2002 – 2003, Wimbledon
Wimbledon, Great Britain
June 24-July 7, 2002; 128 Draw (32 seeded); Surface – Grass
Shift of paradigm in men’s tennis: it’s a tournament that ended an era of serve-and-volley specialists. Prior to Wimbledon 2002, baseliners were always in minority as far as quarterfinals were concerned, this time there were as many as six baseline players in the last eight, and two of them advanced to the final making the first duel at that stage based on groundstrokes since 1978… Actually it was almost a surreal event: 8 out of 10 highest seeded guys dropped before the third round including an inexplicable Pete Sampras’ loss to George Bastl; three South Americans progressed to the quarterfinals; David Nalbandian secured a place in the final playing his first main-level tournament on grass, not having played a match on Centre Court before the final! Under those bizarre circumstances 21-year-old Lleyton Hewitt was unstoppable – he won 6 out of 7 matches easily, and rather no-one had expected it would have been his last major triumph.
First round: Howard Feindrich
Back home on Centre Court at the All England Club, Pete Sampras served just like Pete Sampras. And, rather out of character, so did Andre Agassi. Both won straight-set openers at Wimbledon. Indeed, the day’s only significant surprise was the beautiful weather: temperatures in the 70s with nary a rain cloud. Casting aside the better part of two years’ worth of poor play and a rib strain that put his participation in doubt, seven-time champion Sampras swatted 27 aces and 40 other winners in defeating Martin Lee of Britain 6-3, 7-6(1), 6-3. Sampras hasn’t won a title since Wimbledon in 2000, a drought of 29 tournaments, and entered with a 16-13 match record this year, including a French Open first-round loss. Once again, though, grass gave his game a lift. “You step out on Centre Court, it’s like Mecca out there,” said Sampras, who at No. 6 has his lowest seeding here in 11 years. “The U.S. Open, French Open – those are great events, but Centre Court at Wimbledon, there’s something very special whenever you step out there.” So 1992 champion Agassi was given the honor of unwrapping the main court, and he was superb in topping Harel Levy 6-0, 6-4, 6-4. Agassi is seeded third as he tries to set a Wimbledon record for most years between singles titles. “If you could only win one, you’d be crazy not to pick this one,” said Agassi, who took the first set in 18 minutes. “On top of that, it’s just a big accomplishment for me to still be out here contending 10 years later.” Against Levy, Agassi returned serve well, as always, and hit strokes at all the right angles from steps inside the baseline. Even if defending champion Goran Ivanisevic isn’t at Wimbledon (withdrew due to left shoulder injury), his considerable spirit is alive and well in the form of another lanky Croatian: Mario Ancic. Think of the 18-year-old qualifier as Goran without the goatee – or the self-diagnosed multiple personalities. Making his Grand Slam debut (he had played just one main-level tournament before, Miami ’02), the 154th-ranked Ancic produced the tournament’s first major upset by dominating No. 7-seeded Roger Federer 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3 Tuesday on Centre Court. In his Centre Court debut last year, Federer upset seven-time champion Pete Sampras in the fourth round. Ancic looks like, talks like and sometimes plays like Ivanisevic. ”Goran is Goran, not me. I just knew him for a long time,” said Ancic, whose English syntax mirrors that of his mentor. ”We are not too much difference, with our temperament.” Like Ivanisevic, Ancic is from the Adriatic coast town of Split. They began hitting together when Ancic was 10, were Davis Cup teammates, and played doubles at the Sydney Olympics. ”He was always good to me,” said Ancic, who got some tips from Ivanisevic in a phone call Monday. ”Sometimes I felt like he was bigger brother in tournaments, and I know I can always rely on him. Like yesterday when I call him about tactics.” So, what was the scouting report? ”He told me just, ‘He has great forehand, just stay away from him,”’ Ancic said. It certainly worked, before a supportive Centre Court crowd that included Ivanisevic’s father, Srdjan. Ancic, a 2000 Wimbledon boys’ finalist, got a chance last week to hit with four-time major champion Jim Courier and has worked with Ivanisevic’s former coach, Bob Brett, for four years. Ancic credited Brett with toning down his temper by making him do push-ups when he spoke out in practice. Ivanisevic, of course, is one of tennis’ great characters, on and off the court. Last year, when he wasn’t kicking the net, throwing a racket or smacking one of his record 216 aces en route to winning his first major title – as Wimbledon’s first wild-card champion, no less – Ivanisevic spent plenty of time discussing his three-headed persona: ”Crazy Goran, Good Goran and Emergency Goran.” At 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, with arms nearly as thin as his racket’s handle, the right-handed Ancic bears a physical resemblance to a younger Ivanisevic, who’s a lefty. Close your eyes as Ancic speaks and you hear Ivanisevic: same speech patterns, timbre and sense of humor. Still, Ancic – the youngest player left in the draw – is wary of such comparisons. ”Everybody know that I’m different person. It was all the time since I grew up, they were talking that I am ‘Second Goran,”’ he said. ‘‘No, he’s unique.” Ancic is the first teen to win on Centre Court in his Wimbledon debut since 17-year-old Bjorn Borg in 1973. Just 15 minutes later over on Court 18, another Wimbledon newcomer finished knocking off a top player: 71st-ranked Brazilian Flavio Saretta got by Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-6(4), 3-6, 12-10 after 4 hours 22 minutes. At 6:5 in the 5th set, Saretta was four times two points away from victory, but moment later the Swede was serving to win the match – the Brazilian broke back at ‘love’. He was 0/40 on serve at 10-all but managed to hold. In the last game of the match he had a double match point and celebrated his win when a linesman called the ball ‘out’, however, the chair-umpire overruled it awarding a point to Johansson, who couldn’t handle the tension and made en error trying to save the second match point, he won one point more (205-204). Johansson, seeded eighth, lost in the second round of the French Open, and it’s increasingly looking as though his first Grand Slam title in 25 tries will be his last. U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt constructed a 6-4, 7-5, 6-1 beating of Jonas Bjorkman, who complained Centre Court played too slowly. “It’s a lot slower than it has been before,” he said. “The Centre Court is so different to the other courts. It doesn’t make sense. Maybe people thought there has been too much serving but grass court tennis should be about serve and volleying. Maybe people like Pete Sampras can do it on courts like this but it was way too hard for me. I’m not making excuses because I knew I had to play well to beat Lleyton. The court is extremely slow.” Hewitt was quickly installed as the new betting favorite, overtaking Tim Henman despite the Englishman’s easy 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 win over Jean-Francois Bachelot. Mark Philippoussis used to be known as “Scud” because of his booming serve. He owned hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fancy cars and was a serious threat to win most tournaments he played. Since 1999, however, Philippoussis’ life has been a series of knee injuries, surgery – and now reflection. Gone are most of the cars, replaced with two horses and six dogs. “I had my third surgery, I was in a wheelchair for two months, in bed,” the Australian said after his first-round win over Julien Boutter of France 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday. “The only thing you can do is a lot of thinking. A few years ago I would have taken a lot of things in my life for granted. Now I look at life in a totally different perspective.” It was only Court 3, not the place a former champion often plays. But Richard Krajicek was just happy to be on any court. Krajicek, who has battled injuries for much of the last two years, beat Franco Squillari of Argentina 6-2, 7-5, 7-6(5), advancing to a second-round match against American James Blake. The 22-year-old Blake, from Tampa, Florida, won his debut match at Wimbledon when his Argentine opponent, Mariano Zabaleta, quit with an illness after losing the first two sets 6-2, 6-2. Krajicek [1093, playing with protected ranking] was bothered by more soreness in his elbow two weeks ago. “It went downhill very quickly to the point that I could only play for half an hour,” he said. “That was the moment I started to talk to my coach about making a decision, not only for Wimbledon but for my career. Those were dark moments. It was difficult to motivate myself to go out there and be focused on the sport. That’s why I’m not in the best shape at the moment. There’s a lot of holes in my game.” Almost 22 months ago, he had elbow surgery. Throughout rehabilitation, he made steps forward and experienced setback on his way toward recovery. Nicolas Thomann prevailed two consecutive marathons: in the final qualifying round he battled past Justin Gimelstob 14-12 in the 5th set, in the first round outlasted Markus Hipfl 6-1, 7-6(3), 3-6, 4-6, 11-9. For Hipfl, who served 38 aces, it was last 5-set match in career (record: 0-9). An amazing 5-set match survived Nicolas Lapentti. The Ecuadorian wasted a double match point in the 3rd set tie-break on court No. 2 against Jamie Delgado and found himself on match point down at *3:5 in the 5th set. Lapentti, a specialist of 5-sets and wining matches from a match point down, saved three more match points on return in the 10th game, and won in the end 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(6), 4-6, 7-5! Olivier Rochus defeated Christophe Rochus 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-0 in just second Grand Slam duel in the Open era between two brothers, the previous one happened at the US Open 1992 (the Sanchez brothers).
