Wonderful Wade and Nadal’s Epic: Five of the best Wimbledon Finals
A trip down memory lane at SW19
It’s down to the final four in the Men’s Singles at Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal is bidding for an 18th Grand Slam title, while veteran John Isner is looking to reach his first ever major final.
As for the Women’s section, the final is already confirmed. Germany’s Angelique Kerber faces the evergreen Serena Williams.
Ahead of play, the Coral News Team are taking a trip down memory lane with five of the best Wimbledon Finals.
Virginia Wade (v. Betty Stove) – 1977
Britain’s eight-year wait for a Wimbledon champion ended in 1977, as Dorset native Wade produced a stunning comeback win against Dutch ace Stove.
Something of a surprise match-up, both players were over 30-years-old and neither had reached a Wimbledon final before. But it was Stove who started stronger, winning the first set 6-4.
But willed on by a passionate crowd, Wade recovered for victory. She edged the second set 6-3, before a blistering display in the decider saw her breeze it 6-1. That was the last of Wade’s three Grand Slam titles, though she played on until 1985.
Jimmy Connors (v. John McEnroe) – 1982
There was no love lost between this American duo, whose animosity toward one another was far more than just sporting rivalry.
Of all their memorable meetings, 1982’s final was the most enthralling of all. McEnroe won the opening set, producing a flurry of superb backhanders. But Connors won the next. The pattern repeated again, to make it 2-2 in sets.
Cue a tight fifth set, with Connors’ exceptional serves proving pivotal as he picked up a first Grand Slam triumph in almost four years.
Stefan Edberg (v. Boris Becker) – 1990
One of the sport’s most iconic rivalries, Becker and Edberg faced off an almighty 35 times in total. But on the big occasions, it was the Swede who dominated. He won three of the pair’s four Grand Slam finals – including this one in SW19.
For the third year in succession, the pair faced off in the Wimbledon final. It looked to be plain sailing for Edberg, who won the first two sets 6-2 apiece. But Becker roared back to level things.
The pair couldn’t be separated for much of an extremely tense final set, but eventually it was Edberg who won it 6-4 – to pick up his second Wimbledon title in three years.
Conchita Martinez (v. Martina Navratilova) – 1994
While much of Wimbledon history has seen the same big names lift the famous trophy, every once in a while a player comes out of nowhere to grab the glory. Martinez was perhaps the most memorable example.
The Spaniard headed into her first ever major final against veteran powerhouse and 18-time Grand Slam winner Navratilova. Having just edged an exhausting and lengthy semi-final against Lori McNeill, many thought Martinez may struggle.
Martinez won the first set 6-4, before Navratilova rallied by taking the second in comfortable fashion. But the glory belonged to the Spaniard, whose deft lob bamboozled the veteran to confirm a 6-3 victory in the final set.
Rafael Nadal (v. Roger Federer) – 2008
Regarded by many as the greatest final of the Open Era, this saw two titans of the game at the height of their powers. Between them, the pair had dropped just two sets combined ahead of the final.
In the crunch match at SW19, the pendulum swung one way and then the other. But eventually it was glory for Rafa, who picked up his first title on grass.
Nadal won the first two sets, before a pair of dramatic 7-6 set wins saw the Swiss star draw level. Onto the decider. In the end, it was Rafa’s net play which saw him edge the encounter.
He won an immense 71% of his net approaches, to Federer’s 56%. In a game of incredibly fine margins, that was the clincher.
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