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This is an excellent post about both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It talks about why was this the toughest Wimbledon final for Federer, but most importantly,in some way it contadicts the opinion of the experts on Rafael Nadal. There is an excellent explanation for everything, and as I have a fairly similar opinion about this topic, I would strongly suggest you to visit this post.

Visit at: Federer Matches Bjorg, Analysts Appoint Nadal As Dr. Doom!

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Head-to-head: Berdych leads 3-2

2005 Bastad Clay Nadal won 26 62 64

2005 AMS Cincinnati Hard Berdych won 67 62 76

2006 AMS Toronto Hard Berdych won 61 36 62

2006 AMS Madrid Hard Berdych won 63 76

2007 AMS Monte Carlo Clay (O) Nadal won 60 75

Berdych is one of only four active players to have a winning record against Nadal, where there has been more than one career meeting.

This is also a match-up between two players with the best five-set records. Berdych holds the Open Era record for the greatest number of five-set victories with no defeats, with his perfect 9-0 record in five-set matches, while Nadal’s two five-set wins at this tournament advance his record to 9-2.

Nadal came back from two-sets-to-love down to defeat Mikhail Youzhny 46 36 61 62 62 in his second successive five-set victory to advance to his second Wimbledon quarterfinal.

Nadal’s victory over Youzhny followed a 64 64 67 46 75 third round defeat of Robin Soderling in a match that spanned five days due to rain. Earlier, he defeated Mardy Fish 63 76 63 in the first round and Werner Eschauer 62 64 61 in the second.

Nadal is now on a seven match winning streak in five-set matches. His defeat of Youzhny marked the third time in his career that he has won from two-sets-to-love down: at 2005 AMS Madrid, he overcame Ivan Ljubicic 36 26 63 64 76 in the final and at last year’s Wimbledon, he defeated qualifier Robert Kendrick 67 36 76 75 64 in the second round.

Nadal has already appeared in the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slams – 2005-2007 Roland Garros (eventual champion), 2006 Wimbledon (runner-up), 2006 US Open (lost at that stage) and 2007 Australian Open (lost at that stage).

Nadal has a 12-4 record against Czechs, three of those losses being to Berdych.

Nadal reached the 2006 Wimbledon final, losing to Roger Federer 60 76 67 63, marking the first time in the Open Era that the Roland Garros and Wimbledon finals had featured the same two men in the same season, and the first time since 1952 that it had happened.

Nadal was the second Spanish man in history to reach the final here, after Manolo Santana won the title in 1966. He also recorded the best performance by a reigning Roland Garros champion at Wimbledon since Andre Agassi advanced to the final here in 1999.

Having just won Roland Garros for the third time, Nadal now has another chance to become the third man in the Open Era, after Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg, to win both the Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles the same year. Borg achieved the feat for three years in succession 1978-80, while Laver also did it in 1962, one of eight men to achieve this in the pre-Open Era. [For more details, see page 4 of the Preview.]

Nadal’s Roland Garros triumph marked his fifth title this season. He also won at AMS Indian Wells (d. Novak Djokovic 62 75), AMS Monte Carlo (d. Roger Federer 64 64), Barcelona (d. Guillermo Canas 63 64), and AMS Rome (d. Fernando Gonzalez 62 62). He leads the tour for titles won so far in 2007.

Nadal warmed up for Wimbledon by reaching the quarterfinals at Queen’s for the second successive year. He lost in the last eight to eventual runner-up Nicolas Mahut 75 76.

After losing five round of 16 Grand Slam matches, Berdych broke through to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal and is having the best season of his career. He defeated No. 19 seed Jonas Bjorkman 64 60 67 60 in the round of 16, following victories over Nicolas Massu 76 64 62 in the first round, Michael Llodra 76 76 36 76 in the second and Hyung-Taik Lee 64 76 76 in the third.

This is Berdych’s fourth straight appearance at Wimbledon. Since his debut in 2004 when he lost in the first round, he has improved on his performance every year. In 2005 he reached the third round, losing to Taylor Dent 63 76 63; and last year as No. 13 seed he won through to the round of 16, losing to Roger Federer 63 63 64.

Mirroring his ever-improving performance at The Championships, Berdych also went one step further than his runner-up finish at 2006 Halle by winning the title at Halle last month. Last year, he lost in the final to Roger Federer 60 67 62, but this year, as No. 4 seed, he defeated Marcos Baghdatis 75 64 in the final to win his first grass court title and first title of 2007. He has now won 18 out of 25 career grass court matches.

For the past five years, the Wimbledon champion has warmed up for The Championships by winning one of the pre-Wimbledon grass court titles. Roger Federer won the title at Halle in 2003-2006 and went on to lift the trophy at Wimbledon, however this year chose not to contest his usual warm-up event. In 2002, Lleyton Hewitt triumphed at Queen’s Club before winning Wimbledon.

Berdych is bidding to become just the third Czech man in the Open Era to reach the Wimbledon semifinals, alongside Jan Kodes (1972-73) and Ivan Lendl (1983-84, 1986-90). There has not been a Czech man in the Wimbledon semifinals since Lendl in 1990. Berdych is bidding to go one step further than Radek Stepanek last year, who lost at the quarterfinal stage to Jonas Bjorkman 76 46 67 76 64.

