few observations:

The scheduling at Wimbledon contributed a good deal to the outcome of this tournament. We would have seen better matches if Gasquet and Diokovic had more rest.

Federer & Nadal – more to come!

Venus Williams – take note of her serve and the average speed. This is something beautiful to watch. Her first serve is close to Roddick’s second in speed.

Speaking of Roddick, his most effective serves were a little below 130 miles an hour but well placed. The boomers were exciting but not as effective.

Skorocel Says:

First of all, congrats to Nadal for such a superb performance! Though still quite inexperienced player on grass, today he simply showed that with strong determination and will, everything is possible… I bet Pete Sampras doesn’t particularly like what he’s seeing these days at SW19, but now there’s ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT that Nadal’s fully deserved NOT ONLY that advance into this year’s and last year’s finals, but EVEN a W. Yes, even a W. Once again, hats off to Nadal!

As for Roger, well, those breakpoints he faced in the 5th – unbelievable psychical strength! Even if it’s a bit exxagerated, I bet his whole career (AT LEAST his current Nr. 1 status) depended on these points, but boy, he coped with them brilliantly! Tough to say whether that leg injury Nadal was carrying in the last 1 and 1/2 sets somehow limited his game or not, but the fact is Fed simply showed a tremendous mental strength in these BP’s (even though that 1st or 2nd one Nadal missed only narrowly, hitting what would’ve been a sure FH winner wide)…

Skorocel Says:

Good point on that Hawk Eye thing, samps! I still remember that setpoint in Nadal’s match vs Youzhny in Dubai – it was maybe zoomed x-times, but still, you couldn’t be 100 % sure whether it was in or out…

It’s true that the HE didn’t particularly do a favor to Fed today, but I guess it was also his fault… At 4-5 in the 2nd, when Fed was serving and trailing 15-30, Nadal’s shot was clearly wide on the TV replay, but Fed (totally inexplicably for me) refused to use the HE, and thus gave Nadal 2 BP’s and, let’s be honest, also the 2nd set… I must say I went totally mad at home when seeing Fed just carrying on, not asking for HE in that particular point… It’s a bit surprising, especially when we consider he’s usually right when chosing it…

Ibra Says:

Hallo all,
I am just come in to give you a questions..given the fact of those last four women slams final? Do you agree thet women should receive the same rate as men? what a crazy thing that rafa would receive as much as bartoli..when bartoli was playing fortunately well yet outplayed by venus. Or look at French Open final last month, henin demolished ivanovic, or Oz final when sharapova was ate by williams easily. In other side, men final in at least 5 last finals shows a very tight match..therefore, IMHO, lets re-think about equal prize system. Just, FYI, this wimbledon showed the first time that there is no -at laest one Russian women in slams semifinal..what do yu guys interpret this statistics?

Ibra Says:

no russian in semifinal since FO 2004 when myskina steal the cup

samps Says:

Oh Skorocel, regarding the Hawkeye in the second set, I Fed didnt seem to have noticed whether it was out or not (i think he was a bit surprised about the shot itself, which Was impossible) and perhaps he didnt expect to be broken that match. He had i think just one challenge left in the set (correct me if i am wrong) so probably felt the need to preserve them. He wasnt being anti-hawkeye or anything, since he has only two less challenges in the tournament than Nadal (10 to 12) and has played one less match (source : wimbledon stats)

And though I think Nadal choked just a little, Fed was superb on the crucial points with those ridiculous aces. And in the last set he was amazing. And no I dont think his injury or whatever played a part, just that he choked a little. After that crucial break, Fed had the momentum and killed the match.

zola Says:

I would love to see your opinion on RAfa’s grass-court game after this phenomenal match. Compared to last year, he has improved a lot and I think he could win today. As Federer said himself , He was the lucky one.

Wimbledon organizers simply blew the scheduling and resulted in lots of injuries by making the players play 5 best of 5’s in 5 days. Djoko, GAsquet, BAghdatis, NAdal….all had injuries, that perhaps would not have ocured if they had the one day of rest in between matches.

Also, the result does not reflect the contrasting path of these two champions to the final. One playing almost everyday or waiting in the locker room while the other resting.

The fact that Rafa could play at this caliber against all odds, makes me think that his best is still ahead of him and he will win many majors, wimbledon titles included.