Second round: Bruce Jenkins
As we stroll down memory lane with George Bastl and Paradorn Srichaphan, masters of Wimbledon tennis, who could forget that sunny Wednesday when they steamrolled those two pikers, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi? Other than it being the craziest day in the tournament’s 125-year history, nothing particularly special happened. It was just one of those casual afternoons when the seven-time champion loses to a guy wearing a trash-heap headband. When the king of ball-striking gets completely humbled by a man with zero career titles. That doesn’t even address the fact that Marat Safin, a giant of a man and the No. 2 seed, lost to a 5-foot-5 (166 cm) relative unknown from Belgium. By the end of this day, Safin’s name seemed only vaguely familiar. The way most experts tell it, two upsets stand out over the years at Wimbledon: Peter Doohan‘s shocker over defending champion Boris Becker in 1987 and Agassi’s loss to Doug Flach, ranked No. 281 at the time, in ’96. The madness began when Sampras took a 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4 loss to the scruffy, 145th-ranked 27-year-old Bastl, a “lucky loser” who failed to get through the qualifying and advanced only because another player (Felix Mantilla) withdrew. Sampras vowed to come back to Wimbledon, but as he left Court 2 with a halfhearted wave to polite applause, he struck a sad and beaten image. Then Agassi took Centre Court, moving ever forward with his mincing steps, ready to totally dismantle another overwhelmed opponent. It’s just that Mr. Srichaphan didn’t see it that way. A fluid, confident athlete from Thailand, inspired by the sight of his father (in the Friends Box) and his own incredible running forehands, Srichaphan hammered out a 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-2 victory in which he was clearly the superior player. As for Safin, who lost to Olivier Rochus 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1), it was stunning to see the second seed eliminated, but only for a moment. Safin’s talent and emotions flicker like a faltering light bulb, often on the verge of darkness. Earlier this year, the 2000 U.S. Open champion said it was “no big deal” if he didn’t win another major, and he’s right. On Wednesday, compared with the events surrounding him, it wasn’t a big deal at all. Sampras had a feeling it wasn’t his day when he was assigned to Court 2, the dreaded “Graveyard” that has taken down the likes of Ilie Nastase, Arthur Ashe, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors over the years. “I wasn’t happy being put there,” said Sampras, who had expected to be on one of the show courts, and his play fit the court’s ominous mood. The 13 Grand Slam titles, the utter dominance at Wimbledon, the aura – it all seemed like rumor. Sampras hit backhands as if he were experimenting with a new grip. He was late to the net on his approach shots and volleys. He double-faulted at crucial times, once during Bastl’s crucial service break for 5:4 in the final set. In a truly baffling sight, he was reading little notes during changeovers, and they weren’t pearls from the masters. In what surely will subject Sampras to great ridicule, they were inspirational words from his wife, actress Bridgette Wilson, who has the misfortune of being directly associated with Pete’s demise. Bastl, as it turns out, is a pretty good story. Though listed as a Swiss player, he grew up in Chicago while his father, George Sr., played NHL hockey for the Blackhawks. When the family moved to Villars-Sur-Ollon, Switzerland, he became the Swiss junior champion and a man of the world, mastering the Czech and French languages along the way. Despite his Midwestern upbringing and a collegiate career in the United States (including USC in 1997-98), he speaks English with a decidedly European accent. Sampras was at a loss for words in any language, and after a half-year of tennis that would rank as a disaster by any standards, he could sense a cadre of writers ready to demand his retirement. At 30, he’s not hearing of it. “It’s going to be a tough couple of weeks,” he said, “but I’m not going to give in to the critics. I’m going to stop on my own terms, not when someone else thinks I should stop. I still think I can win here, that I can win major tournaments. And this isn’t the way I’m going to end it at Wimbledon.” Boris Becker believes Sampras won’t be back at Wimbledon. “To me, his Wimbledon life stopped at that moment,” Becker wrote in a column in Saturday’s Times newspaper. “‘That’s it,’ I said, ‘He will not come back. That is the end of Pete.'” And the three-time champion of the event was right… For Bastl it was the only 5-set win of his career, and just 1 out of 4 in Grand Slams overall, the last one by the way. After that shocking victory he returned to mediocrity and reminded about himself for a while nine years later (!) as a player with arguably the longest beard ever. We had a seven-times champion who had spent much of a second-round match reading a letter of inspiration from his wife – out in the open, on a show court at Wimbledon, not at the dinner table in the candlelight. For Srichaphan, the sudden pride of Bangkok, this was a glorious beginning. He had so little to offer on paper: 60-60 lifetime record, 5-10 in Grand Slam events, 2-3 at Wimbledon, first-round losses here the past two years. But at the age of 22, he has the all-court game and physical presence to take off. “He served so big, so tough to read, it just put me on my heels,” Agassi said. “I’m still a little stunned. You know why it feels so good to win, because it feels like this to lose.” In another surprise on the men’s side, 98th-ranked American Jeff Morrison beat ninth-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 7-5, 7-6(5) on Centre Court. The 23-year-old Morrison got into the tournament as a “lucky loser” after Germany’s Tommy Haas withdrew when his parents were seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in Florida. With Ferrero out, six of the top-10 seeded players have been eliminated in the first two rounds. With Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Marat Safin eliminated Wednesday, Lleyton Hewitt underlined his favorite’s status by beating 165th-ranked French qualifier Gregory Carraz 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-2 on Court 1. Pumping his fists and displaying his typical feisty style, the Australian withstood a spirited challenge to record his second consecutive straight-set win in just over two hours. Adapting his hard-hitting baseline game to grass, Hewitt had only 13 unforced errors, 20 fewer than Carraz. He also served 11 aces, including four in a row near the end of the third set. The match turned in the second-set tiebreaker when Hewitt overcame a 5:2 deficit and won five straight points. Carraz missed an easy smash at 5:4 and had an apparent ace called out on the next point. Morrison lit up Centre Court with his athletic serve-and-volley game, spiky haircut and animated expressions, often smiling broadly and pumping himself up. Ferrero, a Spanish clay-court specialist playing in only his second Wimbledon, often found himself on the defensive against the lanky American. Morrison did show some signs of nerves. Up 5:1 (40/15) in the second set, he squandered two set points and allowed Ferrero to get back to 5:5. But he broke for 6:5 and served out the set at love, finishing with an ace. At 3:3 in the third set, Ferrero saved four break points and two more at 4:4, had two set points leading 6:5. In the tiebreaker, Morrison went down 4:1 but ran off five straight points to go up 6:4. He double-faulted on his first match point but converted on Ferrero’s serve on the next point. Morrison, of Huntington, West Virginia, is playing in only his second Grand Slam tournament. He lost in the first round at the 1999 U.S. Open as a wild card. Add Andy Roddick to the list of early losers at Wimbledon. Yevgeny Kafelnikov, too. On Friday, halfway through the third round, there were two ways to look at the men’s tournament: Either there’s impressive depth… or no one wants to win. Roddick was humbled by serve-and-volley specialist Greg Rusedski 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Centre Court, right after two-time major champion Kafelnikov, seeded fifth, seemed to stop fighting late in his 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-1 loss to Xavier Malisse. Rusedski owns the tour record for fastest serve, 149 mph, and he won 40 of 46 points on his serve in the first two sets. Roddick managed two break points, both in the third set. He set up one in the third game with a belly flop, net-cord passing shot, but wasted it with an unforced error backhand. The other came in the fifth game, but Rusedski pounded an ace at 133 mph. “By the time I started returning well,” Roddick said, “it was pretty much sealed up.” “This is anybody’s game,” said No. 27 Malisse, a Belgian who’s never won a tournament and has never been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament. If somebody wants to win it from the outside, this is the year to do it. It’s already the worst showing by U.S. men in the Open era, since 1968. Only two of the top 15 men are still playing – No. 1 Hewitt and No. 4 Tim Henman, slated to meet in the semifinals. James Blake received a standing ovation after stretching former champion Richard Krajicek to five sets in a marathon second-round match at Wimbledon on Wednesday. The 22-year-old American was beaten 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 11-9 in 3 hours, 7 minutes, in a match decided by just one break of serve in each set. The last set lasted 1:08. “It seemed to come down to a point here and there, and he came up with the good shots at the right time,” Blake said. “These are getting tough to lose. I hope it will help me in the long run.” It didn’t, Blake needed to wait another five years for his first 5-set win, in the meantime he equaled an infamous (mentioned above) Hipfl’s record of 9 five-set defeats having won none. Completely different entrance to a world of 5-set matches notched other newcomer, 21-year-old Feliciano Lopez, and Wimbledon debutant just like Blake. The Spaniard after winning his opening round 11-9 in 5th against Greek Konstantinos Economidis from a match point down, withstood six match points eliminating Guillermo Canas 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(7), 7-5, 10-8. Lopez saved a double match point at *5:6 (15/40) and four more match points at *3:6 & 6:7 in the tie-break! Canas led *4:2 in the 3rd set when he lost his service for the first time in the match. The Argentine suffered similar defeat for the second time in career, in 1999 (Caracas) he lost a Davis Cup rubber to Maurice Ruah leading two-sets-to-love and 5:0 (30/15) serving!!
