Rafael Nadal Wins 2nd Wimbledon Title

TennisWimbledon ChampionshipsRafael NadalJimmy ConnorsKen RosewallFred Perry

WIMBLEDON, England -- Rafael Nadal swept Tomas Berdych instraight sets Sunday to win his second Wimbledon title and eighthGrand Slam championship.

The top-ranked Spaniard beat the 12th-seeded Czech 6-3, 7-5, 6-4in 2 hours, 13 minutes to reinforce his current status as the No. 1player in the game

Nadal broke Berdych four times and never lost serve in 15service games, extending his record to 5-0 in his last five GrandSlam finals.

It's the second time Nadal has won the French Open and Wimbledonback-to-back, making the tough transition from clay to grass.

With eight Grand Slam titles, Nadal joins a list of greats thatincludes Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry andKen Rosewall. He also has five French Open championships and oneAustralian Open title.

After ripping a crosscourt forehand passing shot on match point,Nadal collapsed on his back on the turf at the baseline and coveredhis face with his hands. After congratulating Berdych, Nadal leapedout of his chair and did a front somersault on the grass, rising tohis feet with both fists clenched.

Nadal won his first Wimbledon title in 2008, beating RogerFederer in an epic five-set final after losing to the Swiss star inthe previous two finals.

But Nadal was unable to defend his crown last year because oftendinitis in his knees, watching on television at home as Federertook advantage of the Spaniard's absence to win his sixthWimbledon.

"It was probably one of the toughest moments in my career,"Nadal said after accepting the winner's trophy Sunday from the Dukeof Kent. "A win here was always my dream. I did it two yearsago."

Nadal has now won 14 straight matches at the All England Cluband "defended" the title he won in his last appearance here twoyears ago.

"It was amazing for me after a difficult year last year that Ican be here," he said.

Nadal posed with the trophy in the clubhouse next to the greenboard with his name already etched as the 2010 winner. He cradledthe trophy under his left arm as he signed autographs outside themembers' entrance, where hundreds of fans gathered to see him.

Nadal is the first Spanish man to win Wimbledon twice. ManoloSantana took the title in 1966.

"For the Spanish players for the last 40 years it was verydifficult to play here," Nadal said. "We are doing better rightnow. We are very satisfied for that."

Nadal beat Berdych for the seventh straight time, a spancovering 17 consecutive sets.

Berdych was playing in his first Grand Slam final and was thefirst Czech to reach the Wimbledon final since Ivan Lendl in 1987.He had beaten top-seeded Federer and No. 3 Novak Djokovic en routeto the final, but couldn't find a way to take out the second-seededNadal as well.

"It was a great two weeks for me," Berdych said. "He wasreally strong today. He's showing in the last few months that he'sreally the champion and he just deserves to win today."

In a match short on drama and spectacular points, played inwindy conditions, Nadal capitalized on a few weak service games byBerdych to seize control.

It was typical grass-court Wimbledon tennis, with play dominatedby serves and only a few break points here and there making thedifference. Nadal lost only 24 points on serve.

Nadal played his usual grinding baseline game featuring whippetforehands. Yet it wasn't a vintage performance from Nadal, who had21 unforced errors compared to 17 for Berdych. Nadal had 29winners, two more than the Czech.

But Nadal won all the big points against the 24-year-old Czech,who was playing in his first Grand Slam final and failed to convertany of his four break points.

Nadal broke twice in the first set, dropping only four points inhis own four service games. Nadal won five games in a row from 3-2down in the first set to go up 1-0 in the second.

Berdych's chances may have evaporated in the first game of thesecond set, when he failed to convert on three break points. In agame that lasted about 10 minutes, Nadal overcame two double faultsand four forehand errors.

Berdych will rue his chance on the second break point, whenNadal hit a relatively weak approach shot and the Czech had plentyof time to line up a forehand passing shot but slapped the ballinto the net.

Nadal broke Berdych at love in the 12th game to go up two setsto love. Nadal saved another break point at 1-1 in the third set,then broke Berdych again in the last game to close out the match.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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TennisWimbledon ChampionshipsRafael NadalJimmy ConnorsKen RosewallFred Perry
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