Lawn Tennis
Rafael Nadal Wins First Grasscourt Title
By Anton Lagani, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2008 1:29pm CST USA
Rafael Nadal Wins First Grasscourt Title
Photo by Ian Kingston/AFP/Getty Images
LONDON, England (—Only one week after winning his fourth consecutive French Open title, world number two Rafael Nadal of Spain today defeated world number three Novak Djokovic of Serbia 7-6(8-6), 7-5 in the Artois Championships final to claim his first ever career grasscourt title.

Earlier in the week Nadal had showcased his much improved volley

“This week was amazing for me,” Nadal said.

and aggressive baseline game to defeat defending champion Andy Roddick of the USA and the tallest player and best server in the game, Ivo Karlovic of Croatia.

Nadal had also met Djokovic last week at the French Open with Nadal winning in straight sets, but it was thought by many that Djokovic would be favored to win on this faster surface.

Djokovic took the early lead in the match at 3-0, before Nadal hit back to even the score at 4-4. From 4-4 both Nadal and Djokovic each held serve to reach the tiebreaker.

Nadal saved a set point at 5-6 in the tiebreaker with a forehand down the line inside out winner. Two forehand errors from Djokovic sealed the set.

In set two Nadal went ahead 2-0 before receiving courtside treatment on a blister on a finger of his right hand. Djokovic broke Nadal's serve to take the lead at 5-4 behind forceful play with contributed to two forehands hit out by Nadal.

After a Nadal crosscourt forehand volley winner and a Djokovic wide forehand passing shot, Nadal broke back to even the match at 5-5. A quick hold of service placed Nadal one game away from the win at 6-5.

Nadal would convert his first matchpoint by running down a Djokovic dropshot/lob combination. After hitting a final overhead winner, Nadal dropped to his knees to celebrate.

The match was Nadal's 15th match victory in a row and increases his chances to become the first man to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back in the same year since Bjorn Borg of Sweden in 1980.

“This week was amazing for me,” Nadal said, “Wimbledon is a very, very important tournament, and the motivation is 100 percent.”

Copyright Lawn Tennis 1997-2008 | Home