Third round: Selena Roberts
George Bastl, Paradorn Schrichaphan and Olivier Rochus – the trio who sent Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Marat Safin packing in the second round – all were beaten yesterday. Paradorn lost 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2 to Richard Krajicek, who’s pretty much held together with duct tape these days. The 6-foot-5, 196-pound Dutchman is playing in only his second tournament since career-threatening elbow surgery in November 2000. After two years out of action following elbow surgery, Krajicek is suddenly looking like a potential contender for the title. “I didn’t have high expectations at all,” the hard-serving Dutchman said. “When I saw the draw, I thought, one round was good, maybe two. But I didn’t expect this.” Krajicek next meets Australia’s Mark Philippoussis, another big server making a comeback from serious injury. Philippoussis recovered from a set down to beat Nicolas Kiefer 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, blasting 33 aces. Philippoussis missed most of last year following three operations on his left knee in the space of 14 months and spent two months in a wheelchair. He also has played sparingly this year. “Somehow I’ve managed to, a little bit out of nothing, get this level of tennis and also the match toughness,” he said. Krajicek is the only former champion left in the draw, following the defeats of Agassi and seven-time winner Pete Sampras. During Friday’s match, Krajicek called for the trainer to treat his feet, still bothered by the wear-and-tear of his five-set win over James Blake on Wednesday. After Friday’s match, Krajicek made holes in his toenails to drain blood. “My body, I guess, is not used to it,” he said. “My toes are not used to stopping and starting. Right leg is pretty stiff. When you win, it doesn’t matter.” Philippoussis reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals three years in a row from 1998-2000, but missed the tournament last year due to the injury. He only got into this year’s draw as a wild card because his ranking slipped too low for direct entry. The 6-foot-4 Philippoussis relies on his huge serve, and his first serves Friday averaged 122 mph – including a fastest delivery of 132 mph. In addition to his aces, he had 13 double faults. Philippoussis, who gets twice-yearly cartilage injections in his knee, said he was not troubled by his previous injury. He said he expected a close match against Krajicek . “He’s a great player on the grass,” Philippoussis said. “One good thing I know, he’s going to be serve-volleying first and second serve, so I can expect that. It doesn’t really worry me who’s on the other end. As long as I do the right thing on my part and concentrate on my serves and make him play on his serves, I’m going to be dangerous.” Krajicek said he doesn’t expect many rallies. “I’m not going to stay back on my first or second serve, and neither is he. That makes it already difficult.” A backdrop of Britons were on the verge of needing their “Timbledon” banners for tissues as Wayne Ferreira unleashed a topspin forehand that looped over Tim Henman‘s head like a vulture Saturday. Doom was in the air for England’s beloved player during the third-set tiebreaker in the third-round match. As the passing shot slipped past Henman’s ears, it appeared to land on the intersection between the baseline and sideline. Both Center Court line judges saw it good. But the 5:1 lead for the South African in the tiebreaker was all too brief. Once Henman threw his arms up in the air to protest, and as the crowd hissed along with him, the voice of the chair umpire Jorge Dias turned the mood and the match around with an overrule from the opposite side of the court. Suddenly, Henman had life. Being down 4:2 was a far shallower hole. With Ferreira’s spirits in ruins, Henman won the next four points and went on to take the tiebreaker, 10/8, and the match, 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-1. “I think it’s shocking,” Ferreira said. “There’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. But if he had any decency, I think he would at least come and apologize the umpire. Tim has nothing to do with it. If I was in Tim’s position, 4-1 in a breaker, I’d also hope for it to be out. I think it’s a normal reaction from most people. I think it was total intimidation. I mean, what can you do about it? It’s over, over and done.” Henman had survived his brush with national humiliation. All week, as seeded players fell to the wayside, the tabloid headlines all but declared his title a certainty. “It was a pretty tight call one way or the other,” Henman said. “The umpire made his decision; that’s his job. I suppose you’d have to see whether he made the right decision or the wrong one on TV.” With Ferreira serving up 4:1 in the third-set tiebreaker, he hit a forehand to the corner that both linesmen ruled in. At 5:5 in that same tiebreaker (which lasted 15 minutes), Ferreira double faulted, and smacked a ball out of the arena, drawing boos. Still, he saved set points at 6:5 with a backhand return winner, at 7:6 with a crosscourt forehand pass, and at 8:7 with another brilliant backhand return. Then Ferreira wilted. A long backhand was followed by a forehand volley into the net, ending the tiebreaker – and, effectively, the match. The 1st set had similar progress, Ferreira led 3:0 in the tie-break before lost it on seventh set point. A startling 18 of the top 21 won’t be around when play resumes tomorrow, including Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick. And when 98th-ranked Jeff Morrison lost to No. 18 Sjeng Schalken 6-4, 7-6(7), 6-0, it marked the first time since 1922 that no American man reached the fourth round at the All England Club. “I didn’t even know until this morning when somebody said, ‘Hey, you’re the last American.’ Didn’t even dawn on me,” Morrison said, who blew a 6:3 lead in the tie-break. “It was unfortunate what happened to the Americans here this week, this tournament. But I didn’t feel any undue pressure.” Still headed for a semifinal showdown in the only big-name match-up still possible: No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and No. 4 Tim Henman. Hewitt had just four errors while dismissing Julian Knowle 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 for his third straight-set victory. Feliciano Lopez, who overcame match points in two matches, this time saved a set point in the 2nd set tie-break and took the momentum to beat Rainer Schuettler 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-4. Wayne Arthurs for the fourth time in career won a match thanks to three winning tie-breaks! There was no break of serve in his battle of serves against Taylor Dent. First break point occurred with Arthurs leading 5:4 in the 3rd set, simultaneously a match point. Dent saved it, got the set and had his first break point at 2:1 in the 4th set, a triple break point to be precise – Arthurs fired three aces in a row, and won by a 7-6(2), 7-6(3), 6-7(4), 7-6(5) margin, in aces was better too, 32-13.
Fourth round: Dennis Passa
Top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt bolstered his status as title favorite by winning easily in straight sets Monday to reach the quarterfinals on a chilly, rainy day at Wimbledon. Hewitt swept Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 in 2 hours, 13 minutes on Centre Court to make the final eight at Wimbledon for the first time. The Australian hasn’t dropped a set in four matches. ”I haven’t used a lot of energy so far,” he said. ”I still feel I’m able to go up another gear if I have to.” Hewitt had faced Youzhny the week before Wimbledon at a tournament in the Netherlands, winning 7-6 in the third. But it was a mismatch this time as Hewitt outplayed him in all phases. ”I was expecting a tough match,” Hewitt said. ”I’m happy to get through in straights sets. It was tough conditions, I didn’t want to spent a lot of time out there.” Hewitt played a controlled match, while Youzhny went for broke and had more winners (29 to 19) and unforced errors (42 to 22) than his opponent. Hewitt broke five times. Youzhny broke only once, with Hewitt serving for the second set at 5:2. Hewitt broke back in the next game to take the set. In the third set, Hewitt saved two break points at 3:3 and broke in the 12th game to end the match. Hewitt will next meet 18th-seeded Sjeng Schalken, who downed Jan Vacek 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 (Vacek had outplayed in the second round Mario Ancic in straight sets as well). In another early men’s match, 20-year-old David Nalbandian beat Wayne Arthurs 6-4, 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(7) to become only the second Argentine to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Guillermo Vilas was a losing quarterfinalist in 1975 and 1976. Arthurs, who hadn’t dropped his serve all tournament, lost despite serving 35 aces and being broken only once. He finished with 116 aces in four matches. The Australian won four points more (145-141), he could have moved the match into the decider but squandered a 5:2* & 6:5 lead in the tie-break. Two other South Americans joined Nalbandian in the next round – Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador, who beat France’s Arnaud Clement 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3; and Brazil’s Andre Sa, who downed Feliciano Lopez of Spain, 6-3, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. The unheralded Sa  came to London having lost six consecutive matches not being able to win even a set! “This morning, when I read the paper, I saw Ronaldo’s picture and face, and he looked like the happiest man in the world,” Sa said. “And I said, ‘I hope by the end of the day, I’ll have the same face.’ I guess I do right now.” The Brazilian en route to the quarterfinals didn’t beat a player of the Top 40, he’d played 18 out of 20 possible sets. Lapentti is the only Ecuadorian to get this far other than Andres Gomez, who reached the 1984 quarters. Sa is the second Brazilian to do so – after Gustavo Kuerten in 1999. For Lapentti it was third 5-set win in the tournament. He was within a game of losing twice, and two games away from defeat against Clement, who also won four more points despite being a loser (153-149)! “Well, I felt very tight, my muscles very tight after the first match. Since then I’ve been feeling pretty good, actually. I think once my body got used to the grass, my body, my legs and everything has been responding very well. So far every-thing’s going the way I would like to go.” said Lapentti. Tim Henman, his stomach knotted in pain, was hoping for more rain. When it didn’t come, he thought his Wimbledon title chances were finished. Henman overcame a possible case of food poisoning, a 1-hour, 50-minute rain delay, and breaks of serve in the fourth and fifth sets to advance Monday to the quarterfinals. He did it with a little help from smelling salts, his opponent’s 17 double faults, and a frenzied Court 1 crowd. Carrying British hopes for the first male homegrown champion in 66 years, the No. 4-seeded Henman beat Switzerland’s Michel Kratochvil 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in 4 hours 13 minutes. ”I don’t know who kept me alive but the crowd can take a lot of credit,” Henman said. ”Because at two sets to one and 2:1 down in the fourth, I was out of there. I can’t quite figure out how I won.” A Wimbledon semifinalist three of the last four years, Henman is trying to become the first British male champion since Fred Perry in 1936. But his quest nearly ended on a rainy, cool and windy day Henman, the only remaining seeded player other than No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt going into Monday’s round of 16, was up 4:1* in the third set when rain suspended play. ”I had a problem with my stomach just before the rain break and I was happy to go off,” Henman said. ‘‘I did not feel very good and hoped it would keep raining.” When the rain cleared and play resumed, Kratochvil broke Henman’s serve twice to take the set. At the end of the third set, Henman, suffering from cramps, called for ATP trainer Bill Norris, who administered smelling salts that appeared to revive Henman. ”I’m not quite sure why he gave me that,” Henman said. ”I think it was to try and kick-start me into action. I wouldn’t recommend it – they don’t smell great.” Norris came out twice more for Henman during changeovers in the fourth set, mostly to massage Henman’s legs. He also came out twice for Kratochvil after the Swiss player slipped on the court and scraped his right knee. Henman and Kratochvil exchanged early service breaks in the fourth set before Henman broke in the eighth game and served for the set to level the match. ‘‘I did not have a lot of energy, and suddenly when we came back I lost seven out of eight games and was down a break in the fourth,” he said. ”It wasn’t looking pretty.” It looked even bleaker when Kratochvil broke Henman in the second game of the deciding set, but Henman broke back in the next game when the Swiss player double-faulted on break point. Henman broke Kratochvil twice more to go up 5:2, then held his serve on a service winner to win the match and advance to a quarterfinal match Wednesday. Kratochvil said he thought he was in a good position to win. ”I’m obviously disappointed because I had him where I wanted,” he said. ”From the first game on, I had him under pressure, and he felt it. I just couldn’t close it out.” The crowd was a factor, too, but didn’t put off Kratochvil. ”It’s great, they were all going for Tim,” he said. ”But the whole screaming comes to you as well and builds you up. It was lifting me up on my toes.” Kratochvil made 57 unforced errors and both players often turned sure winners into lost opportunities. ”I had to fight for every point,” Henman said. ”It was never going to be easy. That’s what I’ll take away from this one.” There must have been times when Richard Krajicek thought that his comeback from elbow surgery was quicker and less torturous than his fourth-round match against Mark Philippoussis. The two big servers in the Wimbledon draw were scheduled to start their match on Monday, but were pushed to Tuesday because of rain. They played four sets, only to have their match full of tie breakers suspended again. With daylight fading today, they played for only five minutes and two games into the fifth set before a downpour brought out the tarps. A half-hour later, and after three days of trying, Krajicek finally put an end to the remarkable run of Philippoussis by extending his own dream scenario with a 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 6-7(1), 7-6(5), 6-4 victory, concluded at 9:15 tonight. ”This is Wimbledon and there are delays,” said Philippoussis, who has struggled through three knee operations and entered the tournament as a wild card. ”It’s unbelievable,” Krajicek said. ”I mean, I booked my holiday house for today. My wife is already at the holiday house.” She might want a return ticket to Wimbledon. At age 30, Krajicek’s massive serve is still alive and kicking on this surface. Today, he kept pace with Philippoussis, serving 24 aces. Philippoussis had 27, but he also had more double faults. In the opening game of the fifth set, Philippoussis served up one of them to give Krajicek a critical break opportunity that he seized. As 9 p.m. came and went, Krajicek delivered an ace to set up match point. One nervous double fault later, he drilled another serve at 125 miles an hour, a speed Philippoussis couldn’t handle. ”I’ll put some more gas in the tank tonight,” Krajicek said. ”I don’t know what, pasta or something.” The Dutchman was broken only once, at 1-all in the 2nd set, a few fames later Philippoussis was serving to take a 2-0 lead, but lost his serve to ’30’ committing a double fault on Krajicek’s third chance. Krajicek, ranked outside the Top 1000 became the second Open era player to advance to major quarterfinals., 8 years earlier at Wimbledon as well, Guy Forget won also four matches being ranked 1130! Greg Rusedski‘s dreams of winning Wimbledon are over for another year after the British No. 2 lost the final set of his protracted fourth-round clash with Xavier Malisse  in just 32 minutes. The match had been finely poised at two sets all when play was suspended shortly before 9 p.m. last night, moments after Malisse had taken the fourth set to level the match. The interruption should have been to Rusedski’s advantage as Malisse had threatened to establish control before play was called off for the day. But the 23rd seed lost his serve when he netted a simple volley in the seventh game, and Malisse held his nerve to complete a 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory, saving one of two break points in the final game of the match with a thumping ace. After Rusedski had comfortably taken the first set yesterday, Malisse complaining vehemently to the umpire at the change of ends about some close line calls that went against him. That seemed to fire up the 21-year-old and after he had saved a break point to edge back in front, two missed volleys gifted him the break of serve and helped him to a 4:1 lead. The next three games then went with serve before Malisse had to save three break points before sealing the set on his third set point to take it 6-3 and level the match. Just when he had worked hard to deservedly get himself back on level terms, he presented Rusedski with a vital break of serve in the early stages of the third set. A double fault was followed by a simple backhand sliced beyond the baseline and Rusedski was suddenly 3:1 ahead. With the big serve back in the groove, one break was all he needed and the 28-year-old served out to love to take the set 6-3 and a two sets to one lead. Rusedski was keen to close out the match before darkness fell, but Malisse refused to be beaten and saved four break points to keep his nose in front. That proved vital as Rusedski eventually lost his rhythm on serve, a double fault handing Malisse a 5:3 lead and five points later the match essentially boiled down to a one-set showdown.
Lleyton Hewitt grabbed a big lead in his Wimbledon quarterfinal, then wasted four match points. The No. 1-ranked Hewitt eventually overcame the first real challenge he’s faced, outlasting No. 18 Sjeng Schalken 6-2, 6-2, 6-7(5), 1-6, 7-5 Thursday to reach the semifinals. The Australian next faces No. 4 Tim Henman, whose attempt to become Britain’s first Wimbledon men’s champion in 66 years was extended with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 victory over 90th-ranked Andre Sa of Brazil. Hewitt owns a 5-0 career record against Henman, a semifinalist for the fourth time in five years. “Right now probably the toughest task in tennis is to beat Hewitt,” said Henman, who has yet to face a seeded player. “He proves consistently why he’s the best in the world.” Friday’s other semifinal pits 20-year-old David Nalbandian against 21-year-old Xavier Malisse. Neither had been to a Grand Slam quarterfinal before. No. 27 Malisse, the first Belgian man since 1904 to get this far at Wimbledon (Paul de Borman lost in the semifinals that year), defeated 1996 champion Richard Krajicek 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7. Krajicek, sidelined for 20 months after right elbow surgery, was the only past winner left in the field. Nalbandian, playing his first grass-court tournament, beat Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4 to become the first Argentine semifinalist at Wimbledon. Hewitt – never before a Wimbledon semifinalist – and Schalken played a match seemingly suited to clay courts, both rooted at the baseline for rallies that sometimes lasted more than 30 strokes. Hewitt failed to convert 11 break points in the third set, including those four match points at 6:5. “I must have had about 500 break points in the third set,” U.S. Open champion Hewitt said, “and wasn’t able to take one.” The first three match points were erased by poor returns from Hewitt – one of the game’s top returners – and the fourth by an overhead from Schalken. The momentum shifted to Schalken completely in the tiebreaker. With the Dutchman ahead 4:3, he hit a forehand that Hewitt watched land right beside him near the baseline. The line judge made a late call, which Spanish chair umpire Javier Moreno-Perez overruled to put Schalken up 5-3. Hewitt threw his arms up and head back and yelled, “No!” He argued to no avail. Four points later, Hewitt put a forehand into the net to lose a set for the first time in the tournament. “The match sort of turned. He got confident. He was not making the mistakes he made in the first 2½ sets,” Hewitt said. “He started stepping it up. It turned into a dogfight.” Schalken broke to go up 2:1 in the fifth set, but Hewitt broke right back. They exchanged breaks again right away. Hewitt had to save break points at 4:4 and 5:5 – pumping his fist, pounding his chest and shouting, “Come on!” after winners. “I pick out a lot of people in the crowd that I know. Everyone gets a little bit of a pump now and then,” he said. With Schalken serving at 6:5, Hewitt smacked a running forehand winner to set up his fifth match point – oh-so-long after his fourth. Schalken then sent a forehand wide, ending it. “I don’t know what to say,” Hewitt said. “I felt I should have been in the locker room a long time ago. In the end, he was playing the better tennis, but the fighting spirit came out of me.” Schalken finished with 36 winners and 66 unforced errors. Hewitt had 22 winners, 43 errors. Sa, who hadn’t been past the second round of 10 previous majors, gave Henman yet another test. “I dug my heels in and the crowd got me going and I began to turn it around,” Henman said. “I had to keep fighting, but that’s been the way pretty much through the whole of this tournament.” If Henman beats Hewitt, he would be the first British man in a final since 1938. “There’s a lot of pressure on him to do well. He’s made the semis so many times, and everyone expects so much of him here at Wimbledon,” Hewitt said. “Everyone’s been asking the question: ‘When is he going to finally get through to the final and give himself a chance to win?”’ Philippoussis was able to break Krajicek’s serve just once in a log five-setters, Malisse did it thrice already in the 1st set! In the 5th set Krajicek led 6:5*, 30/15. Ultimately the Belgian prevailed after 2 hours 28 minutes. Much more longer 5-setter co-created Nalbandian and Lapentti (4 hours 3 minutes). The Ecuadorian came back from a 1:4 deficit (two breaks) in the 3rd set, and it seemed that he would make a miracle winning fourth match at Wimbledon ’02 being close to defeat. He cut a 1:4 lead in the deciding set as well (ralling back to 3:4), but this time Nalbandian didn’t panic and held his last two service games quite easily.
