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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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We saw Roger Federer lifting the Wimbledon trophy for the fifth consecutive time, and thus the question remains can someone beat him on the grass surface.

After watching the Swiss master in Wimbledon, Tim Henman thought that one man alone could not get the better of Federer. “If you take Roddick’s serve,” Henman said, “and Agassi’s returns and my volleys and Hewitt’s speed and tenacity, then you’ve probably got a good chance against Federer. That’s a lot of people involved in beating one player.”

So, let us try and create an ultimate player, the one who could maybe stand a chance against Federer on Central Court.

Goran Ivanisevic’s first serve

The rest of Ivanisevic’s game may have been prone to falling apart depending on his mood, but he could always rely on his serve. Tall at 6’4” (three inches taller than Federer), and left-handed, the Croat could blast aces to a band playing. Unlike Andy Roddick, who just belts the ball for all he is worth, Ivanisevic could thump it, kick it, spin it and place it – and always it was devastating. When he won Wimbledon in 2001, he racked up a record of 212 aces over the course of the two weeks and when he was facing Tim Henman in that epic semi final spread over three rain-sodden days, he was as nervous as a kitten and yet still managed to serve his way into the final.

Pete Sampras’s second serve

Maybe not the most obvious of the American’s talents, but it was the one that brought him 14 grand slam titles, seven of them in SW19. He beat Jim Courier to win his first Wimbledon title in 1993 and Courier could not believe what he was facing. “I thought I played pretty well but it’s hard to beat a guy who plays two first serves on every point for the entire match,” the runner-up said. In that match, the average speed of his second serve was 110mph yet despite that, he only double faulted four times over four sets. The fans may not have noticed Sampras’s second serve, but his opponents dreaded it.

Andre Agassi’s return

Gifted with perfect vision and lightning reflexes, there was not a serve that Agassi could not read and defuse. He took the ball so early that he virtually picked it off his opponent’s strings and like a master of the martial arts, Agassi would take the force of the serve and turn that power back on the server. Backing up every break with a service game that was never flashy, never overdone but always as solid as a rock, he was a ferociously aggressive counter puncher.

Boris Becker’s intensity

Becker’s winning match face was a scary sight. With those pale blue eyes fixed on a point somewhere in the middle distance during the change overs, he was living in a place of his own making, a place where no one else was allowed to intrude. In his pomp, he would stride onto Centre Court as if he really believed he owned it and the opponent was simply not welcome. Players face Federer with that sinking feeling, hoping that they will not be humiliated by the Swiss, but against Becker, they were made to feel surplus to requirements.

Stefan Edberg’s movement

He was possibly the quietest and most unassuming of champions, but, as the old saying goes, the quiet ones are the worst. No one was ever sure quite how or when Edberg made his move to the net but he did it like greased lightning. In the blink of an eye he went from preparing to start his service action to hanging over the net like a preying mantis. Every part of his game was beautiful to watch and all of it depended on his ability to glide across the grass as if on castors.

John McEnroe’s volley

Maybe it is the effects of age or maybe it is just the old tapes of matches from a bygone era, but McEnroe seemed to move in slow motion at the net. Where others rush to snap their volleys away, Mac the Mouth appeared to have all the time in the world, holding the ball on his racket strings until his opponent had committed himself, leaving McEnroe to put the ball into the space left behind. He made it look so simple. Helped enormously by a left handed serve, his approach to tennis was the same as his approach to life – take it head on and attack.

Jimmy Connors’s fight

Connors was pathologically incapable of giving in, even when the cause seemed lost. In 1987, he came to Wimbledon with a leg injury and, aged 34, he was supposed to be in the twilight of his career. When he slumped to a 6-1, 6-1, 4-1 deficit against Mikael Pernfors in the fourth round, he should have been down and out. But with his pride wounded, Connors began to fight and, running away with 18 of the last 25 games, he cussed, hollered and roared to a five set win and was only beaten in the semi finals. He was not done as in 1991, aged 39, he scrapped his way to the US Open semi finals and only retired the following year.

Bjorn Borg’s ice-cold reserve

The man with a resting heart rate that was only marginally above unconscious, Borg could not be rattled on a tennis court. If they had dropped the bomb beside him during a match, he would have finished match point before looking up to see what all the fuss was about. His cold reserve was catching, too, and not even the volatile McEnroe would dare disturb the calm with an outburst when he was playing the Swede. Refraining from sex and shaving (an odd combo) during Wimbledon, he allowed nothing to disturb his focus on winning the title. The effort was exhausting, though, and he retired at the age of 26, mentally spent.

