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Three of the most memorable
Wimbledon finals
Wimbledon Finals
The pinnacle of the tennis season is almost upon us – Wimbledon. Held at the All England Club in London since 1877, it’s the oldest tennis tournament in the world and one that all players wish to win during their career. For some, even making a final or semi-final is an absolute dream; while others have been fortunate to win the championship on multiple occasions. Betfair have all the latest odds ahead of this year’s event in SW19; but here, we take a look back at three of the most memorable finals since the turn of the century.

2008: Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer (6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 6-7(8-10), 9-7)

Dubbed the greatest Wimbledon final ever, starring two greats of the game, the 2008 final between Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Swiss ace Roger Federer is the longest final to date. The five-set thriller was played out on Centre Court for four hours and 48 minutes.

Nadal won both the first two sets, before rain stopped play with Federer leading in the third, 5-4. After an 80-minute break due to conditions, Federer hit back and won the set, before also going on to win the fourth. Rain delayed play for a second time and it looked likely that the match may be suspended until the following day. However, the deciding set was played out and while at one point, Federer was two points away from securing his sixth successive Wimbledon title, Nadal held serve and eventually broke serve, winning the final set 9-7.

Interestingly, Federer and Nadal haven’t played each other in a Wimbledon final since. It may have been over a decade ago now, but it’s highly regarded as the best tennis match of all-time, while also being the highlight of a long-standing rivalry which continues to dominate tennis today.

2005: Venus Williams defeated Lindsay Davenport (4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 9-7)

It was and still is, the longest women’s singles final to date, where Venus Williams took the plaudits after a thrilling encounter against Lindsay Davenport. Having previously won back-to-back championships in 2000 and 2001, Williams had slipped down the rankings and was in the midst of a four-year Grand Slam drought. She went into the tournament as the 14th seed, while opponent Davenport was world number 1, despite not winning a major in five years, herself.

Both women had injuries to contend with, but the match didn’t look like it’d be memorable to begin with – especially when Davenport took the first set fairly easily. The second set was a much tighter affair, with Williams edging it going into the tiebreak. The drama unfolded in the final set, with Davenport making the breakthrough to lead 4-2, before leaving the court for treatment on her back. On her return, Davenport was playing for match point, but Williams turned it around, serving to stay in the game on three occasions. In the set’s 16th game, Williams won her third Wimbledon title.

2001: Goran Ivaniševic defeated Pat Rafter (6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7)

Croatia’s Goran Ivaniševic made history in 2001, not only becoming the first unseeded player since Boris Becker in 1985 to win the Wimbledon title, but also becoming the first wildcard to win a Grand Slam. It wasn’t the first time that Ivaniševic has made a final though, he’d managed that three times in the ‘90s (losing to Andre Agassi in 1992, and Pete Sampras in 1994 and 1998). He faced the number three seed, Australia’s Pat Rafter, who had beaten Agassi in his semi-final.

It was a closely-fought final, with the ascendancy going back and forth in each player’s favour, much like a tennis rally. With the first four sets shared between them, it went down to a fifth and final set. Rafter had managed to save three match points, before his resolve gave in and Ivaniševic won the final set 9-7. As well as the result, the match was remembered for its carnival like atmosphere – very unlike Wimbledon. With the Croats and Aussies in good voice, the BBC called it: “the most raucous crowd a Wimbledon final has ever seen”.
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