28th WEEK

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Bastad is a tournament the closest to Robin Soderling‘s heart. The Swede [5] played there his first ever match against a famous player (qualifying match against Richard Fromberg in 2001), he’s been playing there every year since 2002, has won … Continue reading

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5-set record

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It’s a good time to deliver such a stats because there won’t be another 5-set match until the US Open 2011, so nothing changes in the the next seven weeks. Here are 50 active players, almost the same guys whom … Continue reading

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27th WEEK – Davis Cup (QF)

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Halmstad (indoor-hard): Sweden – Serbia 1:4 — If Swedes had appointed a team, which won the first round clash with Russia, they would have defeated Serbia deprived a slightly injured Djokovic (played only doubles). Unfortunately for the Scandinavians, “Pim-Pim” Johansson … Continue reading

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Murray triple bagels

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In a perverse Davis Cup rubber (Group II, Europe/Africa zone, Great Britain vs. Luxembourg in Glasgow), the fourth player in the world, Andy Murray outplayed yesterday a completely unknown Laurent Bram, winning all 18 games of the match. It was Bram’s … Continue reading

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Djokovic – 25th No. 1 in the Open era

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Admittedly he reached No. 1 in men’s tennis on Friday (July 1) after beating Tsonga in Wimbledon semifinal, but officially he begins the leadership of the ATP ranking on July 4, 2011. The new leader says: “It’s definitely one of … Continue reading

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Wimbledon – Day 14 (final)

(2)Novak Djokovic d. (1)Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3          [2:28 h]

There is no better place to confirm one’s supremacy over the biggest rival than the final in the temple of tennis – on Centre Court at Wimbledon. In the Open era, John McEnroe made it in 1981 (over Bjorn Borg), nine years later Stefan Edberg (over Boris Becker), Pete Sampras in 1993 (over Jim Courier), Roger Federer in 2004 (over Andy Roddick) and Rafael Nadal three years ago (over Federer). This time makes it Djokovic, beating Nadal for the fifth time this year (for the first time in career in a major #), which allows to predict his longer domination than a span of one season.
Nadal began the final very eager, produced two forehand winners as early as in the first three points, but Djokovic managed to hold his serve to “30”. Both guys were winning service games quite conveniently until the 10th game when Nadal leading 30-0 lost four points in a row. At break point in the 2nd game of the 2nd set, Djokovic impressed with a great chase to Nadal’s drop-shot; that point electrified the Serbian box and decreased Nadal’s self-confidence. In the following game, ‘Nole’ played his best tennis, and Nadal seemed boiled. He always fights to the end though, and despite a beat-down in two sets, won easily first three games of the 3rd set, which helped him to break a streak of eight consecutive sets lost to Djokovic! Lopsided match continued in the 4th set, Djokovic led *2:0 (30-15), but Nadal broke back, thanks to a lucky net-cord. At 3:4, Nadal finally saved a break point (at 0-40), but made a mistake in the following point. The last game of the match D’Joke began with a forehand mis-hit, but quickly recovered winning 4 out of the next 5 points. The biggest triumph in his career he celebrated like advancing at No. 1 in the world – lying on his back with a wide smile. In both cases it wasn’t an extended celebration, nothing more than the one after winning Rome two months ago, where – I assume – he realized that dethroning Nadal at the top, would be a matter of time. This victory snaps Nadal’s 20-match winning streak at Wimbledon – the fifth best result in London ##.
I just want to congratulate Novak and his team for the victory today and his amazing season,” declared Nadal. “Always Wimbledon for me was the most special tournament, just to be here is a dream. When I won here in 2008 the emotions was very high, so I can imagine how he is feeling. I will try another time next year.” Djokovic: “It has been the best day of my life, most special day of my life. I always dreamed of winning this tournament. I think I’m still dreaming. When you are playing the best player in the world, Rafa Nadal, who has won two of last three Wimbledons, I had to be on top of my game and I think I played my best grass-court match ever.” ‘Nole’ captures the 26th title (three majors), but the first one on grass! Stats of the final

