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Roger Federer wins 15th Grand Slam in record-breaking Wimbledon Final

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The match finally ended and now we have a new leader in the list of all time Grand Slam wins in men’s tennis. Howard Fenrich on Yahoo! Sports has the story:

On and on they dueled, Federer trying for a record-breaking 15th major championship, Roddick striving for his second, in a Wimbledon final that required more games than any Grand Slam title match in the considerable annals of a sport dating to the 1800s.

“Ten games all, final set,” intoned the chair umpire. Then, “Twelve games all, final set.” And, still later, “Fourteen games all, final set.”

They were each other’s equal for four full sets and nearly the entire 30-game fifth set. Until Federer, far more experienced in such matters, finally edged ahead, breaking Roddick’s serve for the only time in the 77th and last game to close out a 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 victory Sunday.

The epic match—the fifth set alone lasted more than 1 1/2 hours—gave Federer his sixth Wimbledon title. Add that to five from the U.S. Open, three from the Australian Open and one from the French Open, and Federer’s Grand Slam total rises to 15, one more than Pete Sampras, who flew in from California on Sunday morning to be on hand.

“He’s a legend,” Sampras said. “Now he’s an icon.”

An amazing feat, congratulations to both the athletes involved, but especially to Roger Federer, who also regains his number one ranking with this victory. Now the great question in men’s tennis must be how to adjust the rankings of the all-time greats. We should take Sampras’ opinion into account, clearly he feels Federer is about the greatest ever. But is he? I still feel uncertain in that statement. Am I alone in that sentiment?

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Federer, Roddick to meet in Wimbledon final

After bating Tommy Haas on Friday, five-time champion Roger Federer will face Andy Roddick in the 2009 Wimbledon final for a chance at a record 15th Grand Slam title.

If Federer wins Sunday, he will be the third player to win six or more Wimbledon titles. William Renshaw and Sampras both won seven.

“I’m very proud of all the records I’ve achieved because I never thought I would be that successful as a kid,” Federer said. “I would have been happy winning a couple tournaments and maybe collecting Wimbledon. It’s quite staggering now having reached … my sixth straight Grand Slam final. Having so many things going for me now again, opportunity again on Sunday, it’s fantastic.”

If he beats Roddick, Federer will regain the No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal, who beat him in the Wimbledon final last year and missed this year’s tournament with knee problems.

Federer said he is feeling less pressure this year than in 2007 when he equaled Bjorn Borg’s record of five straight Wimbledon titles. Borg was among those watching Friday from the Royal Box.

It’s a shame Nadal and Federer won’t be squaring off in the Wimbledon final again this year, but Roddick is certainly an intriguing underdog. Maybe he’ll catch Federer sleeping and pull off the upset.

Wimbledon: men’s semis are set

haas

Each of the men’s quarterfinals match-ups took place today, and when it was all said and done, Roger Federer, Tommy Haas, Andy Roddick, and Andy Murray had advanced to the next round.

Federer, closing in on his sixth Wimbledon title, reached his 21st consecutive semifinal at a Grand Slam tournament and extended his winning streak to 17 matches with another vintage performance on his favorite Centre Court.

It was Federer’s ninth win in 10 matches against Karlovic, who was playing in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Federer’s next opponent will be Germany’s Haas, who upset fourth-seeded Novak Djokovic 7-5, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-3 to advance to his first Wimbledon semifinal. The 31-year-old Haas was the oldest player in the quarters, while the 22-year-old Djokovic was the youngest.

The third-seeded Murray swept Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 to reach his first Wimbledon semifinal and keep up his bid to become the first British player to win the men’s title since Fred Perry in 1936.

Murray will face the sixth-seeded Roddick, who served 43 aces and outlasted 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4 in the day’s most competitive match. Hewitt battled back from two sets to one down, before Roddick broke for 5-4 in the fifth and then served out the match — which ended after 3 hours, 50 minutes when the Australian popped up a forehand half-volley past the baseline.

Haas led Federer two sets to love in the fourth round of the French Open, only to lose in five. He said he hopes to make amends on Friday.

“That would be nice,” he said. “I’ll give it my best shot. There’s not much he (Federer) can’t do. He’s obviously the favorite to win the title. I’m going to go out there and try to annoy him a little bit and see what happens.”

With Nadal out of the tournament, I assumed the final four would look something like Federer, Murray, Roddick, and Djokovic or Federer, Murray, Roddick, and Gonzalez. I don’t think anyone predicted 34th-ranked Tommy Haas to make it this far, let alone beat the fourth-ranked Djokovic in professional tennis’ most popular tournament. At 31, Haas is the oldest player out of the remaining four. He’s never made it to a Grand Slam final in his career and he unfortunately has to defeat Roger Federer if he wants to break that streak. However, he’s played well against Federer in the past, nearly taking the Swiss at the French Open before being outmatched.

You can catch the women’s semifinals tomorrow at 12 PM on NBC. The men’s semis will then take place on Friday at the same time and station.

Australian Open Roundup

openRound 4 of the Australian Open begins today. The first Grand Slam of the tour calendar has already seen its fair share of surprises, disappointments, scuffles, and nudity. I’ve recapped the highlights below.

The top-ranked men advance

Of the top ten-seeded men in the tournament, only David Nalbandian failed to advance, losing to unknown Yen-Hsun Lu in the second round. The others, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsongo, Gilles Simon, Andy Roddick, Juan Martin del Potro, and James Blake have all made easy work of their competition. Really, things won’t get interesting until the Quarter Finals.

Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic are eliminated

It must be said that both matches in which they lost have been the most exciting matches of the tournament. Unseeded 20 year-old Carla Suarez Navarro, in only her fourth Grand Slam main draw appearance, defeated Venus Williams in the second round. It was an amazing match and both women gave it their all. Navarro, however, was able to consistently return Venus’ 192 mph serve and never seemed to tire. Williams was on the defensive during the final set and Navarro’s fine shot placement carried her to victory. The crowd congratulated the awestruck youngster with a standing ovation. Suarez has since advanced to the Fourth Round where she will face twenty-first-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues.

It was less than a surprise and more of a disappointment to watch Ana Ivanovic fall to twenty-ninth-seeded Alisa Kleybanova. For those who follow tennis, it’s perplexing that Ivanovic is ranked fifth in the world judging by the way she played yesterday. Strictly speaking, the Serbian lost because she couldn’t find her serve. It was painful to watch Ivanovic toss the ball five feet away from herself. She double faulted more than a few times and rarely was able to hold serve. All in all, the three-setter was intense, but undeniably sloppy. While Ivanovic made 50 unforced errors, Kleybanova committed 44, 24 of which came in the opening set alone. It’s time for Ana to take a break and try to get herself into the mindset that helped her win the French Open in 2008.

Serbian and Bosnian fans clash after Novak Djokovic/Amer Delic match

Last year at the Australian Open, Serbian and Croatian fans attacked each other with flagpoles, bottles, and boots. This year, the Balkan rivalry consisted of Serbians and Bosnians. After Serbian Novak Djokovic’s victory over Bosnian-American Amer Delic, fans from both nations pelted each other with chairs.

A streaker stalls a Williams sisters doubles match

Although this article claims the gentleman was out there for only 14 seconds, broadcaster Patrick McEnroe has him at nearly a minute. While Serena and Venus laughed bashfully during the incident, tournament officials aren’t taking this lightly. In 1993, a man stabbed Monica Seles on court during a match in Hamburg, Germany. Still, it looks like this guy was just having a good time.

Coverage of Day 7 will air at 7 PM ET and 12:30 AM ET on ESPN2.

2008 Year-End Sports Review: What We Think Might Happen

It’s time to look ahead to 2009 and play a little Nostradamus.

Last year, we predicted that God would anoint the “Devil-free” Rays World Series Champions (ding!), that Brett Favre would play another year or two (ding! – sort of), that Isiah Thomas would be canned (ding!), and that Kobe would be playing for a new team by the trade deadline…

Granted, that last one didn’t come true, but how were we supposed to know that the Grizzlies would trade Pau Gasol to the Lakers for an unproven rookie and a bag of peanuts? Our occasional inaccuracy isn’t going to keep us from rolling out another set of predictions – some serious and some farcical – for 2009 and beyond, including President Obama’s plan for a college football playoff, Donovan McNabb’s new home and the baseball club most likely to be 2009’s version of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Read on, and in a year, we guarantee* you’ll be amazed.

*This is not an actual guarantee, mind you.

Don’t miss the other two parts of our 2008 Year-End Sports Review: “What We Learned” and “What We Already Knew.”

Michael Vick will play for the Oakland Raiders next season.

Once NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell allows suspended quarterback Michael Vick to re-enter the league, let’s be honest, there’s really only one team that will take a shot on the convict: the Oakland Raiders. Sure, the Raiders would have to possibly give up a draft pick because Vick will still technically be property of the Falcons, but with Matt Ryan on board, Atlanta would probably be willing to give Mikey up for a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos…snack size. With Vick on board, JaMarcus Russell could shift to tight end or full back or offensive tackle or something. Or, Vick could play wide receiver! Or running back! Think of the possibilities! The Oakland Raiders will be the most unstoppable team in the league! That is, of course, until Vick gets the itch for his old hobby. – Anthony Stalter

The Nationals and Pirates become the official AAAA teams of their respective divisions.

After finishing at or near the bottom of the division since the franchise’s move from Montreal, Major League Baseball executives analyze the entire Washington Nationals player system and conclude that they have no chance of fielding a competitive team in the near future. In the boldest decision of his tenure, Commissioner Bud Selig demotes the team’s Major League roster to AAAA status, a phrase long used by baseball personnel to describe players that are too good for the minors but not good enough for the majors. In an added twist, Selig designates that the team’s assets are fair game for all four remaining teams in the National League East, as a means of creating parity. In order to keep the number of teams even in each league, Selig also downgrades the Pittsburgh Pirates, losers of 94 or more games since 2005, to AAAA status as well. It will be six weeks into the regular season before an NL East team claims any of these former Pirates or Nationals. – David Medsker

Barack Obama will have a plan in place for a college football playoff by 2016.

He has already spoken out twice in favor of an eight-team playoff format for college football. Granted, there are more pressing concerns for the President-elect – the economy, the war in Iraq and a forward-thinking energy policy, just to name a few – but there’s no reason that Obama can’t appoint a “Playoff Czar” to get the conference presidents and the bowl organizers together to hash out a system that works for everyone. Are the bowls worried about losing money? Rotate the semifinals and the final amongst the four bowl cities. Are the conferences worried about losing money? They shouldn’t be – the ratings for an eight-team playoff would dwarf the ratings the current system is getting. And better ratings means more money. This is something that 85%-90% of the population can agree on, and that doesn’t happen often. Mark our words – President Obama will make it happen, especially if he gets a second term. – John Paulsen


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