Now, the only thing that remains is to name this player.

(source: scotsman)

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The 20 year old Serb has done it one more time. Novak Djokovic defeated Marcos Baghdatis in the quaterfinals of Wimbledon 7-6 7-6 6-7 4-6 7-5 to set up a clash with the number 2 seed Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. Nadal previously brushed aside Tomas Berdych.

Serb Djokovic, 20, took the first two sets on tie-breaks, winning the second 11-9 with his first set point after Baghdatis had missed six of his own.

Cheered on by his vocal Cypriot fans, Baghdatis won the third tie-break and came from behind to win the fourth set.

But third seed Djokovic broke Baghdatis’s serve at 5-5 in the decider before serving out for a 7-6 7-6 6-7 4-6 7-5 victory.

Once Djokovic had snatched the second set and gone a break up in the third, it looked as if he was on course for a straight-sets win.

But Baghdatis then reeled off five games in a row and although he was broken serving for the set, this time he held his nerve in the tiebreak.

In the fourth set, Djokovic was again a break up but once again 22-year-old Baghdatis fought back to force a deciding set.

Games went with serve until 5-5 when Baghdatis put a simple forehand into the net to give Djokovic the chance to break.

He then calmly served out for victory but there will be no time to celebrate as the Serb, who needed treatment for a back injury during the match, will be back on court at 1100 BST (12CET) on Saturday.

“After what I have been through in these last two weeks – and after playing 9½ hours in two matches, I don’t know how I have managed,” said Djokovic. “I’m playing the best tennis of my life but I’m pretty exhausted.”

(source: BBC, photo: getty images)

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Head-to-head: Djokovic leads 1-0

2007 AMS Rome Clay Djokovic 62 75

Djokovic is bidding to reach his second successive Grand Slam semifinal, having reached his first Grand Slam semifinal at 2007 Roland Garros. He is contesting his third Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Djokovic defeated 2002 champion and No. 16 seed Lleyton Hewitt 76 76 46 76 in the round of 16. Previously he defeated Potito Starace 60 63 64 in the first round, Amer Delic 63 36 63 76 in the second, and Nicolas Kiefer 76 67 62 76 in the third.

Djokovic is bidding to become only the second Serbian player to reach the Wimbledon semifinals after Slobodan Zivojinovic in 1986. Zivojinovic, playing under the Yugoslav flag, went on to lose in the 1986 semifinals to Ivan Lendl 62 67 63 67 64.

This is Djokovic’s career-best performance on grass. He has played four previous events on the surface, with his previous best showing a round of 16 appearance at 2006 Wimbledon.

Through his round of 16 victory here, Djokovic has now accumulated a 45-10 win-loss record so far for 2007, placing him second behind Rafael Nadal (49-7) for total number of match wins.

Djokovic is the youngest player to reach this year’s quarterfinals, at 20 years and 39 days (age at end of event).

Djokovic warmed up for Wimbledon by reaching the round of 16 at Queen’s. As No. 4 seed, after a first round bye, he defeated Robert Kendrick 36 63 62 in the second round, before falling to Arnaud Clement 26 63 64.

Djokovic is making his third appearance at Wimbledon. On his debut in 2005, as a qualifier, he reached the third round before losing to No. 9 seed Sebastien Grosjean 75 64 57 64; and then in 2006 advanced to the round of 16, losing to No. 7 seed Mario Ancic 64 46 46 75 63.

Djokovic posted his best Grand Slam result at this year’s Roland Garros, as No. 6 seed advancing to the semifinals, where he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal 75 64 62. He advanced to the last eight of a major for the first time at 2006 Roland Garros, retiring with a lower back injury while trailing Nadal 64 64.

As well as losing to the eventual champion at this year’s Roland Garros, Djokovic also fell to the eventual champion at this year’s Australian Open, losing to Roger Federer 62 75 63 in the round of 16.

Djokovic has won three tour titles in 2007: Adelaide (d. Chris Guccione 63 67 64), AMS Miami (d. Guillermo Canas 63 62 64) and Estoril (d. Richard Gasquet 76 06 61), taking his career total to five titles. He also reached the final at AMS Indian Wells (l. Rafael Nadal 62 75).

Djokovic achieved a career-high ranking of No. 4 on 11 June 2007.

Baghdatis is bidding to reach the semifinals for the second successive year. He is contesting his third Grand Slam quarterfinal, having won both previous quarterfinals at the 2006 Australian Open and 2006 Wimbledon.

