2010 Wimbledon – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Finals
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Berdych played just about as well as possible in his straight-set victory over Novak Djokovic in the semis and has reached his first career Grand Slam final. He is only the third Czech player in the Open Era to reach the finals of Wimbledon, and it seems he is finally living up to all the hype that has surrounded him for years. No matter the result, Berdych is projected to reach a career high of #8 in the world on Monday.
Nadal hasn’t lost a match at Wimbledon since the finals of 2007 and has a 13-match winning streak on the grass here. It’s really amazing how quickly things have changed for Nadal after going winless for so long on the tour he is now on the cusp of winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles and cementing himself as the clear #1 player in the world. It will be interesting to see how well his knee holds up throughout the summer heading into the US Open.
Nadal is 7-3 against Berdych and did beat him in the quarters at Wimbledon back in 2007 in straight sets. First off, I want to congratulate Berdych on a fantastic tournament. He has won the respect of the entire tennis community and I don’t think you will hear anyone talk about his mental game anymore. He has beaten two top-five players in the last couple of rounds and he surely shouldn’t be intimidated by Nadal. That is much easier said than done though, because playing Nadal is a tough feat and his “ironman” style of play makes him a one of a kind. You saw this in the Murray match. Nadal just doesn’t give up, it doesn’t matter if you are up a break or what. He is going to play his game, he won’t get flustered, and he is extremely confident.
Two things I will be focusing on in this match are: 1) Can Berdych adjust to the heavy spin of Nadal’s forehand? 2) Can Berdych continue to play his game and hit winners from all over the court? I really think those are the two most important factors in this match and will be the difference between winning and losing for Berdych. You have to give Nadal the edge because he has been here before, he is playing fantastic tennis and he is just very, very difficult to beat. I look for a close match, but in the end I think it will be Nadal holding the winner’s trophy!
Nick’s Pick – Nadal in 4 sets