Monday, July 07, 2008

What a weekend for tennis!

Post Details:
• Wimbledon provides some great tennis
• Clip Reel from the Championships


The weekend (and even the fortnight of tennis matches) has gotten me pumped up for Aug. 8, when the XXIX Olympiad begins at Beijing. The results of Wimbledon are just as inspiring as the storied games beginning in 32 days – where upsets reign and underdogs soar. Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake were out in the first round. Russian Maria Sharapova, 2004 women’s single champion, found herself out in the second round from a quick victory by fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva. Marat Safin became the first Russian man to make it to the semi-finals for the first time ever. Chinese player Zheng Jie, ranked 133 in the world, had to write a letter to plead her way into the Championships, and she was the first person from her country to make it to the semis of a major – and gave Serena Williams a notable run.

Williams went on to battle her sister, Venus, Saturday for the women’s championship. After Venus won her fifth title 7-5, 6-4, the sisters joined together to win their third doubles title 6-2, 6-2. After such a memorable day of tennis, who knew it was just a warm-up for the men’s final?

It was dinnertime before Breakfast at Wimbledon was over yesterday.

The last point was played as darkness fell – at 9:16 p.m. local time. Rafael Nadal won his first Wimbledon title by sending five-time (in a row) defending champion Roger Federer home as runner-up 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7.

Nadal lost to the Swiss Federer in the 2006 Wimbledon final in four sets, and the 2007 final in five. On Sunday, a “changing of the guard” took place on Centre Court, from Roger Federer to Nadal, NBC commentators noted. Now Spain – led by Nadal – has its first male singles Wimbledon title since Manolo Santana took the trophy home in 1966.

History was made at the All England Club.

Yesterday’s match was the longest singles final in Wimbledon’s 131-year history at four hours and 48 minutes. Nadal is also first man to win the French Open and Wimbledon in same year since 1980 (since Bjorn Borg). Another impressive stat noted by the Associated Press: No man since 1927 had come back to win a Wimbledon final after losing the first two sets, and none had overcome a match point to seize victory since 1948. Federer looked poised to break those records but felt just short in his first Wimbledon loss since 2002. But what a match it was and what a superb fortnight of tennis we saw. Here’s hoping my favorite sport continues its surprises.

During a rain delay Sunday evening, NBC Sports aired a very well-done clip reel (this is something to look forward to at Beijing):


Links:
NYT Article on Men’s Final
NBC Sports.com
Wimbledon.org

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