Your Daily Dose of… tennis epics

Your Daily Dose of… tennis epics

1 RAFAEL NADAL V ROGER FEDERER, 2008 WIMBLEDON FINAL
This 4hr 48min epic has been immortalised on the Internet and in history books as one of the greatest tennis battles. It was a match that saw two rain delays, momentum shifts and fading light before Nadal won his first Wimbledon crown.

The Spaniard’s 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7 win vanquished his demons from the previous two years, when he was defeated in the final by the same opponent. His 2007 loss, he said in his autobiography Rafa, left him “utterly destroyed”.

This final shows both men at their finest, including a brave Federer backhand down the line while the Swiss was facing a match point in the fourth set.

2 STEFFI GRAF V MARTINA HINGIS, 1999 FRENCH OPEN FINAL
Most had expected Hingis, 18, to win this. She had won the singles and doubles titles at the Australian Open, the first Major of the year. She was facing the 30-year-old Graf, who had not won a Grand Slam title in three years.

But the Swiss teenager unravelled, especially after faltering when she served for the title in the second set. She earned the ire of the crowd when she went to Graf’s side of the court to dispute a line call in the second set while leading 2-0. Graf held steady, recovering from being a set and a break down to come back and win the title.

Hingis left the court and had to be dragged back by her mother for the trophy presentation.

3 SIMONA HALEP V CAROLINE WOZNIACKI, 2018 AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINAL
Halep and Wozniacki went into this match as two of the best women players who had yet to win a Grand Slam. A maiden Major and the No. 1 ranking were on the line. Both had lost two Major finals. Halep was world No. 1, while Wozniacki once held the top position for 67 weeks.

The 2hr 49min duel, contested in the gruelling Australian summer heat, featured gritty resolve, as well as the long rallies and end-to-end running characteristics of both their playing styles. In the end, it was Wozniacki who wore Halep down, prevailing 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-4.

4 ANGELIQUE KERBER V VICTORIA AZARENKA, 2012 WTA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS GROUP GAME
The 3hr 6min battle was a display of fighting spirit as Kerber, the world No. 5, refused to back down against the top-ranked Victoria Azarenka in their opening match at the season finale in Istanbul.

The German saved five set points in the opening tiebreak to take the first set, and again fought back in the second set. Azarenka, who threw her racket to the ground in frustration, was jeered by the crowd but remained unfazed to force a decider.

In the third set, Kerber again levelled the score despite being down a break, but it was Azarenka who won 6-7 (11-13), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.

5 JOHN ISNER V NICOLAS MAHUT, 2010 WIMBLEDON FIRST ROUND
Length has no bearing on quality, but this 11hr 5min marathon, which took place over three days, is the longest tennis match in history.

American Isner eventually outlasted Frenchman Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3), 70-68. The fifth set took 8hr 11min to complete.

The match even managed to attract non-tennis followers, with Durex using footage from the game in a condom commercial.

 

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