World's Latest Sports Events

Olympics News, Football, Cricket, Free live cricket, Cricket live scores, Premier League football clubs, Gymnastics, Swimming, Athletics, Chelsea Football Club, Athletics, Sports, Beach Volleyball, Football Plays, Football Schedule, Car Racing, Cycling, kabadi, 2008 Beijing Olympics, Latest sports news

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On Tennis: Nadal-Federer topped a year of great matches

The 2008 tennis season didn't disappoint. Au contraire. It was one of the most memorable in years.

Rafael Nadal ended Roger Federer's reign at the top, the two gave fans probably the best match of all time, women's great Justine Henin unexpectedly quit, and the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, rekindled their rivalry with four dramatic encounters. They each played all four majors, too, the first time in seven years that happened.

To boot, Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic became Grand Slam champions, while Jelena Jankovic capped Serbia's emergence by ending the campaign as the women's No. 1. Andy Roddick endured a frustrating time thanks to injuries, though his U.S. Open performance and stellar spring brought respite.

Here's a closer look at some of the finest matches, and moments, of 2008:

That classic: Nadal's five-set win over Federer in a pulsating five hours in the Wimbledon final fascinated on numerous fronts.

Wary of his opponent's forehand, Nadal almost exclusively served to Federer's backhand in the first three sets; Federer went 1-for-13 on break points, with most chances squandered early; and for the first time in memory, Nadal choked briefly, delivering a feeble double fault leading 5-2 in the fourth-set tiebreak.

There was so much more. A few points after Nadal delivered a stunning forehand pass down the line to set up a match point in the fourth-set tiebreak, Federer went one better by saving a second match point with an outrageous backhand down the line. Undaunted, Nadal kept it together in the fifth, serving second, cleverly springing his first serve-and-volley in the final game. Adding to the drama were two rain delays that stretched proceedings into the evening; if Nadal hadn't ended matters in the 16th game of the fifth amid fading light, a Monday resumption beckoned.

The other Wimbledon final: Due to Nadal and Federer showing off, many forgot about the women's final at the All England Club between Venus and Serena Williams. That was, however, also a spectacle.

The pre-match hype intensified courtesy of losing semifinalist Elena Dementieva, who, not for the first time, suggested the winner was predetermined. "For sure it's going to be a family decision," Dementieva uttered when asked about the finale. Prodded by the women's tour, she later changed her opinion.

In any case, it didn't take long to figure out there was no fix and sisterly love was on hold. Early in the first set with Venus a lame duck at the net, Serena hammered a passing shot straight at her. She didn't apologize, either.

Serena tossed her racket to the ground in disgust and refused to give her victorious opponent too much credit afterward.

"For me there's nothing to be satisfied about," a glum looking Serena said in her postmatch news conference.

Serena got her revenge in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

A-Rod's spring: Cutting ties with coach Jimmy Connors, Roddick played like a man unburdened at the Dubai Tennis Championships in March. In a strategy sadly gone missing since, Roddick let rip from the baseline -- rather than relying on defense -- and downed Nadal and Djokovic on back-to-back days. The big serve also came in handy.

About a month later, things got even better.

Roddick ended his 11-match losing streak to Federer, dating to 2003, at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

"I came in knowing that no one has beaten me 12 times in a row," Roddick deadpanned. "I figured I was due. He hadn't missed a ball in a crucial moment for about six years against me."

An ankle injury forced Roddick to skip their rematch at the Masters Cup last month.

The late, late show: Late endings at the U.S. Open aren't unusual, with matches routinely finishing past midnight.

Lleyton Hewitt's third-round win over engaging Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis at the Australian Open beat that by a mile. They only stepped on court about midnight, thanks to a backlog created by Federer's unexpected marathon against Janko Tipsarevic, an enigmatic Serb.

And wouldn't you know, Hewitt and Baghdatis went five exhilarating sets. Carrying the hopes of a nation on his small shoulders, Hewitt took a two sets-to-one lead by overturning a 5-3 deficit in the third; in the fourth, Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist, smiled his way back from 5-1 down to force a fifth.

Hewitt finally prevailed at 4:33 a.m., the latest finish in Grand Slam history.

"It wasn't easy for both of us," Hewitt said. "It was tough for everybody, but we just tried to put this behind us on court."

Spain's miracle: No one gave Spain a chance against Argentina in the Davis Cup final, which made sense given Nadal couldn't play because of a bad knee and the South Americans were hosting the series.

Here's what happened next: Underachieving lefties Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco surprisingly won their singles matches and combined to take the doubles, helped by an injury to Argentine No. 1 Juan Martin Del Potro and the antics of teammate David Nalbandian. Nalbandian, according to reports in South America, was a major problem in the dressing room.

The last three matches of Spain's 3-1 victory had tons of drama, especially the doubles. The turning point of the series came when Lopez and Verdasco rallied from 5-1 down in the third-set tiebreak after blowing a 5-1 lead in the set. They clinched it in four.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home