Rafael Nadal kept his cool playing against Andy Murray and 15,000 fans cheering for the Brit on Wimbledon’s Centre Court Friday. There were many more Brits hoping for Murray to advance watching the match on a big screen on Henman Hill.
However, the Spaniard crushed the hopes of an entire nation for the first British men’s Wimbledon champion since Fred Perry won the title in 1936. Murray has made it to the semis a couple of times, but he has yet to advance to the finals.
Tomas Berdych continued his strong run in the second match of the day and beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Berdych reached his first Wimbledon final after upsetting Roger Federer in the quarters and disposing of Djokovic Friday.
Sunday’s final should be a great match between two players who seem locked in.
Nadal had a couple of close calls early in the tournament. He needed five sets against Dutch Robin Haase in the second round and had to go the distance against German Philipp Petzschner in the third round.
He needed treatment on his shoulder and knees several times in the match against the German, but it seems like the Spaniard has recovered from those problems. He beat Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in straight sets in the fourth round and defeated 6th-ranked Robin Soderling in four sets in the quarters.
Nadal’s win over Murray was closer than the results show, but he did only need three sets to dispose of the Brit. The Spaniard has looked in the zone ever since his close win over Petzschner.
Berdych started the tournament with two straight-set victories, but needed five sets in a close match against Uzbek Denis Istomin. He beat German Daniel Brands in four sets in the fourth round.
Berdych didn’t even have to go the distance against Federer, and won in four sets. He seemed locked in and took this rhythm into his semifinal match against Djokovic.
Like Serena in the women’s draw, Berdych has used his strong serve to be successful on Wimbledon’s grass court. He is fifth in aces with 98 and really should be third, but John Isner and Nicolas Mahut still sit at the top of the list due to their marathon match.
Berdych won 344 of 407 first serve points for a great average of 85%. He also leads the field in first serve return points with 133. He needs his service and his returns to be perfect to beat Nadal Sunday.
The Czech has had some trouble when his first serve wasn’t on, and he has made 23 double faults. On top of that, Nadal is deadly on second serve returns. He has scored a tournament leading 201 points off of second serve returns.
Berdych just the No.2 and No.3 players in the world in Federer and Djokovic. He faces the newly crowned No.1 in Nadal Sunday, and there is no reason to believe the Czech couldn’t come through against the Spaniard.
Nadal is the favorite, but he plays better on slower surfaces. The faster grass surface could be an advantage for Berdych, and I think the Czech will continue his run and come away with his first Wimbledon victory.
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