It was the Wimbledon final rematch that promised great shot making and drama and it didn’t disappoint. After a battle in the first set there was argument with the umpire from Nadal which only served to fire him up as he then accelerated towards the finish line, winning 7-6, 6-1.
Nadal came under early fire, Berdych finding ways to use his strength and height to cope with the spin and bounce of the Spaniards shots, working his way to two break points. Nadal, a ferocious competitor fought for every single point like it was a fight to the death, spurring himself on with a series of loud cries of “Vamos!” and “Si!”, sending his opponent a clear message as held.
Nadal returned the favour with some blistering returns to bring up two break points in the fifth game, on of which Berdych saved with a huge forehand down the line that the world number one couldn’t control. Berdych held for the 3-2 lead.
When Rafa served to push for a tie break Berdych hit a ball that the umpire called out, Nadal sticking his hand in the air to challenge if it wasn’t overruled. Berdych complained and then challenged. The ball on the Hawk-Eye review was only just in. Rafa had returned the ball in the court. Because it was Berdych who’s challenge was accepted it should have been a replay, instead Berdych and the umpire believed that the point was Berdych’s because Nadal had interupted play. Nadal became irate and understandably so complaining that it wasn’t fair, and he almost sat down and refused to play.
It appeared that despite the fact that the umpire had overruled and it was Berdych’s they were saying that Nadal had interrupted play. In the event that Nadal had interrupted play and the ball had not been overruled and Nadal’s challenge was proven incorrect as it would have been, then Berdych deserves the point. However, the umpire overruled, agreeing with Nadal that it looked long, and Berdych challenged. Not the other way around.
The fact that the umpire overruled changes everything. Berdych challenged. Berdych was correct. Replay the point.
Rafa, then emotionally charged, took the game and the set before channeling his frustration into destroying Berdych in the second set. An enraged bull is a dangerous site on the other side of the net. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nadal so irritated that he looked like he was going on strike.
After the match Nadal, who has won almost $8 million and has a 69:9 win:loss record for this season looked back on his season and the drama filled match.
“For me, finish the season winning all the matches in the group, three victories against top eight players in probably the most difficult surface for me, is unbelievable now. I am very happy to be in semi-finals. Tomorrow going to be a very difficult match against one of the best players of the world. I’m very happy how I am playing, how I improved during the tournament and for me today was a very good match.
You always can have a better season. You can win in every place. But for me, is very difficult to imagine. In my case, is almost impossible.” – Rafael Nadal
“Every time you play No. 1 player in the world, is a great experience. I need to learn from the mistakes. That’s how I can be better for the future. It was one of my goals for this year to get here and I’m happy for that.” – Tomas Berdych
“It just show how the referee is probably scared of him and just let him to talk with him too long. The rules are quite correct, you know. When you ask for the challenge, and he stops the game. It’s so simple that the point is what the challenge shows, and let’s play and continue, not to be talking. It’s not the mistake of Rafa. It’s the mistake of the referee. He just need to show him (Nadal) that it’s not like he can do whatever he wants on the court, just let him play. It should be more, you know, continuous.” – Tomas Berdych
“I am right, but is mistake for him. But he is a great umpire and everybody have a mistake. I think he did today. Everybody have a mistake. If my ball went out, the mistake was myself.” – Rafa Nadal