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Wimbledon 2008 - Federer Vs Nadal: An Epic final

Category: , , , By FreaKo


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If the 2007 Finals of the Wimbledon was considered as one of the best finals, this one was a magnum-opus of all grand-slam finals. You definitely could not have asked for more. All the elements were there, screaming fans, rain interruptions, over-ruling by the chair umpire, challenges by the players, and even fading light threatening too push the game to a Monday. And at the center of all this, Federer and Nadal, fighting it out in what could be dubbed as the best Grand Slam Finals ever (or atleast the best since I started following the game in 1985).

As the darkness swooped in on the center court, Nadal slumped on to the court on his back as Federer found the net on a short forehand, to become the new champion at Wimbledon. Nadal's win broke Federer's record of not having lost a match on grass courts since 2002 and also made him the become the first player to win both the French Open and the Wimbledon in the same year, ever since Borg who did the same 28 years ago.

Both Federer and Nadal, like in many of their previous clashes, tried to demolish each other without showing any disrespect to their opponent. But soon, as the match progressed, the spectators knew that a battle of epic proportions were in the making. Nobody moved from their seats, both in the grandstands of the Center Court or at the adjoining Picnic hill, where hundreds had thronged in to see the game on the big screen put up there, braving the two rain breaks and almost total darkness that seemed to hover above the lawns and I guess the scene was same in millions of homes where people were glued to their television sets. The drama twisted and turned as it meandered, thorough, each point, game and set before this unadulterated sea-saw battle ended in the final quarter of the fifth hour, a few minutes before the sun bid good night to city.

Nadal's seemed to have been running away to a straight sets win as he won the first two sets, before Federer produced some of his magical skills to stay in the match. Nadal matched Federer point for point, slice for slice, shot for shot and both of them were stretched on the baseline, with Federer making most of the moves to the net. Both of then held serves towards the end of the third set as they pushed it to a tie-breaker, which Federer won without much of a sweat. At this point Federer seemed to be gaining some of the lost confidence which Nadal had shattered at Roland Garros. But Federer showed why he is the champion of the game as he clawed back into the match with some sparkling passes and some excellent net plays. Without giving a quarter, both the players pushed the fourth set too in to a tie-break. A couple of unforced errors from Federer saw Nadal racing ahead to 5-2 on service, just two points away from the golden trophy. Nadal double faulted first and then found the net for the second point, to give Federer space to get back. And a champion does not lose chances gifted. Federer produced two stunning serves to take the lead by a point. Both of them did not give any quarter as the tie breaker stretched the fourth set further with rain clouds hovering above as though waiting for one of them to give up. Both of them pushed each other to the edges of the court, danced and stumbled through the center of the court, before Federer closed the set at 10-8, in the process splitting the match right through the middle.

Even the rain clouds seemed to have forgot to precipitate as the drama proceeded towards into the fifth set and towards the fifth hour.  Both of them making each other earn each and every point. And when the score board showed 4 hours and 56 minutes, with everyone on the edge of their seats, the clouds gave in for the second time in the match, with the scores tied 06wimby_7 at 2 Sets each, 2 Games each and 40-40 in the fifth game of the fifth set with Federer serving. Such was the state of the match, almost throughout and when the match resumed after the rains, nothing seemed to have changed. Both the players seemed have some secret reserve energy in them, which they seemed to switched on. The fifth set went on without a break. 12 games into the fifth, the ref reset the number of challenges to 3 each for the next twelve games. But these two were on a different league all together to be bothered by the number of challenges left. And as the game entered the final quarter of the fifth hour, Federer snapped in the 15th game as Nadal, broke his service. With hardly much light left, Nadal stepped into serve for the championship. And soon he had two championship points. Nerves were high, not just for the players, but for the spectators, the referee, the lines men and women, the ball boys and girls. Nobody could afford to make a mistake now. Such was the heights of the match. A down the line passing shot by Federer saves one match point. Federer had not been through these situations much in his career, but had enough in this one match alone. Federer was unable to control one of the returns from Nadal, hit the short forehand into the net, as Nadal, slumped into the court amid flashing light bulbs from the cameras announcing the end to the battle which starter around three in the afternoon Local time.

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The mutual admiration the both have for each other is what makes the contest more interesting and the crowds riveted to this form of pure and unadulterated game. A look at the match stats would show how Federer gave the match away, one in which he seemed to be the shadow of himself at finals at Roland Garros this year. Federer made 52 unforced errors as compared to 27 by Nadal and he could break Nadal's service only once, that too early in the second set. However, nothing to be taken away from Nadal, who stretched in each point to negate what would have otherwise been pure winners from Federer.

For Nadal, it was a dream come true, with four previous Grand Slam titles in the form of French open, this was the one he always wanted to win as Federer announced amidst applause from the crowd that he would be back next year as he acknowledged that he was beaten on the best court by the toughest opponent. Nadal, walked in to gather the trophy in the darkness of Wimbledon, amid the bright light of hundreds of camera flashes, which now he possess after three attempts. Finally all his, as he said that Federer was still the champion and number one and that he had won it five times, but for himself it was his first and it was special.

 

5 comments so far.

  1. mindbodysoul July 7, 2008 at 4:32 PM
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  2. freakywiz July 7, 2008 at 7:10 PM
    The match was really interesting .. especially after federer's improved comeback
  3. Joel July 8, 2008 at 11:10 AM
    Federer was just awesome in his play but Nadal was unstoppable. The match was just spectacular. Especially the when the match was resumed after the rains. But I fell bad for Federer that he lost. :( He was depressed though of his loss.
    I hope he wins the Wimbledon 2009.
  4. FreaKo July 8, 2008 at 12:48 PM
    @ Freakywiz n Joel: It was one of those matches that you could talk about to your grand children. (Interestingly, Start Sports was showing the previous epic final - Borg Vs Mcnroe during the rain breaks)

    The 52 unforced did Federer in... otherwise what would have been altogether a different scenario. But Nadl too deserved to win... if it was not this year... later atleast..Sorry I but i am a lil bit biased to Federer. ;) but Happy that it was Nadal who beat him and not someone like Djoko, who had a Freak Streak at the OZ open..
  5. ReadnRyte July 9, 2008 at 4:02 PM
    Congratulations to Nadal, but Fed is goin to be back. to all those people who write the epitaph of such a sublime player, who has been in all the Grand Slam semi finals since more than a few years need to understand what it means to do that consistently.

    Also, Fed had around 57 unforced errors in the matchand if not for those 50+ unforced errors...Nadal would still be looking for that Wimbledon trophy. I am biased...but has there been a more complete player than Federer? Fed is looking human this year, but that is only when you compare it to his own stratospheric record. Even now his win-loss record is much better than that of Sampras. And all those proclaiming that Nadal is the actual Number 1, should look at what Fed did to achieve his status of Number 1...he didn't get it as a gift, he worked towards it and extended his lead over all others by clinically destroying all in his sights. Well, if Nadal needs the Number 1 title, he needs to earn it...and it is not just a matter of a couple of Grand Slams on the trot, he needs to be consistent thru a longer period of time.

    Don't get me wrong...I like Nadal for his singleminded focus, his ability to retrieve what would be natural winners for his opponent and his humility off court, but in my opinion he has way to go before he can be called the undisputed Number 1 of the world.

    But, one of the best match (in any sport that I follow) I have seen in a long time.

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