Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press
Four great matches did not make our cut, but they were spectacular shows and memorable to diehard tennis fans. And they were significant enough to warrant consideration:
Andy Murray vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber (French Open third round): Murray was showing signs late in the clay-court season of playing like his championship-best. In this match, he endured against a tough veteran who could play aggressive tennis at net.
Part of this match's appeal was the contrast of styles, but in the end it was Murray's grit that won the day, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 12-10. It also propelled Murray on to the semifinals before he was obliterated by Rafael Nadal.
Grigor Dimitrov vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov (Wimbledon third round): It looked like Dolgopolov's sensational serving and go-for-broke mentality would knock off Dimitrov, but the Bulgarian dug himself out of danger in the fourth set and finished off an impressive five-setter 6-7, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. Clearly, Dimitrov's fitness and belief have grown, and this match spurred him on to the semifinals.
Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer (Indian Wells final): Federer dominated the first set, fueled by some timely net play and good pressure against the Serbian. It seemed that he would finish off Djokovic again, having defeated him at Dubai with a similar attack. But Djokovic turned the match around and eventually held Federer off in the third-set tiebreaker for the 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) victory.
Djokovic immediately hugged co-coach Marian Vajda as a sort of validation for their way of playing tennis. How important would this victory be for the Djokovic-Federer Wimbledon final?
Rafael Nadal vs. Andy Murray (Rome quarterfinal): Murray came out firing, playing his best set of tennis in almost a year. He stepped in, hit with aggression and purpose and forced Nadal to elevate his game with more risk and power. The third set was a thriller, and it looked like Murray, up a break, would win.
Nadal fought back as he has so many times, but he had to earn everything in the 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory. It was a boost for Murray and a good effort for Nadal as he went on to the final.