Berdych broke into the Top 10 for the first time on 23 October 2006 after a successful year. As well as reaching the final at Halle (see above), he was runner-up at Mumbai and a semifinalist at Adelaide, Stuttgart and AMS Madrid. He plays here just outside of the Top 10 at No. 11.

This is Berdych’s highest-ever Grand Slam seeding: his previous best was No. 10 at 2007 Roland Garros.

Against Top 5 opponents, Berdych has a 5-11 record with three of the five victories being over Nadal (see head-to-head above). He made headlines with his first victory over a Top 5 player when, ranked No. 79, he upset No. 1 Roger Federer 46 75 75 in the second round at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Berdych’s record against Top 5 players is poorer at majors. He has never beaten a Top 5 player at a Grand Slam event, losing all four such matches he has played.

Berdych faces his second lefthander of the tournament today and is on a five-match winning streak against lefthanded players. Overall, he has a 19-5 record against lefthanders, his last loss being to Nadal at AMS Monte Carlo this year.

Berdych is currently on an eight-match winning streak having won the Halle title last month. Prior to Halle, his highlight of 2007 was winning four matches in a row to reach the semifinals at AMS Monte Carlo (l. Rafael Nadal 60 75). He had further clay court success, reaching the semifinals at Munich, quarterfinals at AMS Rome, and also won three matches at the World Team Cup in May to help Czech Republic reach the final.

In Grand Slam play this year, Berdych reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open as No. 13 seed, losing to Nikolay Davydenko 57 64 61 76, but lost in the first round of Roland Garros as No. 10 seed to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 75 64 64. He has reached the round of 16 at all of the other three majors.

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Second seed Rafael Nadal made a dramatic comeback against Mikhail Youzhny in round four in Wimbledon.

Nadal was on Court Two 24 hours after his five-day epic with Robin Soderling, and it looked a match too far when he dropped the first two sets.

But the Spaniard battled back to win 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 and set up a quarter-final with Tomas Berdych.

There were also fourth-round wins for Novak Djokovic and Marcos Baghdatis.

On a raucous Court 13, Baghdatis gave the crowd plenty to cheer with a straight-sets win over Nikolay Davydenko.

A large Cypriot contingent cheered the 10th seed’s every move as he saw off the Russian sixth seed 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to reach the last eight.

Baghdatis will face Djokovic, who beat Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 7-6 4-6 7-6, in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic won the first two sets in a tie-break, proving once more that he is the best when it comes to tie-breaks. Hewitt came back in the third set winning it 6-4. In the break between the third and the fourth set Djokovic asked for a medical time-out as he was complaining about the pain in the back.

In the fourth set Hewitt broke Djokovic’s serve twice, but Djokovic answered both times, second time being when Hewitt was serving for the set at 5-4. In the end they played a tie-break which Djokovic won to secure an epic victory for him.

Czech 14th seed Berdych beat Jonas Bjorkman 6-4 6-0 6-7 (6-8) 6-0.

(source: BBC)

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Third seed Andy Roddick completed a win over Paul-Henri Mathieu on Centre Court on Wednesday.

The American was about to serve for a two-set lead when rain stopped play on Tuesday evening, and he duly served it out in Wednesday’s opening game.

Roddick then dropped serve in the third but recovered from 5-3 down, and then 5-0 down in the tie-break, to win 6-2 7-5 7-6 (8-6).

He will play Richard Gasquet or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last eight.

Describing his remarkable comeback in the third-set tie-break, Roddick said: “He doesn’t have a serve where he’s going to hit aces the whole time, so I never felt completely out of it.

Nadal completed what he described as “the toughest match of my career” by winning the fifth set on Wednesday, saving a break point before converting his fifth match point in game four of the day. The pair had begun with the knock-up on Saturday evening, enduring seven rain breaks across five days, before Nadal won 6-4 6-4 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 7-5.

Rafael Nadal said that Wimbledon officials “did not think about the players” after his rain-interrupted win over Robin Soderling. It had been a bad-tempered clash, with Soderling mimicking Nadal at one stage and the pair barely shaking hands at the end.

But the Spaniard was unhappy with how the weather situation had been handled.

“I don’t understand why we don’t play on Sunday when the weather was OK,” said Nadal

Novak Djokovic beat Nicolas Kiefer in the final third-round match.

The pair resumed at one set all and fourth seed Djokovic immediately took control on Court Two, breaking twice to wrap up the third set.

The Serb missed numerous break points in the fourth and was taken to a tie-break before winning 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 7-6 (7-5), and he faces Lleyton Hewitt in round four.

The 20-year-old’s view on the scheduling debate was clear. “What I didn’t agree with is that there was no play on Sunday,” he said. “I think it’s a bad decision by the organisers.

(source: BBC)

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Wimbledon champion Roger Federer took just 11 minutes to wrap up a convincing 6-2 7-5 6-1 win over Argentine teen Juan Martin del Potro.

Federer returned with a two-set lead and soon secured his 50th straight win on grass. Federer’s next opponent is Marat Safin on Friday.