Giner Says:

“Of course it settles the issue of Rafa’s competence on grass once and for all doesent it? And Rafa had One ace to Roger’s 22. It might be a good idea working on that aspect of the game. But what an amazing rivalry!”

Agreed. I didn’t expect Rafa to be the one to come closest to beating him of any player in the last 5 years. Federer has never been extended to 5 sets at Wimbledon since Pete Sampras in 2001. It’s hard to believe but he’s fared better against Fed than even Andy Roddick ever did, and has made as many finals as Roddick.

That he had only 1 ace in 5 sets means he had to do it the hard way and didn’t get any cheap points on serve. Which shows that Rafa still has a lot of work to do. If he can just improve his serve and get easy holds, that will be enough to win Wimbledon for him, because the rest of his game matches up well against Fed on grass, and is good enough to beat him.

He’s shown once and for all though, that he’s no one surface wonder. All that criticism about being a clay court specialist and not being able to play on faster surfaces like hard or grass… I believe he has silenced his critics now.

JCF Says:

I’m quite surprised by the response. A year ago, despite Rafa’s finals run, no one gave him a chance of ever winning Wimbledon in his career, but now it sounds possible. He really took it to Federer, who has undisputedly been the best player at Wimbledon this decade. I didn’t believe there was any way Rafa could win UNLESS he could avoid playing Federer, but now I think he is 50/50.

Samps, regarding Hawkeye’s accuracy, it uses at least 5 cameras monitoring the trajectory of the ball and calculates it using the combined data. Whether it’s 100% accurate or not, I can’t vouch for, but those shots where the ball is a cm inside the baseline, there is no way the human eye can see with that kind of accuracy. So if line judges were to call the shot, that would have been counted as being out, because no one can expect them to see a tiny fraction. Was hawkeye correct? Who knows, but one thing’s for sure, it is at least far more accurate than the human eye. Line judges have screwed up many calls that were way off. I believe in Fed’s disputed case, the line judge did not actually see the ball (he covered his eyes), and it was the chair umpire who overruled and called it out. Rafa then made the challenge and succeeded. That was what pissed Federer off.

It’s no secret that Fed is very opposed to Hawkeye however, and always has been. He’s a traditionist. I’m surprised he doesn’t ask for the game to go back to wooden racquet technology.

samps Says:

JCF, I am not a traditionalist at all and I think a tool like Hawk eye is great. My statement was regarding the quantitative measures of accuracy which are crucial.
When the ball strikes the surface and hawkye (being a visual aid) approximates the contact area of the impact by considering the projection of the ball on surfaces normal to many different directions (five as you say). Of course its not exact. But how exact is it? What are the length scales that it resolves accurately (the least count and what not) especially when there is an impact involved. It puts up a nice fancy video which can be zoomed in no end but is that what the system is computing? You might think, oh they would have figured all this but I am far from certain. And yes its more accurate than the human eye. But what does that mean?

zola Says:

Fed doesn’t like Hawk eye but uses it as other players do and Hawk eye they say is only 90% correct , not 100%.

I guess it has been vry popular with the fans, but I think Umpires should have the ability to over-rule the call if the three people on the ground (umpire and two linespeople) are sure it is not right.

grendel Says:

I believe they say Hawkeye has a + or – 5% margin of error. That’s pretty good but not, of course, perfect. C’est la vie. I had the impression that with the shot in question, Federer half thought it was out – but didn’t react quickly enough; he kind of hit a return, and by then it was too late to call for hawkeye. A comedy of errors, really.

To Zola: Federer having a holiday halfway through the tournament was not necessarily to his advantage, as more than one commentator noted. The real losers, however, to the truly disgraceful scheduling were neither Federer nor Nadal, but Gasquet and Djokovic. Watch out for them next year, and Murray too. I reckon we might have a Wimbledon with 5 legitimate contenders for the title – that’s heady stuff, when you think of the last 10 or 15 years.

Meanwhile, those pundits who opined that Nadal was closer to winning Wimbledon than Federer winning the French have been vindicated. Fed will not win the French now unless somebody else beats Nadal, and even then he’s not necessarily favourite. Nadal, however, will surely win Wimbledon, although the greatest threat to him may well be one of his contemporaries rather than Fed. Time moves on.