Baghdatis upset No. 6 seed Nikolay Davydenko 76 63 63 in the round of 16. Previously he defeated Ernests Gulbis 36 64 63 62 in the first round, Nicolas Devilder 60 76 67 62 in the second, and No. 23 seed David Nalbandian 62 75 60 in the third.

Following his round of 16 victory over Davydenko, Baghdatis now has a 9-10 career win-loss record against Top 10 players.

Baghdatis warmed up for Wimbledon by reaching his first grass court final at Halle, where he lost to Tomas Berdych 75 64. He then withdrew from ’s-Hertogenbosch with a foot injury. Baghdatis has now won 16 of his last 19 grass court matches, having also reached the semifinals at 2006 ’s-Hertogenbosch.

Baghdatis is making his third consecutive Wimbledon appearance. He had his best result here last year, reaching the semifinals by defeating Andy Murray 63 64 76 in the last 16, and No. 6 seed Lleyton Hewitt 61 57 76 62 in the quarterfinals, before losing to No. 2 Rafael Nadal 61 75 63. He lost to Mikhail Youzhny 62 36 61 64 in the first round on his debut in 2005.

2006 was an outstanding year for Baghdatis. Before reaching the Wimbledon semifinals, he advanced to his first Grand Slam final at the 2006 Australian Open, as world No. 54 recording three consecutive wins over Top Ten players – No. 3 Andy Roddick in the round of 16, No. 8 Ivan Ljubicic in the quarterfinals and No. 4 David Nalbandian in the semifinals – before falling in the final to No. 1 Roger Federer 57 75 60 62.

This year Baghdatis won the second title of his career at Zagreb on indoor carpet (d. Ivan Ljubicic 76 46 64 in the final), and reached finals at Marseille on indoor hard (l. Gilles Simon 64 76), and at Halle on grass (see above). In Grand Slam play, he reached the second round at the Australian Open (l. Gael Monfils 76 62 26 60), and round of 16 at Roland Garros (l. Igor Andreev 26 61 63 64).

Baghdatis moved back to Limassol, Cyprus this year, having trained in Paris since the age of 13 on an Olympic Solidarity Youth Development Progamme Scholarship. He was also a member of an ITF Development Touring Team in 1999, funded by the Grand Slam Development Fund.

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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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Head-to-head: Davydenko leads 1-0

2006 AMS Miami Hard Davydenko won 26 62 75

Davydenko has reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon for the first time, and has now appeared in the round of 16 at all four majors. He defeated fellow Russian Evgeny Korolev 76 64 76 in the first round, Chris Guccione 36 57 76 64 62 in the second, and Gael Monfils 63 75 63 in the third.

This is Davydenko’s sixth appearance at Wimbledon. Prior to this year, Davydenko had won just one match here, that being in 2005, when he defeated Scott Draper 76 64 63 in the first round, before losing in the second round to Jonas Bjorkman 76 21 ret. (wrist injury). Last year, he lost to qualifier Alejandro Falla 26 76 76 63 in the first round.

Davydenko is bidding to reach his fourth consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, and his eighth in total. He has never lost in the round of 16 at a Grand Slam.

If Davydenko defeats Baghdatis, he will complete a set of Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances. He has made quarterfinal appearances at each of the other three majors: for the past three years at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros, and at the US Open last year.

Davydenko’s best Grand Slam results are three semifinal finishes, achieved at Roland Garros in 2005 and in 2007, and the 2006 US Open.

It is six years since a Russian reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals, Marat Safin doing so in 2001. There have never been two Russians in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

Before Davydenko’s victories in the first three rounds here, he had won just two tour-level grass matches in his career, from 14 such matches played. Following his first round victory here in 2005, his second tour-level grass court win was at Halle just over two weeks ago, when as No. 2 seed he defeated Jurgen Melzer 76 46 62 in the first round, losing in the second round to Florian Mayer 64 64.

Although Davydenko has yet to win a title in 2007, he has had some good results on surfaces other than grass this season. He was a semifinalist at Roland Garros for the second time, and reached the quarterfinals at the 2007 Australian Open. Away from the Slams, Davydenko’s highlights are semifinal finishes at Doha, Rotterdam and AMS Rome, and quarterfinal finishes at Barcelona and Portschach.

Baghdatis defeated Ernests Gulbis 36 64 63 62 in the first round, Nicolas Devilder 60 76 67 62 in the second and No. 23 seed David Nalbandian 62 75 60 in the third.

To view the rest of the information about Marcos Baghdatis click on the related post: Wimbledon match preview: Baghdatis v Nalbandian

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