Lleyton Hewitt is going to the Wimbledon final for the first time and Tim Henman is going out as a semifinal loser for the fourth time. The top-seeded Hewitt overwhelmed No. 4 Henman in straight sets Friday to close in on his second Grand Slam title, and ended the British player’s latest attempt to become the first homegrown champion since 1936. On another day of rain delays, the Australian played a nearly faultless counter-punching baseline game and won 7-5, 6-1, 7-5 in 2 hours, 19 minutes. It was a masterful performance by the world’s top-ranked player, who mixed powerful ground strokes, flashing returns, topspin lobs and all-court hustle to beat Henman for the sixth straight time. “I played incredibly well,” Hewitt said. “Tim came at me all the time and I was able to raise the bar when I had to.” Said Henman: “He is the best in the world. And again today, he proved it.” Henman, who faded after the first set, has now lost in the semifinals in four of the past five years. This tournament had been considered his best chance of ending Britain’s Wimbledon curse and becoming the first male champ since Fred Perry 66 years ago; the last British finalist was Bunny Austin in 1938. But “Henmania” is finished for yet another year. And Queen Elizabeth II, who had been expected to attend Sunday’s final in her 50th jubilee year if Henman made it that far, can make other plans. The statistics told the story: Hewitt had 41 winners and only nine unforced errors; Henman had 13 winners and 33 unforced mistakes. “I’ve been hitting the ball great for the past four weeks,” Hewitt said. “I was prepared to lay it all on the line out there today. I like playing in big occasions, the big matches.” The Hewitt’s domination was more visible than the scoreline would suggest; in both sets that he won ‘7-5’ already led 5:3. David Nalbandian‘s first appearance on Centre Court at the All England Club will be for the Wimbledon final against No. 1-ranked Hewitt. It’s one of many firsts for the 20-year-old Argentine. No other man reached the final in his Wimbledon debut in the Open era (since 1968). No other Argentine has been this far at the tournament. And, most amazingly, Nalbandian never had played a tour-level event on grass. Because of all of that, Hewitt – the reigning U.S. Open champion – will be a big favorite Sunday. It will be the youngest Wimbledon final in Open era history. The combined ages of the 21-year-old Hewitt and Nalbandian are one year lower than those of the 1992 finalists: Andre Agassi (22) and Goran Ivanisevic (20). Nalbandian’s 7-6(2), 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 6-2 victory over No. 27 Xavier Malisse was interrupted by rain and halted because of darkness after four sets Friday (Malisse served to win the 1st set at 5:4). They finished Saturday. Malisse twice called for a trainer during Friday’s action and said Saturday that it was because his heart was racing, but that “there’s nothing to worry about.” Nalbandian shrugs when asked about making his debut on the world’s most famous tennis court. Because of rain this week, his quarterfinal against Nicolas Lapentti was played on Court 2 and his semifinal against Malisse was moved from Centre Court to Court 1. “I never played on Court 1, so it’s the same,” Nalbandian said. It will be the first Wimbledon final to feature two baseliners since Bjorn Borg beat Jimmy Connors in 1977 and ’78. The last baseliner to win the title was Agassi in 1992. “These are the best weeks of my life,” Nalbandian said. “This is very great for me. I’m very happy. I don’t have too much time to enjoy it, but I’m going to try a little bit. For me, this is a dream.” Hewitt and Nalbandian have played just once before, with Hewitt winning 6-2, 6-4 on clay in Barcelona in April. “You know he’s good from the baseline,” Hewitt said. “Nice forehand. Probably forehand’s a slight strength I’d say. But he’s got a nice rally kind of backhand.” Nalbandian expected the match to be “very tough.” “He’s playing very, very good,” Nalbandian said. “I think he and me have the same chances to win the tournament.” While many Australians are expected to stay up late to watch the final on television – it’s scheduled to start around 11 p.m. there – Nalbandian wasn’t quite so sure Argentina will be watching. “I hope the people watch me, enjoy the match,” said Nalbandian, who hopes the match will divert attention from Argentina’s economic woes. “I think for Argentina, is very important. The people (are not) in a very good moment right now. I hope they can make different things on the mind, watch my match and enjoy it.” Wimbledon is Nalbandian’s fourth Grand Slam event. He reached the fourth round of last year’s U.S Open as a qualifier, the second round of the Australian Open, and the third at the French Open. Nalbandian had a strong junior career, winning the boys’ titles at the 1998 U.S. Open and 1999 French Open. He also reached the boys’ semifinals at Wimbledon in 1999 – but was defaulted for arriving up late (against Jurgen Melzer).
If there were ever any doubts about Lleyton Hewitt‘s status as the world’s top player, there aren’t any more. The 21-year-old Australian crushed David Nalbandian in straight sets Sunday in the Wimbledon final to win his second Grand Slam title (it was his 16th title overall, who could expect it would be his last major triumph at the time?), solidify his No. 1 ranking and confirm the changing of the guard in men’s tennis. In a tournament where aging former champions Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi lost in the second round, Hewitt swept through the draw without a hitch and put on a ruthless performance Sunday to win 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in under two hours: “It’s an unbelievable feeling. Growing up as a kid back in Australia I always dreamed that some day I was going to be playing for this trophy and I saw Pat Cash do it 15 years ago and to finally get a chance to do it out here, I can’t believe how I’ve played these two weeks. It’s a ripper!” His victory on Sunday makes him the first Australian to win the grasscourt crown since Pat Cash in 1987. Nalbandian, playing for the first time on Centre Court in his debut year in the main draw, could not recover from a poor opening set in which he appeared to be fighting nerves. By the time he got his game going, Hewitt had raced to a 4:0 lead and the Australian won the first set in 33 minutes. The second set was interrupted twice by rain – the first break marked by the appearance of a streaker – but nothing could distract Hewitt from his task. After grabbing two breaks to one for the Argentine, he served out with an ace to take a two-set lead. Nalbandian got another break in the third set, but he was already a break down and Hewitt got two more to claim victory in just under two hours of play by converting his second match point. After the match, Nalbandian managed a joke: “I hope that next year when I come here for the second time I am going to win the final.” he added: “It was a big day for me. My first grass tournament. This was unbelievable.” The match shaped up as a mismatch: the top-seeded Hewitt against No. 28 Nalbandian, a 20-year-old Argentine playing in his first grass court tournament and his first match on Centre Court. And a mismatch it was. Hewitt never wavered, whipping his ground strokes with power and precision, dictating the points, making very few errors. Nalbandian couldn’t cope with the occasion or Hewitt’s supremacy, making countless unforced errors. Hewitt’s only show of nerves came when he served a double fault on his first match point at 5:2, 40/0. But when Nalbandian hit a shot long on the next point, Hewitt fell onto his back in exhilaration He got back to his feet and slammed a ball into the crowd. After shaking hands with Nalbandian, Hewitt left his racket on his chair and pumped his fists above his head to the crowd. Hewitt then climbed up through the stands to the guest box, emulating the celebrations of Pat Cash, the last Australian to win Wimbledon in 1987. Hewitt embraced his coach Jason Stoltenberg, kissed his girlfriend Kim Clijsters and hugged his parents before returning to the court to accept the winner’s trophy. With an Australian flag draped around his shoulders, he paraded around the court showing off the Challenge Cup trophy to the crowd. “I kept looking at the scoreboard to see if it was real,” Hewitt said. “This is great. I don’t really want to let go of it.” Hewitt, who won the U.S. Open last September, has now added the most prestigious title in tennis to his resume and validated his legitimacy as the top dog in the game. And he did it without any of the controversy which has dogged his career: no tantrums, no abrasive behavior, no tirades at umpires or line judges. Hewitt, who dropped only two sets in the tournament, seemed to come of age both on and off the court. What’s more, Hewitt became the first baseliner to win Wimbledon since 1992. It was the most one-sided final in terms of fewest games won by the loser since John McEnroe beat Jimmy Connors 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in 1984. Stats of the final
Wimbledon, Great Britain
June 23-July 6, 2003; 128 Draw (32 seeded); Surface – Grass
We’re approaching 10th anniversary of Roger Federer’s first Grand Slam title (simultaneously it was Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam debut). The Swiss had been considered as a major title contender since Wimbledon 2001 when he stunned the 7-time champion Pete Sampras, but must have waited another 24 months to fulfill the expectations. He scraped through seven rounds in impressive style losing just one set in the fortnight… When the draw was made, the top half of if looked very interesting because there was a huge probability that the defending champion (Lleyton Hewitt) would meet a former champion (Richard Krajicek) in the second round. The latter withdrew though, calling time on tennis career; in turn the former suffered the most sensational loss of 2003 (one of the biggest upsets of the Open era too), which virtually finished his two-year reign in men’s tennis.
First round: Howard Fendrich
It was tough to catch a glimpse of Lleyton Hewitt when he left Centre Court after one of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history. His 6-foot-10 opponent, Ivo Karlovic , blocked the view. Hewitt’s stunning 6-1, 6-7(5), 3-6, 4-6 exit Monday against Karlovic, a qualifier, made him the only defending champion to lose in the first round at the All England Club in the Open era – and the second since Wimbledon began in 1877. And it’s not just that Hewitt lost. It’s who beat him. Karlovic is ranked 203rd, entered with a 2-4 career mark in tour-level tournaments, and failed in 10 previous attempts to qualify for Grand Slams. “I’d never seen him play,” said Hewitt, also the only No. 1-seeded player to lose so early at Wimbledon in the Open Era (since 1968). “I’d seen him walk around a bit.” After a wobbly start, Wimbledon’s tallest player ever used each inch to his advantage. He pounded serves up to 135 mph, gathering 19 aces plus 40 service winners, and unfurled his lanky right arm to guide volleys with surprising delicacy. Hewitt, who’s a foot shorter, is a gifted returner, but he looked like a baseball batter who couldn’t handle Randy Johnson’s fastballs coming down at him. “Anyone’s going to have a problem trying to get back those serves all the time,” Hewitt said. “There wasn’t a whole heap I could do out there.” Another of Hewitt’s skills, the defensive lob, was of little use. Karlovic barely had to leave the ground to get to one and slam it off the turf into the stands while serving out the match at love. Down 5:4 in the 2nd set, he erased a set point, then coupled a service winner with an ace to make it 5:5 (saved six break points in total, was 15/40 at 0:1 & 0/40 at 1:2). Then, trailing 5:4 in the tiebreaker, Karlovic hit a service winner at 133 mph, an ace at 128 mph, and laced a crosscourt forehand winner to make it a set apiece. Surprisingly, Hewitt appeared to be more easily unnerved, complaining to the chair umpire after an announcement for “persons requiring disabled parking” accidentally aired over loudspeakers during a point. The Australian handed over the 3rd set’s lone break with consecutive double-faults. After Karlovic broke for a 5:4 lead in the final set, hundreds of fans – eager to support an underdog – rose