  Doubles final:
(1)Bob Bryan/MikeBryan d. (8)Robert Lindstedt/Horia Tecau 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(2)

# Six Grand Slam meetings between Djokovic and Nadal:
Roland Garros 2006, QF: Nadal d. Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 ret.
Roland Garros 2007, SF: Nadal d. Djokovic 7-5, 6-4, 6-2
Wimbledon 2007, SF: Nadal d. Djokovic 3-6, 6-1, 4-1 ret.
Roland Garros 2008, SF: Nadal d. Djokovic 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(3)
US Open 2010, F: Nadal d. Djokovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2
Wimbledon 2011, F: Djokovic d. Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
## Players to win at least 20 consecutive matches at One Slam:
41 – Bjorn Borg (Wimbledon 1976-81)
40 – Roger Federer (Wimbledon 2003-08) *
40 – Roger Federer (US Open 2004-09) *
31 – Rafael Nadal (Roland Garros 2005-09)
31 – Pete Sampras (Wimbledon 1997-2001)
28 – Bjorn Borg (Roland Garros 1978-81)
27 – Ivan Lendl (US Open 1985-88)
26 – Andre Agassi (Australian Open 2000-04) **
25 – Pete Sampras (Wimbledon 1993-96)
25 – John McEnroe (US Open 1979-82) *
20 – Ivan Lendl (Australian Open 1989-91)
20 – Jim Courier (Roland Garros 1991-93)
20 – Rafael Nadal (Wimbledon 2008-11) **
* One walkover during streaks
** One year tournament absence during streaks (Agassi – 2002, Nadal – 2009)
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Wimbledon – Day 12 (SF)

Today’s semifinals repeated last year’s matches at the same stage of the tournament with one significant difference – Jo-Wilfired Tsonga participated in them instead of Tomas Berdych; both players born in 1985, defeated Roger Federer in quarter-finals, Berdych in four sets, Tsonga in five.

1st semifinal:
(2)Novak Djokovic d. (12)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-7(9), 6-3    [3:06 h]

Just like four weeks ago in the Parisian semifinal, Djokovic was one win away from advancing to the No. 1 in the tennis world. Despite his extraordinary record this year (46-1), his win wasn’t certain because he had a tricky opponent, who had beaten him in 5 out of 7 meetings, moreover, Tsonga showed great potential this year overcoming on grass Nadal and Federer. And indeed, the initial phase of the match indicated on Tsonga, who broke Djokovic’s serve in the very first game. The Frenchman led 5:3, at 5:4 was two points away from winning the set (came back from 0/40), but made a double fault trying to get a point with a risky 2nd serve. In the tie-break decided the 6th point after Tsonga’s forehand error, which gave the Serb a 4:2 lead. He broke Tsonga twice in the 2nd set, also at the beginning of the 3rd, and the match seemed finished. However, Tsonga won three successive games from a 2:4 deficit. He lost his serve at 5 all, but broke back in the next game to “15”. In the tie-break he led 5:3, later on saved two match points (overhead at 5:6 & ace at 7:8) and used his bigger experience in long tie-breaks to win the set (11/9). Unfortunately, the end of that set cost him too much energy, and D’Joke won the first eight points of the 4th set. He focused on his own service games and seven games later celebrated (lying on back) the triumph, winning the third match point with a service winner. It’s his second main tour level victory with a set losing from a match point up #. “It feels amazing,” said Djokovic. “When I finished the match I didn’t know how to show my emotions. I was really happy. This is one of those moments where you can’t describe it with the words. You remember all your career, all your childhood, everything you worked for, that comes true now”. Stats of the match.

