Federer wins fifth Wimbledon title

Monday, July 9, 2007

World number one in tennis Roger Federer has defeated Spaniard Rafael Nadal to win his fifth consecutive Wimbledon mens single title.

The 25-year-old Swiss maestro overcame the second-seeded Nadal in five sets, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2. The final took 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete.

Federer, who lost to Nadal in the 2007 French Open final less than a month ago, equalled Swede Bjorn Borg's record of five straight Wimbledon titles. Borg was men singles champions at the All England Club between 1976 and 1980. Borg attended the match and met with Federer afterwards to offer his congratulations.

The match was very evenly contested throughout all five sets. Federer won the first set in a tiebreak, 9-7, which featured a series of uncharacteristic errors from both players. Both players had broken each other early in the first set.

Federer was in trouble on serve twice in the second set. He managed to recover from 15-40 down in the sixth game with three successive aces - Federer ended up serving 24 aces in the match to Nadal's one. However, he couldn't repeat the effort in the tenth game, and Nadal broke to close the set out 6-4.

The third set went on serve for all twelve games, with no breaks leaving the score at 6-all. Federer won the tiebreak 7-3.

The fourth set was entirely different again. Nadal charged out to a 4-0 lead, aided by the assistance of the Hawkeye appeals system. Federer, who has been an outspoken critic of the technology, snapped at the end of the third game after a Nadal ball was called 'out' but overturned after Hawkeye revealed that 2 mm of the ball had touched the back of the line. "How in the world was that ball in? ... Look at the score now. This system is killing me," he said in the direction of the umpire. Nadal went on to win the set 6-2 with no further breaks of serve.

The players entered the final set, the first for Federer in his five-year reign as Wimbledon champion, and the defending champion had to scrap to save his first two service games. Down 15-40 in both, he managed to hold on, and it appeared to deflate Nadal. Nadal was then broken by Federer - his first break since the first set - in the sixth game to lead 4-2, with Federer producing some high-quality shots to break the serve. He held serve to love to lead 5-2, and then broke Nadal on his second match point to win the final.

The match was the third-longest men's final, at 3 hours 45 minutes, in the history of the Wimbledon championships. Federer has now won eleven Grand Slam titles, and has a record of 11-2 in Grand Slam finals. The two losses were both against Nadal and both at the French Open, the only one of the four Grand Slams he is yet to win.