to cheer. “I was overwhelmed,” said Karlovic, who after the match had to duck through the doorway leading to locker rooms. He received a congratulatory call from countryman Goran Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion sidelined with a knee injury. “He was always my idol,” Karlovic said, “I had his posters in my room”. Andy Roddick, seeded fifth, hit 14 aces and 21 service winners to beat Davide Sanguinetti 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. Greg Rusedski smacked 31 aces and needed only one service break to defeat Alexander Waske 7-6(6), 7-5, 7-6(7). Gustavo Kuerten trailed John Van Lottum 6-2, 2-3 when the Dutchman quit with a back injury. Todd Martin improved to 21-13 in five-set matches by rallying past Fernando Vicente 6-7(4), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-4. No. 4 Roger Federer and No. 9 Rainer Schuettler also advanced. Hewitt was one of four seeded men to lose. No. 29 Gaston Gaudio was beaten by American Mardy Fish 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. No. 2-seeded Andre Agassi began his 13th Wimbledon by hitting 16 aces and beating British wild card Jamie Delgado 6-4, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4. Agassi punctuated the victory with his ritual of bowing and blowing kisses to the Centre Court crowd. ”For me at this stage of my career, it’s quite a feeling to be out there,” said Agassi, 33. ”You never really know how many chances you’re going to get again. I feel like as I get older, I have more capacity to embrace those moments.” Robby Ginepri was the first to model the new look Monday (sleeveless T-shirt). The American wore it again yesterday when the match – suspended because of darkness – was completed in a loss to 15th-seeded Arnaud Clement of France 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-7(3), 10-8. Above a photograph of Ginepri, a Daily Mail headline yesterday read: “What are they doing to the shirts?” Not that much, really. Wimbledon is simply letting men dress more casually – the way women have for several seasons. One thing remains: Sleeves or no sleeves, under Wimbledon guidelines the color still must be “predominantly white.” Ginepri made a lot of effort to be remembered because his match was the longest that year at Wimbledon (4 hours 33 minutes). He rallied from a 3:5 deficit in the 4th set and had fought off several match points in the 5th set on serve, 6:7 (30/40) & 7:8 (0/40) before Clement prevailed. Rafael Nadal , 17 years 20 days, playing his fifth tournament at the main level, won his first Grand Slam match unexpectedly surviving a 4-set battle against two years older  Mario Ancic 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Nadal became the third youngest match-winner in the Wimbledon history behind Mats Wilander (1981) and Boris Becker (1984). First Wimbledon match was also won by a qualifier Robin Soderling , who stunned Martin Verkerk 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1. The big-serving Dutchman (out-aced Soderling 24-19) was a fresh Roland Garros runner-up and many expected he would go far in London. Fourth seed Roger Federer buried his Wimbledon demons on Monday after beating South Korea’s Hyung-Taik Lee 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(2) in the first round on Monday. Approaching the net at every opportunity, Federer took the opening set in 24 minutes after unleashing an nonreturnable serve on his first set point. But he faltered at the start of the second and allowed Lee to take a 3:1 lead. Federer cut back on his unforced errors to break back and clinch the second set. The Swiss, who claimed his first grasscourt title in Halle eight days ago, appeared to be cruising to a straightforward win in the third. Closing out the match, however, proved to be tricky. The world number five failed to convert seven match points during the third set as Lee unleashed an flurry of forehand and volley winners to stay alive. With Lee refusing to back down, the match went into a tiebreak. Having hung around for more than 20 minutes after earning his first match point, Federer finally booked his place in the second round on his eighth attempt after a Lee crosscourt shot sailed wide. British 10th seed Tim Henman stumbled through to the Wimbledon second round on Tuesday with an unimpressive 6-2, 7-6(11), 3-6, 6-1 victory over Czech lucky loser Tomas Zib. Zib forced a marathon tie-break and squandered three set points before Henman finally raised his game to take it with a crunching backhand volley. Two sets down, the gritty Czech refused to crumble and, looking increasingly mobile, he dominated the third set, outplaying Henman whose errors began to multiply under warm sunshine. The Briton dug in, though, forged an early break in the fourth set and eventually ran away with the match, serving three consecutive aces as he served out to love.
Second round: AP
Andy Roddick knows how it feels to get so riled by a call that a tornado of anger swirls and swirls until it renders the racket useless. It was nice to be on the other side of the net this time: Greg Rusedski‘s profanity-filled tirade at the chair umpire over a disputed point was the beginning of the end of their big-serving showdown at Wimbledon on Wednesday. Roddick stayed focused and won the final five games, including his only breaks of Rusedski’s serve, to advance to the third round with a 7-6(4), 7-6(1), 7-5 victory. “I knew he might be a little mad,” Roddick said, “so if I was going to get back into it or try to take over, then that was probably going to be my time.” This entire fortnight might just be his time. The No. 5-seeded Roddick is looking more and more like a player ready to claim his first Grand Slam title. He’s fresh off his first grass-court title, at Queen’s Club, and he’s rejuvenated – if that word can be used to describe someone who’s 20 – by new coach Brad Gilbert. “The results are speaking right now,” Roddick said. “You don’t become physically better overnight. A lot of it’s between the ears, keeping calm.” That helped Wednesday against Rusedski, the 1997 U.S. Open runner-up and the man who eliminated Roddick in the third round last year. Roddick never has been to the round of 16 at Wimbledon, and standing in the way is No. 25 Tommy Robredo, who defeated Brian Vahaly of the United States 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. Robredo knocked off Lleyton Hewitt at the French Open but is much more of a threat on clay than grass. Proving that his Grand Slam-debut upset of defending champion Hewitt wasn’t a total fluke, qualifier Ivo Karlovic slammed 29 aces in a 6-4, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-2 win over Paul Baccanello. Even Roddick and Rusedski – who share the record for fastest serve in history, 149 mph – didn’t come close to that total, each compiling 14 aces. Both played stretches of superb tennis through the first two sets, neither allowing so much as a break point. Rusedski volleyed brilliantly; Roddick finished with 29 baseline winners. Roddick seized control of the opening tiebreaker with a runaround forehand return winner, then closed it with a backhand passing shot at a nifty angle. Rusedski seemingly was getting back into the match, leading 5:2 in the third set, when the whole complexion changed. With Roddick serving at 30/15, he hit a shot that caught the line, and a fan yelled “Out!” Rusedski hit the ball over the net, but then stopped playing – he thought a linesman made the call. Roddick, a bit confused, too, tapped a volley over to win the point. Rusedski briefly argued with chair umpire Lars Graff, pleading for the point to be replayed. At the next changeover, though, Rusedski came unhinged completely. Walking off the court, he hit a ball back to the wall behind the baseline. He threw his racket down beside his chair, threw a ball, tossed his racket again, and screamed all sorts of obscenities at Graff. The BBC, which aired the match and picked up Rusedski’s comments on a courtside microphone, apologized to viewers. Tournament referee Alan Mills said he will fine Rusedski but didn’t immediately announce how much. “I’m sorry for the language I used,” Rusedski said. “We all lose it. Unfortunately, if you lose it at work, it doesn’t get shown on TV. If I do, it does.” He didn’t win another game, losing 18 of the final 23 points. Three losses in a row to Jan-Michael Gambill was enough – Mardy Fish was not going to allow any four-baggers on Day 3 at Wimbledon. Fish, who trains at Saddlebrook, played perhaps his best grass-court tennis to defeat his nemesis 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 and enter the the third round confidently against No. 4 seed Roger Federer, one of the favorites for the Wimbledon men’s title, who won 17 of the final 19 games to beat Stefan Koubek 7-5, 6-1, 6-1 in the second round Wednesday. The No. 4-seeded Federer rallied from a 5:2 deficit (saved a set point on serve in the 9th game) in the first set to take control. Showing how effective his all-court game can be on grass, Federer won 25 points at the net and hit 26 winners. “I know I can beat him. I know that,” Fish said about his Friday opponent. “And I’ve shown I can beat guys ranked around him, and he knows that as well. I’m just looking forward to showing people I belong.” Grass suits Fish’s natural attacking instincts; he reached his second ATP final Saturday in Nottingham, losing to the big-serving Rusedski. On Wednesday, Fish, ranked a career-best 45th, hit 16 aces and 21 winners and faced only one break point. Spanish left-hander Rafael Nadal, at 17 the youngest entrant in the men’s draw, beat British wild-card Lee Childs 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 on Court 13. “I wasn’t as fast as I could be on this surface and my opponent obviously raised his game. It was nothing to do with my recent shoulder injury.” Nadal said. No. 9 Rainer Schuettler, the Australian Open runner-up, eliminated Fabrice Santoro 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. Last year at this time, Andre Agassi was waving cheerio to Wimbledon. His fortnight was over after just three days. He had wasted another chance to reclaim the Grand Slam title he has not won since 1992. On Thursday, Agassi was careful not to trip over his second-round opponent. He stepped gingerly over Lars Burgsmuller, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3, to ensure he’ll make it to Saturday. Tim Henman, the only player from Britain still alive in singles, beat left-hander Michael Llodra of France, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. Henman won 77% of his first serves and hit 25 winners at the net. The start of his Centre Court match was delayed slightly by the filming of a movie called “Wimbledon,” starring Kirsten Dunst. “Hopefully, it’s not reflected in our desperation to try to win this tournament one day that they have to make films about it,” he joked. “I think the state of the British game is not particularly healthy at the moment, and that has been the case for quite a number of years. But we’ve got to break out of the rut we’re in.” There were two incredible battles on smaller arenas: Agustin Calleri would have obtained one of the most amazing victories if he had converted 1 out of 2 match points he held at 8:7 on return in the 5th set against Flavio Saretta. Calleri won two tie-break sets being close to lose them (saved 3 set points in the first tie-break and came back from a 3:5 deficit to win the second one). Saretta eventually prevailed 6-4, 6-7(13), 6-2, 6-7(5), 10-8 after 4 hours 28 minutes. Fifty minutes shorter was a duel between Paradorn Srichaphan and Olivier Mutis, in which the Thai avoided being eliminated from the event in 3rd, 4th and 5th set (!): 4-6, 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-5. He saved match points at 4:5* (15/40) in the 4th set, earlier on there was 2:4 & 3:5. In the 3rd set he had led 4:0*, 5:1 to be a game away from the loss at 5:6 (at 5-all the encounter was suspended for 32 minutes due to rain). In the decider Srichaphan withstood a triple-mini-m.p. at 5:5 (0/40). On Court No. 1, a 5-set specialist Nicolas Lapentti wasted his chances to beat Sjeng Schalken in either 4 or 5 sets. The Ecuadorian led *3:0 in the 4th set tie-break and had a break point leading 3:1 in the 5th set, Schalken survived 6-2, 3-6, 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 6-3 though.
