Wimbledon 2010 Finals Live Blog: Tomas Berdych vs. Rafael Nadal
It's the 4th of July and the gentlemen's final is at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club. Although American fans may yearn for an old-school Andre Agassi-Pete Sampras all-American final, we will instead be treated a Czech versus a Spaniard: not exactly the ratings bonanza NBC was hoping for.
Tomas Berdych makes his first appearance in a Grand Slam final, while Rafael Nadal is making his 10th Grand Slam final appearance, including his fourth at Wimbledon. A win for Berdych could usher in a new king of grass, especially if he is able to beat the top three seeds in the tournament, a feat never before accomplished in a Grand Slam tournament.
A win for Nadal will be his eighth career major title, placing him alongside Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, Fred Perry, Ken Rosewall, and Ivan Lendl. It will also mark his second back-to-back wins at the French Open and Wimbledon. He first won both titles in the same year in 2008.
Bleacher Report will be live blogging the finals as each man looks to make history on a day of history celebration in America.
Berdych will look to continue cracking big forehands against Nadal, and he'll likely need to have the service match of his life in order to become champion. He has shown great heart against both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, but Nadal is a completely different animal.
No player covers the court like Nadal, and he may have the best return of serve on the tour. He has made the transition from the King of Clay to perhaps having the best movement on grass courts as well. However, can Nadal's health hold up against a man that has yet to show any signs of being intimidated or overwhelmed by the big stage?
Rafael Nadal wins his second Wimbledon title: 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
The victory gives Nadal his eighth career Grand Slam title, and he did a somersault on the court afterwards to celebrate his win. The win makes Nadal a major in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments. Only the US Open has alluded him in his career. Can he complete the career Grand Slam in New York later in the summer?
Critics will still see him as a glorified clay court specialist, but no player on the tour fights harder on the court, while making his opponents work harder. Andre Agassi may have been nicknamed The Punisher, but Nadal punishes his opponents every bit as much as Agassi once did.
Nadal is now 8-2 in Grand Slam finals, the best winning percentage of any player in history. The win moves Nadal into the top 10 players of all time, but he is far from done winning majors, as he is only 24-years-old.
10:22 Nadal may smell blood and the title. He takes the first point on Berdych's serve. Two points from the win after a forehand winner from Nadal. Berdych hits a beautiful drop shot that Nadal can't get over the net, 15-30. After a big serve, Berdych brings it back to 30-30.
A backhand that sails long gives Berdych a game point, 40-30. Nadal wrong foots Berdych with a forehand that drops in to level it at deuce. A forehand that lands long gives Nadal a championship point. Nadal brings Berdych into the net and then passes him to win his second Wimbledon championship, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
10:18 Berdych is in desperate need of a break of serve, but drops the first point as his forehand lands wide. Nadal's pressure is overwhelming for Berdych, 30-0 after another forehand goes wide for Berdych. A wicked forehand gives Nadal three game points. Nadal wins the game after a service winner, and now he's just one game away from his second Wimbledon title.
10:15 Berdych needs to be aware of the situation. A Nadal break means the Spaniard will serve for the match.
Berdych wins the first point, but Nadal takes the second with a big forehand winner, 15-15. Berdych takes the next two points and is up 40-15. Nadal hits a great passing shot that barely drops in, 40-30. A backhand that sails long gives Berdych the game, 4-4.
10:11 Nadal drops the first point of his serve, hitting a cross-court forehand into the net. Two errors give Nadal the lead, 30-15. Nadal continues to play puppeteer on Berdych, running him all over the court, 40-15. A backhand that sails long gives Nadal the game. 4-3, still on serve.
10:09 Berdych again looks good on his serve, jumping out to a quick 40-0 advantage. He holds after a backhand error, 3-3. Berdych needed an easy hold, and he now must really dig in against the Nadal serve and hope for a break.
10:05 Nadal wins the first point on his serve with a big serve up the middle. Another backhand into the net gives Nadal a 30-0 lead. An errant forehand by Nadal makes it 30-15. Two more big serves give Nadal the lead. His serve has yet to be broken, 3-2.
Here's a thought to ponder: Does Nadal become the favorite for the US Open with a win today? He's never won the tournament, but he's playing great tennis and he should come into the event healthy this year. A win in New York would give Nadal the career Grand Slam.