It should be born in mind that grass is not as it was. Could Nadal win a Wimbledon with the kind of courts and balls available to the likes of McEnroe, Becker and Sampras? Well, Borg did, so I now see no reason why Nadal shouldn’t – but it would take him longer. For example, on the old style courts, one would expect a player like Ancic to beat Nadal, whilst Nadal would certainly beat Ancic on these courts. But with practice, one would expect Nadal to redress the balance.

grendel Says:

To Ibra: They’re all, men and women, absurdly overpaid, so frankly it’s difficult to get worked up about it all. In a sense, who cares? But in the end, it’s not about the quality of tennis, of competition, but about the prevailing mores. And they dictate equal pay. Tennis itself is irrelevant to the issue, being realistic – all the talk about 3 sets as opposed to 5 sets is just a red herring.

As for the Russian women, don’t you get the sense there was a brief flowering, and now it’s back to normal? The demise of Sharapova is the most interesting item here, I feel. I can’t see her coming back. She’s always had a somewhat onedimensional game, and this has been ruthlessly exposed. Players will no longer be in awe of her, and I predict a steady plummeting down the rankings, especially since she is utterly inflexible (the flip side of her renowned battling qualities). Anyone can see she ought to get rid Daddy. But Maria knows best….

Ryan Says:

90% accurate = 100% unacceptable

Dr. Death Says:

I remember when cyclops was first used and Nastase challenging that. Let us get used to the technology. It is here forever.

As to “prevailing mores,” this is a business. Let the women stay with the best 2 of 3 boring sets as opposed to 3 of 5. Get them off the courts as fast as possible. (Stirring the pot?)

Brian Says:

The “acceptable” margin of error for Hawkeye is +/- 3 millimeters. The stat that it is 90% accurate is incorrect as it is far more accurate than that.

Alan Says:

Venus won the 2007 Wimbledon without defeating one top, in-form player. (Kuznetsova, Ivanovic, and Bartoli have the range and quickness of Stonehenge; Sharapova’s a billboard, not a Slam contender). This must be the most hollow Slam title since Kafelnikov won in Australia.

june chance de leon Says:

looking at these comments, most of u all spoke about Fed and Nadal, very few gave any comments on Venus winning wimbldeon after being seeded so
low and breaking that recod again and playing so beautifully in the 2nd round, now if she had lost or it was due to any of her injuries u all would have said it was excuses and criticize her and Serena, just make me wonder is it after all this time u all cant handle the fact that 2 black women raised the level of tennis or u all just cant handle the fact that when they re playing good they r just too good for anyone to beat them

samps Says:

june chance de leon, ur a spectacular moron. If we dont talk about venus winning, its not because she’s black. Finding subversive elements in issues with no basis is hardly relevant. Its just that the Fed – Nadal encounter has been so superb and exciting, the women’s tennis encounter is far less memorable. Venus’ seeding is meaningless. She’s won wimbledon thrice before so she was among the favourites anyway. Venus’ opponent was a first time finalist and got walloped, making it a far from interesting encounter. If it was Venus-Henine, we’ d all be talking about it, whatever the outcome.
When the Serena-Henin match happened everyone was discussing it. Of course there many were dissing Serena (me included) but its not because she’s black but because she is full of herself and completely lacks class.

Skorocel Says:

Completely agree with samps. June chance de leon, you’re right that Venus and Serena raised the level of women’s tennis, but in my eyes they also degraded it to a simple baseline bashing…

the kiwi Says:

i just couldnt believe that venus williams could come back to win the wimbledon championships title at the start of the wimbledon tournament if u were predicting who will make the womens singles final u would probably say Justine henin would vs. maria sharapova wouldnt oyu but i think every one never expected though marion bartoli to make the final but these are the result from venus williams.
3rd V. WILLIAMS bt Akiko morogami 6-2 3-6 7-5
4th V. WILLIAMS bt maria sharapova 6-1 6-3
qf V. WILLIAMS bt svetlana kuznetsova 6-3 6-4
sf V. WILLIAMS bt ana ivanovic 6-2 6-4
f V. WILLIAMS bt marion bartoli 6-4 6-1
now when u look at how she won wimbledon i dont no cause she had 2 chances in the rounds to leave wimbledon even in the 1st round the williams sisters have have brought tennis to a new level????????????????????????????????????????????.

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