Third round: Lisa Dillman
Andy Roddick is looking rather dominant himself, also not dropping a set yet. He reached Wimbledon’s fourth round for the first time by beating No. 25 Tommy Robredo 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4. Roddick didn’t lose his serve once and is playing the sort of confident tennis that could very well bring him his first Grand Slam title. His last two wins came on Centre Court, and he looks quite comfortable in the setting, even if he says otherwise. “I don’t think it can be natural at any time. It’s a very special place. I don’t think it’s ever going to lose that aura,” Roddick said. “Obviously, I’m getting more and more used to it. But there are always some jitters early on in a match, for sure.” He compiled nine aces and 33 service winners, facing just one break point. Roddick’s opponent for a quarterfinal spot is No. 12 Paradorn Srichaphan, who upset Andre Agassi a year ago. Paradorn defeated 17-year-old Spaniard Rafael Nadal (6-4, 6-4, 6-2), who was trying to become the youngest man in the fourth round since Bjorn Borg in 1973. The Australian Open runner-up Rainer Schuettler had the most work to do, overcoming  Todd Martin 4-6, 7-5, 6-7(1), 6-1, 7-5 (3 hours 30 minutes) in Martin’s record-tying 14th five-setter at Wimbledon. “When I die it’s certainly not going to matter to me whether Billy Smith in 2223 knows how good of a career I had,” he said Friday after losing to Schuettler. “It just has no bearing.” Martin, who became a new father in January and turns 33 next month, is president of ATP Player Council. His five-set loss to Schuetler prompted few questions about the match, and more about Lleyton Hewitt’s $1.5 million suit against the ATP. The Aussie contends he was unfairly fined for failing to give an interview to ESPN last year. “It is disappointing that he (Hewitt) finds it necessary to sue the ATP because, essentially, he’s suing his fellow players,” Martin said. Ivo Karlovic – the 6-foot-10 qualifier who stunned defending champion Lleyton Hewitt – bowed out with a 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) loss to 6-foot-5 Max Mirnyi  despite slamming 26 aces. Andre Agassi broke serve only once but played two nearly flawless tiebreakers Saturday to edge Younes El Aynaoui 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in the third round at Wimbledon. Agassi, trying at 33 to become the oldest Wimbledon champion in the Open era, will face another big server in the fourth round Monday – Mark Philippoussis. El Aynaoui hit 19 aces to keep every set close, and three times he was within one point of forcing a fifth set. “So much does boil down to his serve,” Agassi said. “It was so important today for me to take care of my own serve. So I felt very, very focused.” Agassi erased three set points serving at 5-6, 0/40 in the fourth set, and he came up with clutch shots in both tiebreakers, including a forehand winner on his final swing to close the 3-hour, 13-minute match. “Whenever he needed it most, he hit the corners, he hit the lines, he played his best tennis,” three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker said. El Aynaoui, seeded 27th, smiled as he congratulated Agassi at the net and offered a thumbs-up. The No. 2-seeded Agassi lost serve only once and changed his usual tactics by occasionally playing serve and volley. He won 27 of 30 points at the net. “I don’t know what got into me there,” Agassi said. “I probably won’t do that again until about 2010.” Agassi has beaten his next opponent Philippoussis in six of their seven matches, including their only meeting on grass in the 2000 quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Philippoussis, a three-time quarterfinalist but unseeded, fired 33 aces and defeated No. 35 Radek Stepanek 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4, 7-6(6). Stepanek was seeded as No. 35 because three seeded players withdrew (Marat Safin, Albert Costa & Alex Corretja). He led 4:0 in the first tie-break and 4:1 in the second one, but hadn’t a set point in any of them. Juan Carlos Ferrero, seeded third, defeated Sargis Sargsian 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Tim Henman swept 18-year-old Swedish qualifier Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-1, 6-4. Olivier Rochus reached the fourth round at a Grand Slam event for the first time by beating No. 30-seeded Jarkko Nieminen 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1. Alexander Popp of Germany, a quarterfinalist in 2000, downed No. 11 Jiri Novak 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3). Popp’s mother is English, and the London media are eager to adopt him as British – during Wimbledon, at least. “Well, it’s up to you,” Popp said. “But obviously I’ve been playing for Germany the last 26 years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change.” Roger Federer kept his head together during two rain delays and darkening skies, finishing off Mardy Fish shortly before nightfall, winning 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. “I’m happy I finished it today, after so many breaks,” said Federer, who will face Spanish left-hander Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round. “In the end, it got really dark. Almost lost my serve because I wanted to get out of there.” Said Fish: “You’ve got to hand it to the guy. I don’t really see too many guys beating him if he plays like that. I played a great third set, as good as I can play, and I beat him, 6-4.” This was the first time Fish had played on the main show court at a Grand Slam tournament, and Roddick advised him to check out Centre Court before walking out for the match to get acclimated. He said he felt as though he could never get on track, and Federer simply didn’t allow him to do so until the third set. Still, Fish kept at it and stayed even in the third until 4:4, then broke Federer at 30, with a full stretch forehand volley. Centre Court fans rallied behind him, pushing for a fourth set. “I got a little bit of chills when the crowd was backing me. Obviously they wanted to see more tennis, probably doesn’t have anything to do with the player,” Fish said, self-deprecatingly. “They were getting behind me when I won that 4-4 game to go 5-4, and played that really good point, it was kind of surreal.”
Fourth round: Steve Wine
The ace race was one-sided, the match much closer. Andre Agassi lost them both. The top-ranked Agassi was overpowered Monday by unseeded Mark Philippoussis, who tied a Wimbledon record with 46 aces and pulled off a fourth-round upset, 6-3, 2-6, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4. The defeat ended Agassi’s bid at 33 to become the oldest men’s champion at Wimbledon in the Open era. “Everyone was expecting him to win, and that’s a great position to be in,” Philippoussis said. Agassi hit 10 aces and kept the match close by overcoming 18 of 21 break points on his serve, but he converted only two of 11 break-point chances himself. Philippoussis repeatedly came up with big serves on important points – and against a player whose service return may be the best ever. Philippoussis, who has 119 aces in four matches, earned his fourth quarterfinal berth at Wimbledon. He has never advanced further. The Australian’s serves topped out at 134 mph, and his ace total tied Goran Ivanisevic’s mark in a second-round loss to Magnus Norman in 1997. “I felt like I made him earn it,” Agassi said. “There were a lot of moments where either one of us could have taken the match, and he ended up doing it at the end.” No. 5-seeded Andy Roddick advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time, and No. 4 Roger Federer also won. Federer hurt his back warming up and required treatment in the first set but still beat Feliciano Lopez 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4. “It was very tough for me,” Federer said. “I don’t know how I won.” Lopez helped a lot because he squandered a 5:4 (40/0) lead on serve in the 1st set. Philippoussis staged the day’s biggest upset when he won his final 16 service games, saving nine break points. He smacked a 119 mph service winner on the final point, then raised his arms in jubilation. “The great thing about the serve is you’ve got the ball in your hands,” Philippoussis said. “You can take your time. No one can rush you, and you’re in control. Today I had great rhythm out there, and it made life a lot easier for me.” Agassi had chances to break back at 2:4 in the 4th set, but Philippoussis recovered from 0/40 down with aces number 31 and 32. The 6-foot-4 Philippoussis has long been touted as a potential Grand Slam champion and is again a title threat after enduring three knee operations during a 14-month span in 2000-01. Agassi, who won his lone Wimbledon title in 1992, said he’ll be back for another try next year. “Why wouldn’t I be back?” he said “I’m still a tennis player. This is the place to be.” Roddick, the lone American left in the men’s draw, beat Paradorn Srichaphan 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Roddick lost a set for the first time in the tournament but won 17 of 18 service games, making him 63 for 65 through four rounds. Roddick will next play Jonas Bjorkman. The unseeded Swede reached the quarterfinals for the first time in 10 years at Wimbledon by beating Max Mirnyi 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4). Alexander Popp, a 6-foot-7 German, made the most of his 14-inch height advantage against 5-foot-5 Olivier Rochus to win 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Popp will play Philippoussis next. No. 8 Sjeng Schalken defeated No. 9 Rainer Schuettler, the Australian Open runner-up, 7-5, 6-4, 7-5. Tim Henman came through a nervy encounter to book his seventh Wimbledon quarter-final in eight years with victory over David Nalbandian. The British number one surrendered his serve five times in a rollercoaster match (six straight breaks in the 3rd set!) before emerging victorious 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-3 in a minute over three hours. “The level of my play to 6-2 3-1 was as good as it gets,” said Henman. “But it’s amazing how things can change. With missing one or two points the whole momentum of the match changed and we were sitting down at a set-all – it was pretty depressing.” It was Henman’s only win over Nalbandian in six meetings. In a fourth-round match completed Tuesday, Sebastien Grosjean hit 17 aces and beat French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(3). Play was suspended because of darkness Monday night after the third set. In the 68-minute 4th set Ferrero led 5:4* (30/0), then saved a match point on return at 5:6. “I didn’t serve as well as yesterday,” Ferrero said. “I was playing very good this Wimbledon on grass. I think I can play very good here. That’s new because the other years I didn’t feel so well.”
