Rafael Nadal & Novak Dojokovic In Finals

Wimbledon 2011
By Hiland Doolittle, July 2nd, 2011

In the end, the top seeds held as Novak Djokovic turned away Jo Willy Tsonga while Rafa Nadal overpowered Andy Murray in Friday’s gentlemen’s semifinal action. Sunday’s final looks like a Hollywood ending to a magical tournament.

Novak Djokovic withstood a determined and athletic effort from Frenchman Tsonga who brought the same intensity to the court that helped him overcome 3rd seed Roger Federer on Wednesday. Tsonga used a serve and volley tactic that proved to be a high risk strategy against the second seed. It also created memorable rallies and dazzling athleticism for 3 plus hours.

Djoko had all he could handle with the 12th seed. Tsonga won 28 of his 48 net charges. He also struck 41 outright winners compared to Novak’s 34. The match was decided by Tsonga’s 29 unforced errors compared to just 13 by Djoko.

What all these numbers amounted to was a match of unparalleled excitement. On many occasions, points ended with both players stretched out of the Wimbledon grass as amazing volleys and responses thrilled the thousands of Centre Court fans and thousands more on Henman’s Hill. These fans will long remember the exchanges by the gritty combatants.

Tsonga was the aggressor in the first set. He controlled the pace and style of play, a quality usually handled by Djokovic. When the Frenchman grabbed the first set, it looked like an upset might be in the making.

Djokovic had let out enough line and took charge early in the second set en route to a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (9), 6-3 win. The key set was clearly the third set. Momentum seemed to change as Tsonga looked poise to take the tiebreaker when he jumped ahead 4-2. But, the Serb would not falter. With the 11-9 win, Tsonga went from the upset role to trying to holding on for dear life.

Tsonga was able to covert 3 of 6 break opportunities while Djoko converted 6 of 12. Jo Willy fired 12 aces but also committed 5 costly double faults.

For Djokovic, the win marks his first chance to play in the Wimbledon finals. The triumph also elevated him to the top number one ATP ranking, regardless of the out come of the finals. Djokovic is 47-1 in 2011 with the Australian Open under his belt.

Nadal Bruises Murray

Rafael Nadal Ousted Andy Murray In The Semi Finals Of Wimbledon 2011 Tennis Championship

Rafael Nadal Ousted Andy Murray In The Semi Finals Of Wimbledon 2011 Tennis Championship

Rafael Nadal absorbed Andy Murray best punch and then unleashed some pretty impressive counter punches of his own to take control of this semifinal match and dash Murray’s hopes for a Wimbledon title. The way the Scotsman came out of the gates, it looked like his strategy was sound and his strokes brilliant. He landed a high percentage of first serves and pushed the Spaniard around the court.

The set, won by Murray 7-5, may have been his best set of the year. However, Nadal stemmed the tide gaining the first break in the second set to cruise to the 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win. Murray seemed to retreat against the Nadal surge. In the first set, Murray methodically worked Rafa’s backhand and had success.

When Nadal took charge, it was a question of how long Murray could last. The outcome seemed inevitable and the crowd, anxious for their local hero triumph, fell into an uneasy hush with Nadal making all the shots.

Murray’s first serve success diminished, falling to just 58 percent. Nadal dominated Murray’s second serve winning 51 percent of the points. Nadal only allowed four break point opportunities to his opponent. Murray could only cash in on one of the four chances.

Nadal earned 8 break chances and converted five times. After the second set, Murray was always playing from behind and the pressure showed.

Nadal Vs. Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has made it official. The Serb has replaced Roger Federer as the thorn in Nadal’s side. Nadal and Djokovic have met 27 times. Rafa holds a 16-11 margin. However, he holds a 9-2 clay court advantage and a 2-0 grass record against the Serb. On hard courts, Djokovic leads 9-5.

Nadal is the reigning Wimbledon Champion and also won in 2008. Sunday’s match will be Djokovic’s first Wimbledon finals. The newly ordained world number one, Djokovic has defeated Nadal the last four times the players have met. Nadal has won 20 straight matches at Wimbledon.

From here, Nadal’s foot speed and diversity should carry him through.


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