10:01 Berdych wins the first point on his serve, but there's no belief in his face or actions that show he believes he can come back and make the match competitive. A backhand error by Nadal gives Berdych a 30-15 lead. Berdych wins the next two points to hold serve. 2-2 in the third set, new balls.
9:53 Nadal wins the first point on his serve after a Berdych forehand goes into the net. There's finally a glimmer of hope for Berdych after he wins a point at the net to make it 15-30. After exchanging errors, Berdych has a break point on Nadal's serve, 30-40. Berdych dumps a backhand into the net to level the game at deuce.
After getting a game point, Nadal sends a forehand wide and we're back at deuce. Berdych cracks a big forehand on Nadal's serve but it sails long, giving Nadal game point. Another forehand error by Berdych gives Nadal the game, 2-1.
9:50 Berdych hits a big forehand to win the first point on his serve. He is still moving well, but Nadal is still making him work far too hard just to hold serve, 30-15. Berdych holds serve, but one gets the sense that it's just a matter of time until Nadal breaks him.
9:45 Berdych opens the third set with another groundstroke error, hitting a backhand wide. Nadal drops a couple points, but holds serve to open the set. 1-0.
9:41 Nadal wins the first two points on the Berdych serve. DANGER time for Berdych. A forehand hit long by Berdych gives Nadal three set points. Another forehand error gives Nadal the second set. Nadal is up two sets to none in less than 90 minutes. Does Nadal close out the third in a quick fashion or can Berdych prolong the match?
9:36 Berdych hits a big forehand and wins the first point on Nadal's serve. Can the Czech get a break late in the second set?
Berdych is hitting the ball cleaner and he is really cracking the forehand, but hits it into the net. Nadal makes it 30-15 after a good serve up the middle followed by a giant forehand. 40-15 after another service winner. A backhand hit wide by Nadal makes it 40-30.
Nadal makes Berdych run again. Rafa has won 26 of 29 points in the second set on the ad-court. 6-5, Rafa.
9:32 Berdych comes to the net and hits a drop shot against Nadal, but Nadal gets to it easily and wins the first point of the game. Again Berdych comes to the net, but he wins the second point, 15-15. Two big serves give Berdych a 40-15 lead. A second serve ace gives Berdych the game, 5-5.
9:29 Rafa quickly jumps to a 30-0 lead. Berdych's forehand seems to be loosening up, but he still can't compete against Rafa's defense and movement. An easy hold at love for Nadal. Berdych needs to stay focused and sharp, careful not to drop his next service game as it will give Nadal a two sets to none lead.
9:25 Nadal wins the first point on Berdych's serve with a big backhand. A 126 mph serve quickly evens the game. Berdych's serve has greatly improved, and it's keeping him in the set. He's dropped only three points on his serve in the set. Still on serve, 4-4. Can Berdych break through and break Nadal's serve?
9:21 Berdych dumps a forehand into the net on the first point of Nadal's serve. The way Nadal moves around the court is remarkable. No one can ever call him simply a clay court specialist. He works his way to the net and easily holds serve. 4-3.
9:17 Berdych hits a forehand wide to open his service game, 0-15. He follows it up by quickly winning the next two point, 30-15. An ace out wide gives Berdych two game points. Nadal hits a backhand wide and Berdych holds, 3-3.
9:13 Rafa continues to run Berdych all over the court. He's up 30-15, and Berdych is breathing quite heavily. Nadal again hits his serve wide and runs Berdych across the court with a big forehand that he can't catch up to. A forehand hit long by Nadal gives Berdych a glimmer of hope, 40-30. Nadal keeps the pressure on Berdych and moves him around the court. Berdych hits another forehand into the net. Rafa holds and is on serve still, 3-2.
9:10 Berdych holds at love. He's playing well on his serve, but can't break through against Nadal on the Spainard's serve. 2-2.
9:05 Nadal hits a forehand into the net to give Berdych this first point. Berdych goes for a drop shot but it clips the top of the tape and drops on his side. Nadal holds dropping only one point. 2-1 Nadal.
9:02 Berdych quickly goes up 30-0. He desperately needs an easy service game. He gets it and holds at love. Berdych must weather the storm against Nadal or Rafa may run and hide. 1-1 on serve.