2nd semifinal:
(1)Rafael Nadal d. (4)Andy Murray 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4    [2:59 h]

Murray kicked off the match in a very good, offensive style, he kept it throughout the set and extended to the beginning of the following set. At 2:1* (30/15) for him in the 2nd set, there was a crucial moment of the encounter – Murray played a great return, Nadal only delivered a high ball onto Murray’s side, but the Brit made an awful forehand error which could have given him a double break point. Since that moment Murray lost his accuracy, concentration and seven consecutive games in the consequence, although he had not been forced to save a break point prior to that moment. Nadal once being ahead is amazing tough to catch up. There was a hope for the British fans as Murray had his chances to do it, losing 1:2 with a break down in the 4th set, but the Spaniard saved two ad-break points with an offensive attitude. Nadal improves his H2H record against Murray to 12-4 ##, having won their last four meetings (each of them in semi-finals). Murray, who has lost Wimbledon semi-final three years in succession, said: “[I’m going to] work harder than I ever did before. [I’ll] try and improve my game and get stronger. Be more professional. It’s a very tough era I think in tennis. Tennis right at the top of the game is exceptional. So not only to get level with those guys, but to push past them, you need to work harder than them.Stats of the match

# Djokovic’s two wins with a match point-up losing sets:
US Open 2007, 4R: J.Monaco 7-5, 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 6-1 – 1 mp
Wimbledon 2011, SF: JW.Tsonga 7-6(4) 6-2, 6-7(9), 6-3 – 2 mp
## Grand Slam semi-finals between Murray and Nadal:
US Open, 2008: Murray d. Nadal 6-2, 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4
Wimbledon, 2010: Nadal d. Murray 6-4, 7-6(6), 6-4
Roland Garros, 2011: Nadal d. Murray 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
Wimbledon, 2011: Nadal d. Murray 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4
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Wimbledon – Day 10 (QF)

Eliding from economical arguments of the organizers, the Wimbledon quarterfinals are the toughest to follow among all four majors. I don’t see any problem that in contrary to other majors, quarterfinals in London are played within one day, but the problem is, they are held at the same time on two different courts; today Tsonga with Federer and Murray with Lopez were appointed to play on Centre Court, whilst matches Djokovic vs. Tomic and Nadal vs. Fish on Court No 1. Additional difficulty was connected today with the fact that during the first two quarter-finals, on Court No. 2, the Bryan brothers were continuing their third round encounter against S.Aspelin / P.Hanley suspended at 3:3 in the 5th set due to darkness (the Americans won that set 16-14, being two points away from defeat in two different games)…

1st quarterfinal:
(2)Novak Djokovic d. (q)Bernard Tomic 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 [2:31 h]

Djokovic was an overwhelming favorite before the match, but Tomic had his hopes because he beat Djokovic last year in an exhibition tournament at Kooyong, and had in his box the Wimbledon finalists 10 years backwards: Patrick Rafter and Goran Ivanisevic, who were sitting comfortably beside Tomic’s father – John. The young Australian hadn’t lost a service games in eight consecutive sets, but was broken as early as in the 1st game of the match. That game showed though, that Tomic would make an interesting match (a couple more than 20-stroke rallies). Tomic had two break points to lead 5:1 in the 2nd set, later on he led 3:1 in the 3rd set – since then D’Joke won seven straight games. In the 4th game of the 4th set, perhaps Tomic played his best game in the entire tournament and broke back to “love”. There was a prospect of a five-setter with Tomic leading 5:4 (30-0), but Djokovic’s maturity prevailed, the Serb made two winners (the second one clipping the line), and on break point in the following game, with a drop-shot he won an amazing 30-stroke rally, in which were around 10 slices! “He’s been playing really, really well today,” said Djokovic. “He’s been using the pace fantastically. You can see he feels really comfortable on the court. Obviously what he lacks a little bit more is that experience. But it comes with the time. I’m sure if he continues this way, he’s gonna be a top player very soon“.

