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World No. 1 Rafael Nadal won his second Wimbledon title on Sunday as he mastered blustery conditions at the All England Club to defeat first-time Grand Slam finalist Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the final of The Championships.
The Spaniard has dominated the ATP World Tour since April, winning 31 of his past 32 matches, and came into Wimbledon having just won his seventh Grand Slam championship at Roland Garros (d. Soderling). He also achieved the Roland Garros – Wimbledon double in 2008, when he became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to accomplish the feat.
The Manacor resident is the first Spaniard in history to win two Wimbledon titles. The only other Spanish winner at the All England Club is Manuel Santana, who lifted the trophy in 1966 (d. Ralston).
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“It’s more than a dream for me,” said Nadal. “It was always my dream to play on this court and today, to play a fourth final for me was amazing. I couldn’t be here last year but this year I came back and to have this trophy in my hands is more than a dream.”
“It was a great two weeks for me, but he was very strong today,” conceded Berdych. “He’s showed in the last few months that he’s really the champion and he just deserved to win today.
The 24-year-old Nadal, who regained the No. 1 spot in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings from Roger Federer after his Roland Garros triumph last month, added a further 2000 points to his tally. He has already secured his place in the elite eight-man field at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the year-end championships which will return to The O2 in London from 21-28 November.
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Nadal is one of six players to reach four successive Wimbledon finals, joining Boris Becker, Bjorn Borg, Federer, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras. The Mallorcan finished runner-up to Federer in 2006 and 2007 before lifting the trophy for the first time in 2008 by defeating his Swiss rival in the longest Wimbledon final in history in four hours and 48 minutes. He was forced to miss last year’s Championships due to tendonitis in both knees.
"Every one is really special," said Nadal, comparing his two Wimbledon finals. "Is difficult to say this one is more special. The other one was more dramatic, the way to win. So first title is always very, very special.
"For sure after not easy year for me. Be back at my favourite tournament of the world here and play well another time, and not only play well, so finish with the trophy is amazing for me. Was very difficult for me to be back at my best. I did, so is very important and emotional moment for me. I want to enjoy that."
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His defeats to Federer in the 2006 and 2007 Wimbledon finals are his only two losses in 10 Grand Slam finals. In addition to his two Wimbledon trophies, he has also won five Roland Garros crowns and lifted the trophy at the 2009 Australian Open (d. Federer).
The left-hander has now won 14 matches in a row at Wimbledon, and improved to a 40-8 match record on grass, the eighth-best tally among active players. He won his first grass-court title at The Queen’s Club (d. Djokovic) in 2008.
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The 12th-seeded Berdych was contesting his first major singles title after embarking on a tremendous run through the top half of the 128-man singles draw. He stunned top seed and six-time champion Federer in the quarter-finals, before ousting World No. 3 Novak Djokovic in Friday’s semi-finals.
“I want to congratulate Tomas because he is having an amazing season and had a very good tournament for today,” said Nadal. “I’m sorry for today but I wish him best of luck for the rest of the season.”
The Czech player has built further on the strong results he had already compiled this season. He defeated Federer en route to his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Miami (l. to Roddick) and reached his first-ever major semi-final at Roland Garros, following victory over World No. 4 Andy Murray in the fourth round.
The 24 year old was the first Czech player to compete in the Wimbledon men’s singles final since Ivan Lendl in 1987 and was looking to become the first champion from his country since Jan Kodes triumphed in 1973.
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“I hope this gives me a lot of confidence and some extra power to be stronger for next time and who knows what’s going to happen in the next few years,” said Berdych.
"I think the biggest difference between us was that when he got a chance, he just took it. He gave me one in the second set, one in the third set, and none of them I can bring it to my side and just made a break. That just shows how strong he is. I think it was just really about the small difference.
"It's really tough to find out some special tactic [against Nadal]. So my strategy was just concentrate for myself, start well and wait for some little chances. But, as I said before, he took it."
Berdych is projected to rise to a career-high No. 8 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings when the new rankings are released on Monday.