Djokovic Wins Wimbledon

14:24 Sun 03 Jul 2011. Updated: 11:35 04 Jul 2011
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The men’s final was the dream matchup, the players ranked number one and two in the world, defending champion Nadal against a Wimbledon final newcomer, Novak Djokovic. Unfortunately, while not a bad match, it didn’t quite live up to that billing.

The first set was very close and had excellent but not spectacular tennis. The two looked extremely solid on serve until Nadal was serving to stay in the set at 4–5, at which point his play got a little sloppy, and Djokovic took full advantage and converted the lone break opportunity he got. In the second, Djokovic took off, and Nadal couldn’t reel him in. Djokovic played spectacular tennis and took the set 6–1 while Nadal looked to be fading. In the third, the players swapped roles, and Nadal dominated while Djokovic lost his form. The start of the fourth set was tense, with breaks exchanged, and I thought that the match would come alive then. But it seemed that both couldn’t play their best tennis at the same time for extended periods, and Djokovic soon pulled away again to win 6–3.

There were certainly plenty of amazing rallies, but overall I didn’t think the match was fantastic. It may be that Djokovic now has the option of preventing Nadal from playing at his best, which is quite a feat—and something that Federer never seemed to do even when he beat Nadal.

Djokovic’s defense was amazing, as it has been all year. He got to incredible shots, and then returned many of them with even more incredible shots. In this match he defended better than Nadal did, not something you see too often, and it seemed that this defense, combined with offensive pressure, made Nadal go for too much a number of times, often to Nadal’s detriment.

Novak’s backhand has been the difference from his form last year; the shots he hit off it today while apparently off-balance or out of position were often fantastic. Furthermore, with that shot he can deal with high-bouncing balls, stifling Nadal’s typical crosscourt forehand-to-backhand weapon.

This is the first time Nadal’s lost in a Grand Slam final to anyone other than Federer. It’s the fifth straight match (and final) in which Djokovic beat Nadal. Djokovic gains the number one ranking as of tomorrow, and in addition has only lost one match all year (the French Open semifinal against Federer). He’s clearly the best in the world right now, and deserved the Wimbledon title.

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