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How The Wimbledon Final Was Won

Wimbledon, England

Rafael Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal, the 2008 champion, in action during Sunday's final against Tomas Berdych.

Second-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal has captured his second title at The Championships after he defeated No. 12 seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory in two hours and 12 minutes on Sunday. Nadal, with a 14-match winning streak at Wimbledon, has now won eight Grand Slam championship crowns and 41 tour-level trophies.

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Here is how the match was won.

Berdych started confidently in his first major championship final, dropping just one point in his first three service games. But Nadal began to impose himself at 3-3. Capitalising on two groundstroke errors and hitting a running forehand winner past Berdych, Nadal converted his second break point opportunity at 15/40 with a powerful backhand crosscourt return winner. He confirmed the break with a love hold for 5-3, before Berdych – who hit his 100th ace of the tournament for 15/30 – lost patience during a long baseline rally and gifted Nadal an error. Nadal sealed the 34-minute opening-set 6-3, with a forehand return down the line that his Czech opponent could not scramble back. It was Nadal's 15th straight set won against Berdych, who hit 48 per cent of first serves into court. Nadal won 92 per cent of first deliveries.

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Nadal, not playing at his very best level, came under immediate pressure in a 10-minute first game, which saw him commit five unforced errors and save three break points with two attacking forehands and a big second serve. Berdych lost the first point in three straight service games, but continued to resist adopting the tactic of serve and volley. At 5-6, 0/15, Berdych hit a drop shot half volley that Nadal quickly reached and pinned his opponent with a backhand. Berdych, who had hit seven aces during the 54-minute set, then committed two forehand errors to hand Nadal a commanding lead. Nadal had won 11 of 13 points on approach to the net.

Berdych was unable to reel off winners off short balls, as he had done against Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in previous rounds. So the Czech reverted to Plan B, attacking the net. It almost paid off, but Nadal saved one break point at 1-1, 30/40, when Berdych netted a sliced backhand off a short rally. At 4-5, Berdych battled back from 0/30 but he fired a mid-court forehand long at deuce. Nadal converted his first championship point with a cross-court forehand winner that left Berdych motionless at the net. 

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