2nd quarterfinal:
(12)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga d. (3)Roger Federer 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 [2:48 h]

Federer broke Tsonga to “15” in the 2nd game of the match, and who would’ve expected that it had been the only break point opportunity for the Swiss in this five-setter? Tsonga produced a silly error to open the 2nd set tie-break, Federer a moment later led 5:0, and after taking the set, his potential loss was almost impossible: he had won 9 consecutive sets against Jo, and hadn’t lost a match leading 2-0 for six years #. But weird things happen, and the Frenchman made breaks at the beginning of each of the next three sets (to lead 2:1 in sets 3 & 4, to lead 1:0 in the decider) which allowed him to take the occurrences under his control. Tsonga’s serve was excellent, he won 18-17 in aces, having 70% of the 1st serve in. Federer was shaky, he couldn’t construct points on Tsonga’s 2nd serve, actually in the last three sets, Federer had a slight chance for a break only at 3:4 & 4:5 in the 3rd set, leading 30-0. If Federer won this match, he would make along with Djokovic the first pair to play matches in four consecutive majors. “For me it’s just amazing,” said Tsonga. “The feeling is like maybe beating [Rafael] Nadal in Roland Garros, so it’s just amazing. And for me it will be, for sure, one of the best memories in my career anyway.”

# Federer’s three defeats from 2-sets-to-0 lead:
Davis Cup 2003, SF: L.Hewitt 7-5, 6-2, 6-7(4), 5-7, 1-6
Shanghai 2005, F: D.Nalbandian 7-6(4), 7-6(11), 2-6, 1-6, 6-7(3)
Wimbledon 2011, QF: JW.Tsonga 6-3, 7-6(3), 4-6, 4-6, 4-6
5-set barometer: 18-15 Federer, 6-2 Tsonga

3rd quarterfinal:
(4)Andy Murray d. Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 [2:01 h]

Murray served out his third consecutive advancement to the Wimbledon semifinal with three aces in a row (13 in total). It was one-sided match as most spectators would have expected.  Lopez had only two break points in the entire match, it happened at 3:4 (40-15) in the 3rd set. A slice backhand of the Spaniard went long on the first chance, the second break point Murray erased with a service winner. Lopez is beaten in the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the third time in career (previously in 2005 & 2008). “I thought it was good,” Murray said, “Feliciano looked a little tired and struggled a bit with his movement, but I thought I served well throughout the match. I’m playing well – you get pushed more and more as the rounds go on, and I’ll have to up my game.”

4th quarterfinal:
(1)Rafael Nadal d. (10)Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 [2:53 h]

The first two sets were painful to watch. Fish – the top 10 player – who had lost his serve only once  in four matches (to Istomin) prior to the last eight, was broken five times by Nadal in his first 10 service games! Nadal led 1:0 with a break in the 3rd set when Fish waken somehow  to play his standard tennis. In the 12th game he risked backhand return, then forehand down the line and won the set. Unfortunately for him, Nadal made a vital break in the 3rd game of the 4th set and finished the match with a serve & volley action on his first match point. “I started the first two sets playing very well but made mistakes in third and lost my intensity,” the 25-year-old  defending champion said. Fish, like Feliciano Lopez, has lost three major quarterfinals, three years ago in New York he lost the previous GS quarter-final to Nadal in four sets as well…

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Wimbledon – Day 8 (4R)