Quarterfinals: Steve Wine
Andy Roddick remembers when he was 6 or 7, at home in Florida watching Wimbledon telecasts of matches between Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg on Centre Court. Becker emand Edberg have retired, but Centre Court is still there. And on Friday, Roddick will be too, playing in his first Wimbledon semifinal. “It’s weird to think that there’s some 9-year-old kid out there getting excited to wake up early and eat bacon and eggs and watch,” Roddick said. “It’s pretty cool.” Roddick and his opponent, Roger Federer of Switzerland, are talented youngsters long touted as future Grand Slam champions. Now each is on the verge of his first major final. “It’s a great chance for both of us,” said Federer, 21. “It’s going to be a match that everybody’s been kind of waiting for. This is quite tough to judge, because we’re quite young.” The No. 5-seeded Roddick, 20, advanced to his second major semifinal this year Thursday by beating unseeded Jonas Bjorkman 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. Federer, seeded fourth, beat No. 8 Sjeng Schalken 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The other semifinal will match unseeded Mark Philippoussis against No. 13 Sebastien Grosjean. Philippoussis hit 34 aces – raising his tournament total to 153 – and rallied past Alexander Popp 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 8-6. Grosjean disappointed British fans by beating Tim Henman 7-6(8), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Both matches took two days to complete because of rain. The Philippoussis’ match was suspended at 2-all in the 5th set. He led 40/15 at 3:2 & 4:3, then saved three mini-match points at 5-all, the third one with a diving volley, he saved another mini-m.p. at 6-all. Henman again fell short in his bid to become the first Englishman to win Wimbledon since 1936. “Perhaps my chances are getting less,” said Henman, 28. “It won’t stop me from coming back and trying.” In the 1st set Henman came back from a *1:5 deficit, only to waste 4 set points in the tie-break (two on serve). “I played pretty good against Tim – I wasn’t in good shape after losing the second set, but the rain helped me a lot and I came back much better,” Grosjean said referring to a rain-interrupted game 1:2 behind in the fourth set. Roddick has been on the verge of a Grand Slam breakthrough before. At the Australian Open in January, he beat Younes El Aynaoui in a five-hour quarterfinal that included a 21-19 fifth set, the longest in Grand Slam history. Two days later, weary and hampered by a swollen right wrist, he lost in his first major semifinal to Rainer Schuettler. “I didn’t feel too great,” Roddick said. “I had a lot stacked against me. I wasn’t going in really thinking I could win, maybe. I’ll be a little bit fresher than I was in Australia.” Roddick has lost only one set in five rounds, and he needed just 92 minutes to beat Bjorkman. The big-swinging American is 10-0 since hiring Andre Agassi’s former coach, Brad Gilbert, last month. All of those victories have been on grass, where low, unpredictable bounces can make his 125-mph serve almost unreturnable. Roddick has lost only three of 79 service games at Wimbledon. During a stretch of seven service games against Bjorkman, he lost a total of two points – one on a double fault. Those are the kind of serving statistics seven-time champion Pete Sampras used to compile at Wimbledon. With Sampras in semi-retirement and no former Grand Slam winner in the final four, Roddick is favored by odds-makers to take the title. “It makes it a little bit intriguing, a little bit exciting maybe for outsiders – the prospect of a new Grand Slam champion,” Roddick said. “But I play probably the best player not to win a Grand Slam on Friday.”
Semifinals: Steve Wine
With a strong serve of his own and a superior all-around game, Roger Federer beat Andy Roddick 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-3 Friday to become the first Swiss man to reach a Grand Slam final. The match-up between young players touted as future Grand Slam champions turned out to be a mismatch. Federer controlled the net, employed a broader variety of shots and – surprisingly – hit 17 aces to just four for Roddick. The No. 4-seeded Federer will play in his first major final Sunday against unseeded Mark Philippoussis, who won every service game and overpowered No. 13 Sebastien Grosjean 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-3. It’s the first time both men’s semifinals have gone three sets since 1982. ”Five-setters are better for the crowd,” Federer said with a smile. ”But true tennis fans love to see sometimes fast and good matches like today, because I really played great. I served extremely well. To raise my game like this for such a big match is incredible.” Federer, whose previous grass-court highlight was ending Pete Sampras‘ 31-match Wimbledon winning streak in 2001, overcame a set point in the tiebreaker when Roddick blew an easy forehand on serve. Federer pulled away from there, erasing the only two break points he faced and smartly mixed the spin, pace and placement of his shots. Roddick lost only three of 79 service games in the first five rounds, but Federer dug in against serves of up to 137 mph. He put all but 25 in play, aces included. ”I played not great, but by no means was it a bad match for me,” Roddick said. ”He played very well.” The No. 5-seeded Roddick, now 0-2 in Grand Slam semifinals this year, was uncharacteristically subdued most of the match. He tried a little showmanship, hitting a ball between his legs after it landed long. He tried arguing, briefly complaining when the chair umpire ruled a shot bounced twice before Roddick hit it. But the match continued to slip away from him. Federer closed the second set on a long rally, moving smoothly from side to side before charging forward to put away a difficult half volley. Even Roddick smiled in admiration as he walked to his chair. ”The last shot was ridiculous,” Roddick said. ”I don’t know if anybody else can do that shot. It was almost like he was doing a trick shot.” While Federer began the tournament as one of the favorites, Philippoussis is an improbable finalist. The Grand Slam title match will be the second for the Australian, but his first since a knee injury that required three operations in 2000-01 and nearly ended his career. ”It’s weird,” he said. ”It feels like I was in a wheelchair yesterday, but then again it feels like I’ve been away for six years. It’s a good feeling.” Against Grosjean, Philippoussis faced only two break points, and the longest rally on his serve was five shots. Hitting serves at up to 131 mph, Philippoussis totaled a modest 11 aces, raising his total for the tournament to 164 in six matches. He volleyed well coming to the net behind most of his serves, and 37 weren’t returned. Federer’s trying to become first Wimbledon junior champion to win the men’s title since Stefan Edberg, the champion in 1988 and 1990. ”This is my favorite tournament,” Federer said. ”It’s a dream.” Grosjean held his own at the outset against Philippoussis. The server won 21 consecutive points during one stretch, and Grosjean lost only one point in his first five service games. But the exchanges became more interesting late in the set, with three rallies of 15 strokes or more. In the tiebreaker, Grosjean misplayed a volley and forehand to lose two points serving, and Philippoussis won the final five points of the set. They played for an hour before the Frenchman earned a break point, and that chance slipped away when he put a return in the net. Philippoussis broke twice to take the second set, and Grosjean double-faulted to lose serve again in the next-to-last game. ”I don’t think Sebastien played his best tennis today, and I took advantage of that,” Philippoussis said. ”I volleyed well and tried to keep the pressure on.”
Final: Steve Wine
Roger Federer became the first Swiss man to earn a Grand Slam title Sunday, out-serving Mark Philippoussis to win 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3) in the Wimbledon final. Federer totaled 21 aces (23 service winners) and never faced a break point, while Philippoussis had 14 aces (36 service winners) – 13 below his tournament average – and a costly double fault in the pivotal first tiebreaker. When Philippoussis hit a return into the net on match point, Federer sank to his knees, looked to the sky and smiled. He shook hands with Philippoussis, then took a seat and began to sob, covering his eyes with his hands. ”I was always joking around when I was a boy, ‘I’m going to win this,”’ a laughing Federer told the crowd during the trophy ceremony. ”I never thought it possible to win a Grand Slam.” At the end of the ceremony, as Federer thanked his Swiss supporters, he again began to cry, then lifted the trophy over his head. Philippoussis, who hit 46 aces in a fourth-round win over Andre Agassi, cracked serves at up to 138 mph against Federer. But the young Swiss often got them back, and he had the easier time holding serve, going to ‘deuce’ only once (4th game of the last set). The first tiebreaker turned when Philippoussis hit a double fault long to fall behind 6:4. Two points later he had a crack at a second serve from Federer and took a big swing, but it sailed eight feet wide to give Federer the set. A dispirited Philippoussis then lost his serve twice in a row and fell behind 4:0 in the second set. The Australian held serve the rest of the way. But Federer took a 3:1 lead in the final tiebreaker with a lucky shot – a mishit forehand return that landed in the corner for a winner. Three subsequent errors by Philippoussis helped Federer close out the victory. ”I didn’t have one break point today, and he definitely returned a lot better than I did,” Philippoussis said. ”He took advantage of his chances, and it was too good.” Philippoussis was hoping to become just the third unseeded men’s champion since Wimbledon began seeding players in 1927. His runner-up finish is the latest chapter in a comeback from a knee injury that required three operations and nearly ended his career. ”There are a lot of positive things to take with me from the last two weeks,” he said. ”I’ll definitely be back.” The No. 4-seeded Federer lost only one set in the tournament, the first man to do so since Richard Krajicek in 1996. He overcame a back injury that required treatment from a trainer during his fourth-round win. ”I thought I had to throw in the white towel, but somehow I came through and my back got better and my game got better,” Federer said. ”It’s just incredible. I don’t know how I did it.” With his victory, seven men have won the past seven Grand Slam titles. That contrasts with the domination of the women’s tour by Serena Williams, who beat sister Venus in Saturday’s final and has won five of the past six major events. Federer improved to 12-0 this year on grass and has long excelled on the surface. He was the Wimbledon boys champion in 1998, and in 2001, at age 19, he ended Pete Sampras’ 31-match Wimbledon winning streak. On Sunday, he fulfilled his potential. With both players hitting big serves and following them to the net, the rallies were fast and furious, averaging less than 2 1/2 strokes. One of the few long exchanges came on the fifth point of the first tiebreaker, when both players stayed back and traded 15 shots – the last a forehand winner by Federer. The Centre Court crowd roared with delight at the extended action. After 47 minutes, Federer earned the first break point and converted it when Philippoussis put a tough volley in the net. Another volley in the net gave Federer another break, and he held from there to close out the second set. To reach the final, Philippoussis twice rallied from a set down, and once from two sets down. But against Federer there would be no comeback. The 1-hour, 56-minute match might have been even shorter, but chair umpire Gerry Armstrong overruled a lines-woman’s call with Philippoussis facing break point in the final set. Philippoussis hit a second serve that the woman called out as Federer shanked his return. Armstrong immediately overruled the call and awarded the point to Philippoussis, rather than ordering it replayed. Federer frowned but did not argue. Philippoussis won the next two points for a 2:1 lead, and held serve from there (he saved also two break points at 5-all). But he managed only one service winner and no aces in the final tiebreaker. Federer won $960,250. Philippoussis received $480,125. It was 9th title in Federer’s career. Stats of the final