Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wimbledon: The Finale

Here I am slacking again since it's been a week since Wimbledon ended and nary a word from me (in this blog at least) on the results. Suffice it to say I was very, very happy with them and like the French Open, two of the sport's greats made history with their wins and made their many, many fans a cause to celebrate.

The king of tennis is back as Roger Federer won his 7th Wimbledon title last Sunday tying him with Pete Sampras and extending his all-time Grand Slam tally at 17 trophies. His win over 4th seed Andy Murray, who was seeking to be the first British man to win a Grand Slam singles title in 70+ years, also catapulted Federer back to the no. 1 ranking also tying him of Sampras' record of holding the top ranking for 286 total weeks. Federer is assured of breaking the record next week. For my part, I always knew Federer had another Slam or two in him, but the way Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have dominated the game in the past couple of years I was almost certain Federer would never be back as world number one. He proved everyone wrong the same way his finals opponent Murray proved everyone wrong when he handled the great pressure of reaching his first Wimbledon finals surprisingly well. In fact, Murray started off flawlessly winning the first set and continuing to be aggressive in the second set. It was Federer however who lifted up his game just in time, breaking late in the second set to win just before the rain forced the tournament to close the roof for the very first indoors Wimbledon Men's finals. Once the roof was closed, Federer was able to play more aggressively with his serves, with his forehands, and more interestingly with his net play. A 20-minute 10-deuce game on Murray's serve in the middle of the third set where Murray fell a couple time and Federer broke serve set the tone. Before you knew it, Federer was lifting the trophy while Murray tearfully and endearingly expressed his immense appreciation for the support he has received. To be continued at the Olympics?

Of course Serena Williams would beat third seed Agnieszka Radwanska at the Wimbledon finals to claim her 5th Wimbledon title (and 14th overall), tying her with her sister Venus Williams. After all, in the past 12 years, one of the Williams sisters have won Wimbledon 10 times. To make it sweeter, both sisters went on to win their 5th Ladies' Doubles title last weekend as well. Serena's superb serve (106 aces for the tournament's best including the men) and under-appreciated court smarts carried her through the final, but Radwanska also didn't give up. While Radwanska must have been overwhelmed by the huge occasion of her first Grand Slam final, losing the first give games of the match, she hung in there especially in the second set as Serena's level dipped a bit. Radwanska's Hingis-esque game helped her squeak out the tight second set, but Serena would recover and just the way the match started, would win the five straight games to win. Certainly the drive to win was great for Serena who had to overcome many health concerns during the past couple of years. With the Olympics looming, do not count out either Williams sisters to claim yet another gold medal. As a final tribute to Serena and Roger, it must be noted that both are over 30 years old which in tennis terms is close to retirement, but both of them have proven time and time again that age is just a number. Certainly Nike must be ecstatic this summer as four of their marquee players--Maria Sharapova, Nadal, Serena, and Federer--won Grand Slams and in historic and impressive fashion to boot!

In doubles, joining the Williams sisters who took out sixth seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, are wildcards Frederik Nielsen and Jonathan Marray who beat fifth seeds Robert Linstedt and Horia Tecau for the Men's Doubles title. Marray thus becomes the first British man to win a Grand Slam title giving the county some much needed emotional boost. In Mixed, Americans and second seeds Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond defeated fourth seeds Leander Paes and Elena Vesnina. Again, with the Olympics being held at the All-England Lawn and Tennis Club in a couple weeks, we'll be seeing the same people in the same setting but this time playing for gold. And I will be there to watch it live! Exciting times to be a tennis fan!

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