THE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2011
How The Wimbledon Final Was Won
by James Buddell|
Second seed Novak Djokovic captured his third Grand Slam championship title and his first at The Championships on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 win over 2008 and 2010 Wimbledon titlist Rafael Nadal, who he will replace at No. 1 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings on Monday. Here is how the final was won.
In the pair's second Grand Slam championship final meeting, Djokovic's nerves settled early on. Neither player came under pressure through the first nine games, although a cause for concern for two-time champion Nadal was his 11 forced forehand errors in the 41-minute opener. At 4-5, Nadal dropped three points in a row to give Djokovic his first set point opportunity at 30/40. Nadal hit his second successive forehand down the line wide to give Djokovic the set. The Serbian had won 82 per cent of his first service and committed just two unforced errors.
Djokovic maintained his momentum in the second set, hell-bent on realising his childhood dream of clinching the Wimbledon title. Nadal was not on top form and Djokovic was arguably playing the match of his life on the biggest stage. He capitalised in the second game at 15/40, when he anticipated a Nadal drop shot to sprint to the net and hit a backhand slice winner. At 2-0, Djokovic recovered from 15/30 with solid serving and a buzz swept around Centre Court when he got to 5-1, after Nadal slipped on a wide backhand that he could not hit cleanly at 30/40. Djokovic closed out the 6-1 set to love, having hit four aces and 13 winners to seize control of the final.
Could Nadal recover from a two-sets-to-love deficit for the fourth time in his career? He started the third set well, setting up his first break point opportunity at 30/40 in the second game. Djokovic hit a tentative backhand on approach to the net, which rekindled hope in the eyes of Nadal's many supporters and the Spaniard quickly moved to 3-0 with a hold to love. Djokovic suddenly became reliant on his second serve, his groundstrokes were not quite powerful and he found himself off-balance in the longer rallies. Nadal took advantage and broke Djokovic's serve for 5-1, when the Serbian hit his first double fault. Growing in confidence, Nadal sealed the 30-minute set with a hold to love as Djokovic looked up at his family in the players box for support.
Having saved one break point at 30/40 in the first game, Djokovic responded with a dominant display from the baseline to take a 2-0 lead and keep Nadal under pressure. But Nadal hasn't won 10 major titles and amassed a 20-match winning streak at Wimbledon for nothing. He bounced back to 2-2, winning the third game with a forehand slice drop shot that hit the tape for a winner. As the set continued, the standard of tennis improved. An excellent love-hold for Djokovic gave him a 4-3 lead and he went onto break Nadal to 15 for a chance to serve for the championship. Djokovic, more at home at the baseline, serve-volleyed at 30/30 then hit a deep forehand that Nadal could get back into court. Djokovic fell to the ground in celebration after two hours and 28 minutes of play. He had realised a 20-year ambition. On Monday, he will officially become the 25th player to rank World No. 1. It is another chapter in a remarkable season.