Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rafael Nadal Breaks the Wimbledon Jinx!

Phew! I can't take it any more... The tournament left me searching for my breath. Never ever would've one seen SUCH a competitive Championships. It was marriage of all emotions in a pool of exceptional tennis.

There were severe serves, thumping forehands, astounding backhand passes, glorious volleys, loud screams, hunger for the title, comeback of Safin, downfall of top seeded ladies, unseeded semifinalists, the irritation of rain followed by the joy of impeccable tennis.

The home fans got a lot to cheer about, when Scot Andy Murray reached new heights at the Wimbledon when he came back from two set down to beat Richard Gasquet. The whole arena, Court 1, or Centre court, I'm not sure, erupted beyond the chair umpire's control. All his "Thank you, silent please" would go unheard. As my friend puts it to me, the Henman Hill has now transformed into Murray Mountain or, rather, Mount Murray. But the ice on the mountain melted soon when he was defeated by the eventual champion. Rafael Nadal.

French Open saw Dinara Safina help people locate her on the tennis map. Wimbledon saw her unseeded, 70+ ranked (then) big (I mean BIG) brother... Maraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat Safinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. The big guy is back and defeated three seeded players in a row only to find him face the finalist, the defending Champion, Roger Federer. But, in his matches, he surely made a point that he ain't done for good, yet. O' boy! He was a treat to watch! What a game he had when he stunned centre court, defeating third seed Serb straight sets!!! Seeing was believing!!!

Federer was on song, but, tad less authoritative than what he was last season. He started off against his pal, Hrbaty, who is retiring, and later faced Safin, and beat him without sweating much to set a clash, once again with the Spanish brigade, Rafa! Federer's serves were picture perfect, as usual, and his volleys, forehand and backhand saw an improvement over his French Open Finals' performance. He would shrug off tough situations with a streak of aces, I call it "His Bag of Aces". He hadn't dropped a set until the Final.

The Spaniard, Rafa, on the other hand was at his brutal best, the form of his life. he was finding angles that one wouldn't even have tried out in a video-game!!! His typical forehand slash and that powerful backhand... Wow! Stars have say he returns the serve with great force, which is his plus. SO, it was quite easy for him to knock out the names and fame, including the raring Murray, and unseeded semifinalist Schuttler to get himself one step closer to his dream.

The Finals... Oh boy!!! On one hand, history was waiting to be etched into the record books (Borg was out there too) and on the other hand, Rafa was wanting to etch a few moments of glory into his career book, and become a more complete player, rather that being called a "Clay Court Specialist"

Rafa was charged up for it, got the first set in his kitty. Federer, in the second set, broke Nadal early, only to be broken twice soon to make it 2 sets to one in favour of Rafa. So, Rafa may have it soon, but with no breaks yet in the 3rd set, it was heading for a tie breaker, but heavens opened up. When they returned, Federer stepped up his game and got the third set. Exactly the same happened in 4th set and now, it was going to the last set. It was played with such intensity that, to break was to win. It was becoming dark in the Centre Court or Wimbledon in SW London, but, the two out there in the middle were not calling it quits! The cameras were disallowed to click during play as flashes fell on the court like lightning strikes. But then, the moment was nearing when Rafa broke Federer. He was serving for the championships. Having missed two chances already to get both his hands on the trophy, this was his best chance.

HE DID IT, he got it, he got what he wanted, he got Glory! He had finally displaced Federer's name from the Trophy's face. He was emotional, and very happy, climbing to his near and dear in the Reserved enclosure. Federer admitted that Rafa deserved it. Rafa was so exhausted after that, he opted out of the the Stuttgart Mercedes Cup (he's the defending champion there), just to chill and drool in those wonderful moments.

In the ladies' section, the top seeded players were knocked one after the other. Tanasugarn and Zheng were carrying the Asian hopes, having defeated even the likes of Ivanovic, but were eventually defeated by the Williams sisters. The sisters went on to meet each other at the finals, for the 3rd time in the Wimbledon. And, the defending champion, and the elder of the two, Venus had the last laugh, defeating her sis in straight sets in a gruelling clash. The Williams' family cash box was not closed yet, as the two came together to defeat Stosur and Raymond to collect the doubles title too! It was fitting to call it The Williams' Wimbledon.

The tall second seeded pair of Zimonjic and Nester got better of Bjorkman and his mate to lift the Gentlemen's Doubles in emphatic fashion. They had beautiful chemistry and had excellent strategies to overcome their opponents. They had a tough time in the semifinals to get rid of Paes and Dlouhy, but, when they had emerged victorious in the 5 setter, they were confident of the title.

So, all in all... What a breathtaking tournament it was! El Classico! Phew! Every match seemed to be like a Final! There was no giving up, it was fight till the end.

Wimbledon at its best!

1 comment:

  1. well written baggi...but a small mistake..fedrer did not take the second set..he was down 2-0 when the rain interrupted and then came back to take the 3rd and the 4th set to play the fifth!!