8:52 Nadal opens up the second set by hitting a forehand long, but follows it up with an ace. Berdych needed a great service day to beat Nadal, but is only dropping in 48% of his first serves as opposed to 64% for Nadal. Nadal chunks a forehand into the net, giving Berdych a break point. Berdych needs to convert to stay in the match mentally.
Nadal saves the breaker with a wide serve and a forehand winner. A double fault gives Berdych another break point. Another slicing serve out wide brings it back to deuce. Nadal gives Berdych a third break point with another forehand unforced error. Berdych dumps another forehand into the net to bring it back to deuce.
Nadal gets a game point with a big service winner. Nadal hits his third double fault and we're back to deuce. A couple big forehands give Nadal another game point. Berdych sprays a forehand wide, and Nadal saves three break points to hold serve. 1-0.
8:48 Berdych drops in an ace to make it 15-30, but hits a forehand long after a long rally to give Nadal two set points. One set point saved with an ace. After a big return on a second serve, Berdych hits his forehand into the net. First set to Nadal, 6-3. This could be a quick day for Berdych if he isn't careful.
8:46 Nadal wins the first point on Berdych's serve. Nadal is moving Berdych all over the court as he wins the second point. Two points from the set for Rafa.
8:43 Nadal easily holds his serve with the new balls. 5-3 for Nadal. Berdych needs to be careful not to get broken again and allow Nadal to open the second set with his serve.
8:38 Nadal wins the first point on Berdych's serve on a sailing forehand from the Czech. 0-30 as Berdych hits a backhand long. Danger time for Berdych. Nadal's defense sets up a forehand passing shot for a winner. 0-40 for Nadal. Nadal gets the break. New balls coming on the Nadal serve. 4-3 Nadal with the break of serve.
8:34 Nadal is able to hold his serve for the third time, but Berdych won a couple points, including a huge forehand on a Nadal second serve. 3-3.
8:29 Berdych has another easy hold on his serve. 3-2, midway through the first set.
8:25 Nadal drops in another ace to open his second service game. NBC shows Bjorn Borg. Has the guy ever smiled in his life? Berdych wins a couple points, but Nadal holds to go 2-2.
8:20 Berdych hits a forehand wide to drop the first point on serve for either man. McEnroe criticizes Berdych for looking to his coach to challenge a serve that was called out. Replay showed the ball was in, and he goes on to hold his second service game. 2-1, Berdych.
8:17 Nadal opens his service game with an ace. One of the biggest reasons for Nadal's sustained greatness has been an improved service game. Andre Agassi was never able to turn into a giant server, but Nadal has added enough pace to be a very good server. Berdych hits a couple unforced errors, and Nadal holds at love. 1-1.
8:15 Berdych opens the match with his serve and wins the first point after a nice rally of mainly forehands. Berdych easily holds his serve to open the match. 1-0. Rafa to serve.
8:10 NBC comes back from commercial to show the pre-match walk in the halls for the players. Again, Nadal is literally bouncing through the halls. Good thing Berdych was in front or else he may have just quit before taking the court. Where does Nadal get all the energy from? Perhaps Spain's victory in the World Cup yesterday really fired him up to go out and dominate today.
8:08 And the onslaught of GEICO commercials with the caveman playing tennis begin. They were funny in the beginning, but they begin to become quite annoying after two weeks of constant play.
8:06 McEnroe compares Berdych's forehand to Soderling and Juan Martin del Potro. There's no doubt it's a huge weapon, and Berdych will need it to win today.
8:04 The players head to the middle of the court for pictures. Is any player more intimidating that Nadal? He's in constant motion just to let his opponents know he's ready to battle all day if needed. As always, John McEnroe enjoys Nadal's sprint to the baseline to begin warm-ups.
8:00 CT NBC's coverage begins with Rafael Nadal hopping in the hallway to warm up. Tomas Berdych is in front of him and the players are led onto the court to a roaring ovation from the appreciative crowd. This point cannot be stressed enough today: Berdych could become the first man in history to take out the top three seeds at a major. It's almost impossible to imagine overcoming the top three in any tournament on the tour, let alone a the greatest tournament in tennis.
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