Tenaciously Tennis

Federer Wins 64th Career Title; Azarenka Makes Doha

Roger Federer has tied Pete Sampras’ record of 64 career titles with his win in Sweden over Florian Mayer of Germany. Federer beat the 47th-ranked player with a smooth 6-4, 6-3 score in the tournamant during which he also claimed his 50th match of the season. This distinction, reports an Associated Press article, makes Federer “only the fifth man, and the first since Sampras, to win 50 matches in at least nine straight years in the Open era.”

The article continues, “Since 1968, only Jimmy Connors (109), Ivan Lendl (94) and John McEnroe (77) have won more singles tournaments than Federer and Sampras,” highlighting the extent of Federer’s impressive career thus far.

Can Federer keep going to match Connors’ 109 titles? I wouldn’t count him out by any means, although 45 more title would certainly be a stretch. The win in Sweden marked his 3rd of the year. If he continues on this path, he’d need to play over 15 years. And that, we all know, isn’t happening.

Regardless, it’ll be great to see just where the next few years takes Federer. Can he get to 20 major titles? Can he overtake McEnroes’ record 77 titles? This will all come with time.

In other news, Victoria Azarenka is back winning. This time, in the Kremlin Cup against Maria Kirilenko. The title marks the fifth of her career in a season hampered with injury, including the frightening end to her US Open run in August due to a collapse. She looked strong in her 6-3, 6-4 victory.

In other news, her win qualifies her for the year-ending tournament in Doha. In fact, Azarenka only needed to make the quarterfinals of the event. She’ll be confident and ready to make some noise at the event in which both Serena and Venus Williams pulled-out due to injury.

“It’s a big boost to win ahead of Doha. The win gave me confidence and perfect fitness. I feel my rhythm and I’m ready to go and play there,” said Azarenka. That sounds good coming at a time where many of the other top women are struggling.


Nadal Triumphs Over Berdych in Three Sets

To go along with Serena William’s easy win over Vera Zvonareva, Rafael Nadal defeated Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 to take his second title at the tournament. Although nothing like the 2008 epic — hailed by many as one of the best matches in tennis history — Nadal looked sharp from the beginning.

Berdych — who took out the reigning champion Roger Federer and number three seed Novak Djokovic — lagged behind Nadal. He failed to convert his break point chances. Nadal’s superb shot making threw off the big-hitting Czech from playing his aggressive game. Nadal looked completely in control of the match all the way until his last forehand passing shot hit its mark.

Along with solidifying his number one world ranking, Nadal’s win also means he’s repeated the difficult feat of winning the French Open and Wimbledon titles back-to-back. The impressive list includes such champions in the Open Era as Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, and Federer. The later won both titles last year when Nadal struggled with injury and his parents’ divorce.

After a tough couple rounds in the beginning against Robin Haase and Philipp Petzschner — who won the men’s doubles title with Jurgen Melzer — Nadal rolled through the rest of the rounds. He dispatched Robin Soderling in a rematch of the French Open final and Andy Murray in three.

With this added confidence and his eighth major title overall, Nadal now holds the same number as tennis legends Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, and Jimmy Connors. With this performance, there’s no reason why he can’t push through to his first final at the US Open.

Berdych played admirably, proving he’s a real threat to win a big title in the coming years. For making it through to the finals, Berdych will enjoy cracking through to the top ten. If his US Open series plays out well — which I am confident it will — his momentum will carry over to the final Slam of the year, the US open.

Well, that concludes Wimbledon 2010. I’ll go over the tournament in more detail in the coming days.

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