Well not exactly cruise, but it was straight set victories for both nonetheless. Berdych overcame Djokovic 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3 in the first semi-final, and Nadal followed that up with a 6-4, 7-6(6), 6-4 win over the local favorite Murray. It was two very similar matches as the scores suggest. Both Djokovic and Murray has chances in the second set to get back into the set. Djokovic had several set points, and did amazingly well to hang in the second set. He came back from a break down in the second set to force a tie break, and in the tie break he did some incredible defense to remain alive. It was all in vain though as he served a double fault on set point for Berdych. He’s serve is truly his Achilles heel at the moment, and you wonder how much Tod Martin had to do with that. I don’t recall his serve being this bad before.
Murray on the other hand had a set point on his own serve in the tie break, but it was kind of expected that he would not convert. Compared to Nadal, Murray is a bit of a mental midget. Murray beat Nadal at the Oz Open earlier this year, but Nadal was hardly fit. A fit, confident Nadal is pretty much unbeatable for Murray. Nadal is mentally the best player maybe ever. He is definitely more clutch than Federer in my opinion. Murray on the other hand is not exactly known for his ability on the big points. He is known to become tentative on the big points, and against Nadal that is just suicide. There was no way in hell Murray was going to win this match, even if he had taken that set point in the second set. I think Nadal is destined to win this thing now. Berdych has the game that can potentially trouble Nadal, but I don’t think it will be enough.
To beat Nadal you have to play extremely aggressive. Berdych can do this, but he is not as clutch as Nadal. Therefor even if it becomes close, I still see Nadal winning the important points and therefor the match. For Berdych to win this, the match can’t be very close, and I don’t see that happening. Having said that, Nadal did struggle against Haase and Petzschner. These guys had the type of game to trouble Nadal and they were also in the zone, yet they still lost. Berdych is better than those guys and he will have to be in the zone as well to have any chance against Nadal. We saw what Nadal did against Soderling in the French Open and in the quarter finals of Wimbledon. For Berdych to win this he is going to have to serve very well and keep Nadal under constant pressure from the base line.
He is also going to have to be very aggressive on the return. Berdych can do these things, so I don’t give him no chance at all. But the thing with Nadal is that he has this ability to hang in points and play unbelievable defense. This could force Berdych into unforced errors, which he can’t afford. There will be no margin for error for Berdych. He must play even better than Haase and Petzscner did. In the end I think it will be a final worth watching, but Nadal will be very tough to beat. He seems destined to do the French Open/Wimbledon double again, just like Roger was destined to do it last year. If he wins it that would put him on 8 grand slam titles, only half way to Roger’s mark. So I don’t mind Nadal winning Wimbledon again to be honest. He is an amazing competitor and he deserves it. The US Open is a different story though.
If Nadal ever wins the US Open it would just be a further indication of how much conditions on the ATP have slowed down. The fact that a virtual clay court specialist can possibly win two Wimby titles already says a lot about the conditions. The grass of Wimbledon has changed significantly since the early 2000’s. They are using a new soil that is making the ball bounce much higher, which suits Nadal of course. It is also slower. The US Open is now the only slam left that can be classified as a fast surface. The Oz Open have also slowed down. So although I respect Nadal a huge amount, I don’t think he deserves the calender slam. There is a reason Roger has won the calender slam, and that is because he is a complete player. Nadal is not as complete as Roger. He does not serve or volley nearly as well as Roger.
But I think there is a very small chance of Nadal winning the US Open anyway. It is always at the end of the year when his taxing game style has taken it’s toll on him already. He has played a lot of tennis of late and he will be tired again when the US Open swings around, if not injured. Remember the hard courts are the most taxing on his knees and we have not really seen how his knees deals with it since he had knee problems at the Australian Open this year again. He has already withdrawn from the Davis Cup after Wimbledon. Having said that, two of his biggest obstacles at the US Open, Del Potro and Roger himself, may not be a factor this year. Del Potro is not playing and Roger’s game is at an all time low. But there is still guys like Berdych, Soderling, Murray, Djokovic, and Roddick who will be difficult opponents for him there.
Well this is where I leave you. Lets hope for an attractive and competitive Wimbledon final.