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Monday, July 6, 2009

Matches of the tournament

Photo Titled Roddick overshadowed
Roddick overshadowed

They say lightning doesn't strike twice - but after a fortnight of perfect weather, the phenomenon of a Championships ending with a classic men's singles final was repeated, and this time the rain didn't intervene.

So there's no prizes for guessing which was the match of the tournament. But the Wimbledon website's team have collated what we think are the top 10 matches of the past fortnight and you can relive them by clicking on the links. If you've been watching, how do they compare with your own list?

1. Roger Federer v Andy Roddick

Roger Federer became tennis's greatest champion, watched by a legion of champions, as he beat Andy Roddick 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 in four hours and 16 minutes to claim his sixth Wimbledon crown. It was also a record 15th Grand Slam title for the Swiss master, overhauling the total of Pete Sampras who was in the Royal Box along with fellow legends Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver.

It was a truly momentous climax to the 2009 Championships as the 27-year-old Swiss became the most successful man in the sport. Sampras, previous holder of that title, had been an unannounced surprise visitor to Wimbledon – where he has not been seen since 2002.

2. Elena Dementieva v Serena Williams

Saving a match point along the way, Serena Williams battled through to the women's singles final by defeating Russia's Elena Dementieva 6-7, 7-5, 8-6. At two hours 49 minutes it was the longest women's semi-final at Wimbledon in the era of Open tennis. It was also, by some distance, the finest women's match at the 2009 Championships.

3. Andy Roddick v Lleyton Hewitt

The 6th seed American won the quarter-final battle of two men who really don't know the meaning of the word surrender. The fans on No.1 Court noisily enjoyed every minute of the five-set battle which lasted two hours and 55 minutes.

4. Andy Murray v Stanislas Wawrinka

The first match to be played in its entirety under a closed roof at Wimbledon turned out to be a classic as well as a marathon as Andy Murray staged a dramatic recovery to defeat Stanislas Wawrinka in five sets and gain a place in the quarter-finals for the second successive year. Once again on Wimbledon's second Monday, BBC One's schedules were ripped up for an evening as the Scot entertained a nation.

5. Melanie Oudin v Jelena Jankovic

A 17-year-old American qualifier ranked 124 played a blinder to dump former world number one Jelena Jankovic out of Wimbledon. Jankovic, who received prolonged treatment for heat exhaustion and problems with both feet, edged a close first set but then sensationally lost her third round match against the unheralded Melanie Oudin. Afterwards, Jankovic told a press conference that "sometimes it's hard to be a woman" but the young American who lost to Laura Robson during last year's junior tournament showed no such worries as she came of age.

6. Gisela Dulko v Maria Sharapova

Argentinian Gisela Dulko outlasted Maria Sharapova in a three-set thriller 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the second round. The Russian battled back from a set down and saved four match points in the final game with a stunning array of audacious shots, but Dulko remained calm to knock out the 2004 champion and set up a third-round clash with No.10 seed Nadia Petrova.

7. Sabine Lisicki v Svetlana Kuznetsova

Rising German star Sabine Lisicki caused a shock when she beat French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets on the latter's 24th birthday. Despite riding high on the back of her Grand Slam triumph this month, 5th seed Kuznetsova was slow out of the blocks and failed to recover in time to rescue the match, succumbing to her 19-year-old opponent 6-2, 7-5.

8. Dinara Safina v Amelie Mauresmo

Top seed Dinara Safina made Wimbledon history by winning the first match to be played under the new Centre Court roof, overcoming former champion Amelie Mauresmo in a three-set battle.

9. Lleyton Hewitt v Radek Stepanek

Lleyton Hewitt brought back memories of his 2002 Wimbledon triumph to turn around a two-set deficit and reach the quarter-finals. Having struggled through the first two sets against Radek Stepanek, he came back reinvigorated after a medical timeout. Stepanek had injury problems of his own, and Hewitt emerged victorious after two hours 54 minutes.

10. Andy Roddick v Andy Murray

Three years after his last appearance in a Grand Slam final, Andy Roddick broke the hearts of the Centre Court crowd by defeating the home favourite Andy Murray in a tremendous display of intelligent tennis. Murray, not at his best, could not find a way to break down Roddick’s serve, and the American won through to the third Wimbledon final of his career. British fans, meanwhile, hailed another brave but beaten semi-finalist, albeit one who vowed that he would come back even stronger from the experience.

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