Wimbledon distinguishes itself from other majors, inter alia as the only event, in which the 4th round is played during one day, it happens due to day-off on the first Sunday of the tournament.
Amazing match, and very untypical for nowadays standards (serve and volley from both ends) on Court No. 3 won Feliciano Lopez [44], surviving a 5-set thriller with a qualifier Lukasz Kubot. The Pole [93] had a chance of his life to win this match in three different sets. In the 3rd set tie-break, Lopez’s challenge deprived Kubot a 4:1 lead. A couple minutes later Q-bot had a match point on serve at 6:5 and played a tentative backhand volley, Lopez passed him with a huge forehand. At 6:7 Lopez saved the second match point with a forehand winner at the net. In the 4th set Q-bot led 4:3 with a break, later on squandered three mini-match points at 5:5. Finally, in the 5th set Q-bot had a break point at 3:3 – Lopez served an ace (28 in total, Kubot 27 – personal best). The Spaniard converted his third match point after Kubot’s forehand error and advanced for the third time to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, for the fourth time winning a Wimbledon match from a match point down, which I suppose might be a specific record taking into account a Grand Slam tournament #.
Mardy Fish [9] adds to his resume Wimbledon as third different major quarter-final. The highest ranked American, despite a suitable game-style for grass, had never played even the fourth round at Wimbledon in his previous eight appearances. Today he ousted the last year’s finalist Tomas Berdych [7] 7-6, 6-4, 6-4, thanks to brilliant service performance (22 aces, faced two break points). It was their first encounter, although they’ve been playing on the tour together for eight years!
Bernard Tomic dismissed Xavier Malisse [42] in straight sets (81 minutes) on Court No. 18, facing just two break points, and becomes the 7th player in the Open era to play in quarterfinals at Wimbledon ##. It’s incredibly promising stats for him because among those six guys, only Vijay Amritraj hasn’t won the Wimbledon title! Tomic hasn’t lost a service game in 8 consecutive sets, this streak will be extremely tough to keep in the next round where awaits Novak Djokovic [2] after a 3x ‘6-3’ win over Michael Llodra [35]. After a set and a half there was a prospect that Llodra would give D’Joke a run for his money, but played a pathetic game at 3:3 (30-15): missed an easy overhead followed by simple volley-error, later on served two double faults in a row… “I never thought I’d be here the second week, especially in the quarter-finals. What a feeling and what a tournament it’s been for me. It’s an unbelievable achievement. I’ve learnt a lot. It’s a great honour to do it here in Wimbledon. I’m at a position now where I’ve never been happier. I’m looking forward to playing on Wednesday.” said Tomic, just the fourth qualifier to play in the Wimbledon quarter-finals ###.
Rafael Nadal [1] survived a 3-hour 52-minute scare against Juan Martin del Potro [21]. At the end of the 1st set, the Spaniard needed a treatment to his sore left heel. When came back on court a few minutes later, Del Potro jumped quickly to a 3:0 lead in the tie-break. Nadal won the next two points after long rallies to hang out there, afterwards he fought off a set point on serve to win the set (8-6) and the match 7-6, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, consisted of only two breaks of serve. Also Roger Federer [3] needed four sets to beat Mikhail Youzhny [17] the 11th time in succession.

Longest match:
4 hours, 18 minutes – Feliciano Lopez d. Lukasz Kubot 3-6, 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 7-5, 7-5
Most aces:
28 – Feliciano Lopez, defeated Lukasz Kubot in five sets
5-set barometer:
13-8 Feliciano Lopez
8-5 Lukasz Kubot
# Lopez’s four Wimbledon wins from a match point down:
2002, 1R: K.Economidis 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(2), 11-9 – 1 mp
2002, 2R: G.Canas 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(7), 7-5, 10-8 – 6 mp
2008, 4R: M.Baghdatis 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4), 8-6 – 3 mp
2011, 4R: L.Kubot 3-6, 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 7-5, 7-5 – 2 mp
## Teenagers to play quarterfinals (or better) at Wimbledon:
17 years 13 days, Bjorn Borg – 1973
17 years 7 months, Boris Becker – 1985
18 years 4 months, John McEnroe – 1977
18 years 8 months, Bernard Tomic – 2011
18 years 9 months, Goran Ivanisevic – 1990
19 years 1 month, Pat Cash – 1984
19 years 6 months, Vijay Amritraj – 1973
### Qualifiers who advanced to Wimbledon quarterfinals:
1977: John McEnroe (No. 270)
1984: Paul Annacone (No. 243)

1985: Ricardo Acuna (No. 130)
2000: Vladimir Voltchkov (No. 237)
2011: Bernard Tomic (No. 158)
* McEnroe and Voltchkov finished their journey in semifinals
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Wimbledon – Day 5 + 6 (2R/3R)

