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?

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Federer captures French Open, ties Sampras


He finally did it!

On his fourth try at Roland Garros, Roger Federer defeated 23-seeded Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 on Sunday to win The French Open. It was his 14th major title, tying him with Pete Sampras. Federer became the sixth man to complete a career Grand Slam.

After hitting a service winner for championship point, Federer fell to his knees, overwhelmed by the moment. The fans gave him a standing ovation and he responded by raising his arms in victory.

Playing in a cool, windy, drizzling day, Federer raced to quick lead over Soderling by sweeping the first four games of the opening set. Federer kept Soderling off balance all match with his superb ground game, as he pinpointed shots to both corners and slipping in the occasional drop shot for points all match long.

Andre Agassi, the most recent men’s player to complete a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open 10 years ago, awarded the Swiss native with the championship trophy. Federer acknowledged that it was nice to finally be on the podium as a winner.

Couch Potato Alert: 6/5

This could be a weekend of “firsts.” Calvin Borel could become the first jockey to record a Triple Crown on two separate horses. With “The King of Clay” Rafael Nadal out of the picture, Roger Federer could capture his first Grand Slam championship at the French Open. And Kobe Bryant could be halfway home to his first NBA title without Shaq.

All times ET…

NBA Finals
Sun, 8 PM: Orlando Magic @ Los Angeles Lakers (ABC)

Stanley Cup Finals
Sat, 8 PM: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Detroit Red Wings (NBC)

MLB
Sat, 4:10 PM: Philadelphia Phillies @ Los Angeles Dodgers (FOX)
Sun., 1:30 PM: Texas Rangers @ Boston Red Sox (TBS)
Sun., 8 PM: Philadelphia Phillies @ Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN)

French Open
Fri, 5 AM: Women’s Semifinals (Tennis Channel)
Fri, 10 AM: Men’s Semifinals (NBC)
Sat, 9 AM: Women’s Finals (NBC)
Sun, 9 AM: Men’s Finals (NBC)

Horse Racing
Sat, 5 PM: The Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park (ABC)

Nadal’s 31-match streak ends at the French Open


Sometimes greatness is taken for granted. Fans expect Florida or USC to be playing for a national title year in and year out, the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox battling for American League pennant every season. When it doesn’t take place, it throws the sports universe off base.

Well, another sports gimme has ended. Rafael Nadal’s unbeaten streak has ended at the French Open.

The four-time defending champion lost to Sweden’s Robin Soderling 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the round of 16 on Sunday, thus ending his 31-match winning streak at Roland Garros.

Here is the New York Times match account:

In his 31 previous matches at Roland Garros, Nadal had never been pushed to five sets in victory. He had not lost so much as a set in any match here since the 2007 final against Roger Federer, but Soderling changed all that with a varied but consistently aggressive approach: clubbing forehands with or without clear openings, serving big under pressure with the exception of the second-set tiebreaker and pushing forward to net on a semi-regular basis.

But Nadal, the Spaniard from Majorca who is seeded and ranked first, was clearly not the same irresistible force as usual. He failed to generate depth consistently, which allowed Soderling the space to keep applying pressure. He made errors off the ground from positions where he would normally generate winners or high-bouncing shots to the corners. He also looked, at times, less convincing than normal on defense, as Soderling made him stretch and then stretch some more.

But Soderling, an erratic player with a reputation for cracking under pressure, still had to summon the gumption and the shots to do what no other player had done in the five years since Nadal emerged with his topspin forehand, two-handed backhand and matador’s brio. With Nadal down, 1-2, in the fourth-set tiebreaker, Soderling ripped a backhand pass that Nadal could not handle and on the next point, Nadal made an uncharacteristic unforced error with his backhand.

It was 4-1, and it would soon be 6-1 when Nadal’s forehand pass hit the tape. Nadal would save the first match point he had ever faced at Roland Garros with a forehand winner down the line, but on the next point, he moved forward and pushed a forehand volley just wide.

Soderling pumped his fist, quickly shook Nadal’s hand and then the umpire’s hand, as well. Only then did he show just how much this moment meant to him, running back on court, throwing back his closely cropped head and roaring with delight before tossing his racket into the stands.

Earlier this season, Nadal defeated Soderling in straight sets on the clay surface at a tournament in Rome. The Swede has never advanced this far in a Grand Slam tournament before, as the deepest he went was the third round at the 2007 Wimbledon.

Nadal-Federer renew their rivalry at the Australian Open

Their epic Wimbledon final from last summer seems like a long time ago but Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will renew their rivalry once again this evening as they vie for the men’s title at the Australian Open. This will be their seventh showdown in a Grand Slam final and it’s quickly becoming a must-see rivalry not unlike the Red Sox-Yankees or Lakers-Celtics for all sports fans.

Losing his #1 ranking in the world after Nadal’s thrilling victory in England has been a major catalyst in the revitalization of Federer’s career. He has added intensity and motivation to his smooth, effortless return volley game and hasn’t lost a match at a Grand Slam tournament (including a U.S. Open title last September) since Wimbledon.

Federer will be making his 18th appearance in a Grand Slam final and a victory Sunday evening in Melbourne will put him even with Pete Sampras at 14 Grand Slam tournament victories. His hard-court surface record is also very impressive, as Federer has won seven of the last eight Grand Slam tournaments played on that surface, including winning five straight U.S. Open titles.

The tennis world anointed Nadal as the new king of the sport last summer. The young Spaniard emerged at a time when tennis needed someone to challenge Federer’s dominance. Nadal will never emulate Roger’s play on the court, his sweating and grunting and his fist-pumping, emotional style are all big parts of his game. His top spin forehand shot will be taught to future generations for years to come.

The key to Nadal’s long-term success will be his play on hard-court surfaces. On clay, he has no equal, but Nadal’s improved play on the hard court and grass last year helped him take over tennis’ #1 ranking. Winning Wimbledon was a memorable moment in Nadal’s career, but winning on the hard-court in Melbourne tonight would be just as impressive.

The tennis world was bracing for an unknown to knock off Nadal or Federer, but for the past two weeks they reminded everyone just how good they are. The match is on in the wee hours of Sunday morning (3:30 AM ET) on ESPN2 here in the U.S., but the network is replaying the match later in the morning.

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