There were also wins for Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt and Novak Djokovic.

Federer enjoyed a fairly easy victory against the 18 year old Argentininan as he was in control through the whole match.

Federer dominated the match with a number on unretunable serves and some amazing shots that Del Potro had no answer to. He is very pleased with this victory, but he expects a tough challenge from Marat Safin in the third round.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Nadal enjoyed an easy day’s work with a 6-2 6-4 6-1 second-round victory over Austrian Werner Eschauer.

The Spaniard produced some outstanding groundstrokes on his way to a comfortable win and will now face 28th seed Roger Soderling of Sweden, who beat Frenchman Sebastian Grosjean 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2.

It was a good day for the seeds in general, though sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko had to battle from two sets down to reach the third round as he finally beat Australian Chris Guccione 3-6 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-2.

Fourth seed Djokovic needed four sets to get past world number 67 Amer Delic, finally seeing off the American 6-3 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4). Delic played very well, especially on the net, but Djokovic prevailed with his famous all around game hitting some great shots off the base line and playing well on the net.

Australian 2002 champion Hewitt steamrolled through his second-round match against Italian Simone Bolelli 6-2 6-2 6-1.

American ninth seed James Blake enjoyed a second straight-sets win to move into the third round, defeating Romania’s Andrei Pavel 6-4 6-3 6-3.

The 15th seed Ivan Ljubicic needed just over an hour-and-a-half to get past Czech Jan Hernych 6-4 6-3 6-4 in his rain-delayed second-round match.

Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu faces the big Croatian next after he beat David Ferrer 6-3 6-4 6-3.

Big-serving Australian Wayne Arthurs defeated the Spanish 11th seed Tommy Robredo with a 6-3 7-6 (7/5) 6-3. But, it is a known fact that Robredo is playing very poor on grass.

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Teenager Paul Baker, the ball boy in Wimbledon, is probably the happiest person in the world, especially among tennis fans.

He will never forget the day when,at the age of 14, he was a ball boy on Centre Court for the 2006 final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. All those months of training, all those 12-hour days at the tournament were worth it. He said:

“When Federer won the final point, I was right there, I got goosebumps,”

“You have a smirk on your face afterwards. You cannot describe the feeling – but it is a good one,” he said.

“I loved every minute of it and I wanted to do it again,” he said after coming off centre court as ball boy to Federer in his opening match at this year’s tournament.

The London schoolboy said that it was too late for him to start practicing tennis at the age of 15 and added: “Nadal started when he was four, Federer when he was five.”

He also mentioned the contrasting temperaments of the two best players in the world:

“Federer is very gentleman-like. Nadal is more wanting to win every point, that sort of passion for the game,”

It was his debut appearance at Wimbledon last year and as he said: ” It was very intimidating but a great experience. I was shivering with nerves the first time.”

Being a ball boy requires lightning-fast reflexes, and Paul had the ultimate test when he was on court with Andy Roddick:

“I did Roddick once. You have got to move as soon as you see the ball coming,” he said.
“You don’t realise how hard they are hitting the ball until you have been a ball boy. It is coming straight at you.”

(source: Reuters)

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Roger Federer’s task of trying to win five Wimbledon titles in succession begins on the Centre Court on Monday, when he takes on the Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili.

It may look a less than demanding start for Federer because the 22-year-old Gabashvili is making his debut in Wimbledon. Gabashvili played in France, but he had to retire in the first round.

Federer will be the first leading player to experience the Centre Court at Wimbledon minus its roof and test his sliks before the latter stages of the tournament come.

Marat Safin, the former US and Australian Open champion whose best Wimbledon was in 2001 when he was a quarter-finalist, should be Federer’s third round opponent. Tommy Haas of Germany, seeded tenth, is likely to be in line for the fourth round followed by fifth seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in the quarter-finals.

Third seed Andy Roddick, who has lost in two Wimbledon finals to Federer, begins against fellow American Justin Gimelstob and has the British No.1 Andy Murray, seeded eighth, in his half of the draw.

Murray – who has still to decide whether he will be able to compete because of wrist injury – beat Roddick at Wimbledon last year. Should they meet this year, it would be at the quarter-final stage.

Second seed Rafael Nadal, who won his third successive French Open title earlier this month, begins his challenge against the world no. 36 Mardy Fish of the USA, who has twice been in the third round at Wimbledon.

Fellow Spaniard, Tommy Robredo should be Nadal’s fourth round opponent but it is the seventh seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, in his fourth Wimbledon, who could present problems to Nadal in the quarter-finals. Berdych, 21, had his best Wimbledon last year with a place in the fourth round where he was beaten by Federer.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, in his highest seeded place, fourth, is in line to play Nadal at the semi-final stage having been beaten by the Spaniard at the same stage of the French Open. Djokovic has the prospect of the heavy serving Croat Ivo Karlovic in the third round.

Lleyton Hewitt, winner in 2002 and the only other champion in the draw apart from Federer, is seeded sixteenth and is in the same half of the draw as Nadal. Hewitt opens against the British wildcard entry Richard Bloomfield.

(source: Wimbledon)

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