ROGER FEDERER v RAFAEL NADAL
6-0, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3
It was a rematch of the games top 2 players that have repeatedly battled each other for the championships of Dubai, Monte Carlo, Rome, Paris and now in London. Nadal has been victorious in all of the 2006 matches, but Federer was hoping that the grass courts of Wimbledon would provide the advantage this time against the clay court beast from Spain.
Nadal was not even expected to make the finals since he had won only a few matches on grass prior to this tournament.
But Nadal showed that his furious topspin baseline game can translate to the grass too. He beat past champions Agassi and Hewitt on the way to the finals and waited for his opponents to tire and feed him a short ball which he would then pounce on as he advanced to the net for a smash of a volley winner.
At the final, Federer came out strong and took the first set easily. Federer seemed to want to flatten his shots and hit them harder than normal to send a message to Rafael that center court of Wimbledon was the Swiss' territory.
But Nadal was able to come back and challenge Roger for the rest of the match. Roger Federer won a fourth successive Wimbledon title and buried a few demons by beating Rafael Nadal on the final Sunday of Wimbledon 2006.
Federer seemed intent at beating Nadal at his own game, staying at the baseline for almost the entire match.
Federer was close to winning the whole tournament without dropping a set which had not been done since Borg in 1976,
but Nadal was able to take the third set in a tiebreak.
At the end, Federer seemed relieved to know he was still the best on grass and that he had sent Nadal a message that he had solved the puzzle of how to play the Spanish left-hander. The win against Nadal, whom had beaten Federer the past 5 meetings, turns the matchup into a real rivalry and provides a lot of confidence for Roger if they meet again during the upcoming hard court season.
But Nadal also seemed very pleased with his extraordinary effort after making the finals of both Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Battling exhaustion, the change from clay to grass, and many difficult oppponents was an immense challenge.
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