Champs Nadal, Serena make ‘racket’
Posted: Monday, July 5, 2010 4:44 pm
By: By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Rafael Nadal looked like a guy who absolutely couldn’t wait to get out there, clutching his racket and hopping in place near the entrance to Centre Court before the Wimbledon final.
He jiggled his left leg, unable to sit still on the sideline. He even bopped around during the prematch coin toss. When it was finally time to start warming up, he zigzagged to the baseline in a full sprint.
And when it ended, Nadal marked his victory with a celebratory somersault. That endless energy, and so many superb strokes, allowed the No. 2-seeded Nadal to outclass No. 12 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 Sunday for his second Wimbledon trophy and eighth Grand Slam title overall.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams swept Vera Zvonareva in straight sets Saturday to win her fourth Wimbledon title and 13th Grand Slam championship, extending the Williams family dominance at the All England Club.
A year ago, sidelined by painful knees, 2008 Wimbledon champion Nadal was planted on his couch at home in Spain and watched the final on television, only the fifth man in the history of a tournament that dates to 1877 who couldn’t defend his championship because of injury.
As of Sunday, Nadal is 47-5 with five titles in 2010, both tour highs. He won 24 matches in a row in one stretch, regained his Roland Garros title and the No. 1 ranking last month, and managed the tricky transition from clay to grass by winning the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year for the second time.
In the women’s finale top-ranked and defending champion American overwhelmed the 21st-seeded Russian 6-3, 6-2 in a one-sided final that lasted just 67 minutes and showed why Williams is considered one of the greatest players of all time.
Williams served nine aces, broke three times and never faced a break point in nine service games.
She finished the tournament without dropping a set.
After converting an overhead smash to finish the match, Williams tossed her racket away, bent backward, looked to the sky, shook her fists and screamed.
Williams, who improved to 13-3 in Grand Slam finals, added to the Wimbledon titles she won in 2002, 2003 and 2009. However, this was the first time she defeated someone other than her sister Venus in the final.
The Williams sisters have now won nine of the last 11 Wimbledon titles. Venus beat Serena in 2008 for her fifth title here.
“My dream was able to come true,” Serena said after accepting the Venus Rosewater Dish from the Duke of Kent with a curtsy. “Everyone’s dream can come true if you just stick to it and work hard. This one is very special.”
Serena moved ahead of Billie Jean King into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list of women’s Grand Slam champions with 13, the most of any active woman player. Williams also has five Australian Opens, three U.S. Opens and one French Open.
Williams turned to King, who was sitting in the Royal Box, and said: “Hey, Billie — I got you. This is No. 13 for me now. It’s just amazing to able to be among such great people.”
King grinned and applauded.
“That’s actually my lucky number,” Williams said of No. 13.
Williams graciously congratulated Zvonareva, who played in her first Grand Slam final and was the second-lowest ranked women’s finalist ever at Wimbledon.
“Everyone should give her a big round of applause,” Williams said. “She defines what being a champion and never giving up means.”