Unfortunately rain again reminded itself on Friday, three second-round matches were concluded, but 5 out of 8 three-round encounters were suspended to Saturday…
Two youngest players on the tour, Ryan Harrison [122] and Bernard Tomic [158] played five-setters (2nd round) with a different outcome – Harrison lost on Friday two sets, Tomic won two. On the following day, Tomic made the biggest upset dismissing in straight sets Robin Soderling. I guess it’s interesting that Tomic hasn’t lost a service game in the last two days (two sets with Andreev, three with Soderling). The 18-year-old Australian hasn’t got spectacular game, but he has absolutely amazing timing, anticipation and clever strategy. Beside this he is tall, so we can expect some progress considering his 1st serve. Among young guns (born in the 90’s) who are already known, now then Raonic, Dimitrov, Harrison & Tomic, I expect the latter might have the most successful career. It should be a breakthrough tournament for him, especially that he now faces instable Xavier Malisse, thus chances of reaching the quarterfinals are high.  “I really came in today giving myself a chance. I think I played really relaxed in the first set,” Tomic said, “I didn’t think I could win at the start. But the way I was playing, I was questioning myself. [And] after that first set, it opened up a lot of doors.”
Three players (Rafael Nadal, Juan Marin del Potro and Feliciano Lopez) won their matches in straight sets needing tie-breaks in the first two sets. Nadal was surprised by great service performance of Gilles Muller. The defending champion saved a double set point in the 1st set, was two points away from losing the 2nd set. Del Potro had some troubles in each set of his match with Gilles Simon, which won 7-6, 7-6, 7-5. ‘DelPo’  fought off two set points in the first tie-break, was *2:4 (30 all) down in the 2nd set and *4:5 (15-30) in the 3rd set. F.Lopez [44] avenged seven straight defeats to Andy Roddick. The Spaniard won both tie-breaks 7-2 thanks to three great passing shots, two from his weaker backhand side. He fired 28 aces (Roddick 23). Unexpectedly Lopez’s opponent in the next round will be Lukasz Kubot [93], who much more better dealt with a two-day encounter. His match with Gael Monfils was suspended at one set apiece and 3:3 (deuce) in the 3rd set; after the resumption Kubot got a break and notched a streak of six winning games! 4th round at Wimbledon is arguably the biggest success in career of ‘Q-bot’. The 28-year-old Pole a year ago played the 4th round at the Australian Open, but won only two matches then (walkover in the third round), this year in London he’s overcome six rounds (three in the qualifying tournament).
Roger Federer [3] and David Nalbandian [23] joined a relatively narrow group of 16 pairs # to play against each other in all major events. Federer missed an overhead from the easiest possible position on his first match point, but stayed cool and a couple minutes later converted his 4th match point to get an easy 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win.

Longest match:
3 hours, 30 minutes – David Ferrer d. Ryan Harrison 6-7(6), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Most aces:
28 – Feliciano Lopez, defeated Andy Roddick in three sets
5-set barometer:
14-9 David Ferrer
6-9 Igor Andreev
0-2 Ryan Harrison
1-1 Bernard Tomic
# Pairs of players who have faced each other at all four majors (in parantheses – years between they did it; in brackets – their H2H records in majors):
(1985-1987) H.Leconte vs. A.Mansdorf [4-0]
(1980-1989) I.Lendl vs. J.McEnroe [7-3]
(1983-1989) M.Wilander vs. J.McEnroe [3-2]
(1991-1993) J.Courier vs. S.Edberg [4-2]
(1991-1994) P.Sampras vs. J.Courier [6-2]
(1989-1995) P.Sampras vs. M.Chang [4-1]
(1990-1995) P.Sampras vs. A.Agassi [6-3]
(1992-1996) P.Sampras vs. T.Martin [6-1]
(1994-2000) P.Sampras vs. M.Tillstrom [5-0]
(1995-2000) P.Sampras vs. M.Philippoussis [5-2]
(2004-2006) R.Federer vs. N.Kiefer [4-0]
(2002-2006) M.Safin vs. O.Rochus [3-1]
(2005-2007) D.Tursunov vs. T.Henman [3-1]
(2001-2009)  L.Hewitt vs. A.Roddick [3-2]
(2007-2009) R.Federer vs. JM.Del Potro [3-1]
(2007-2011) R.Nadal vs. A.Murray [4-2]
(2003-2011) R.Federer vs. D.Nalbandian [4-2]
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