July 25, 2018
Wimbledon 2018 surpassed all expectations. What a Championships once more! Incredible drama from start to finish, shocks aplenty, breathtaking feats of human endeavour…and of course superb tennis!
Here are our top six most dramatic matches from Wimbledon 2018, in reverse order. You will of course have your own favourites and there were so many to choose from!
6/ Serena Williams v Julia Goerges
This may seem a strange one to choose. It didn’t go to three sets, and Williams won 6-2, 6-4. So why was this so special?
Because it was the best tennis Serena has played since her return. She was back to her old, supreme level, just ten months after coming close to death in childbirth. That is truly unbelievable!
Goerges was going for her winners, she played well. Yet Serena was even better – awesome with her power and accuracy. What a physical feat, to play like that so soon after so many acute physical problems – and at her age too!
5/ Angelique Kerber v Serena Williams
Again, the 6-3, 6-3 scoreline makes it all sound so straightforward. But this was Kerber at her brave best, taking the title to avenge her 2016 defeat at Serena’s hands in the same showpiece.
That’s not what made the final so remarkable, though. It was the contrast between the Serena who played Goerges and the Serena who played Kerber that made the second match so shocking.
There were times when Serena looked a complete stranger to a tennis racquet. An extraordinary spectacle from the greatest player the world has ever seen. This is what the pressure of expectation sometimes does to Serena, like a Shakespearian flaw. The implosion was truly dramatic. But she’ll be back.
4/ Roger Federer v Kevin Anderson
Roger Federer said he didn’t see defeat coming. And why would he have done, particularly after edging a dramatic second-set tie-break?
But Anderson wasn’t done. He refused to stop believing. He even grew in confidence and took the next two sets. What followed was pure theatre, with the super-fit South African finally wearing down the great Federer in an epic fifth set to take the match 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11.
What a giant-killing! We thought Anderson might be done after those exertions. How wrong we were!
3/ Kevin Anderson v John Isner
This semi-final was historic and dramatic for the length of time it lasted, for the war of attrition, for the wait before one of them blinked. At one stage we thought neither of them ever would!
OK, the quality of the tennis was not sent from the sporting gods. These guys are huge servers who have worked hard to bring the rest of their game up to standard – and they have succeeded.
But when the final scoreline is 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 26-24 in six hours and thirty-five minutes, you have to salute them. The second-longest match in Wimbledon history and longest semi-final. The dramatic tension of this unforgettable clash at such a late stage in the tournament was hard to beat!
2/ Juan Martin del Potro v Rafael Nadal
‘It was a great match that got better and better. That fifth set was one of the best I have ever seen.’ Those words were spoken by none other than Andy Murray. And he knows a thing or two about great matches.
Simona Halep was hailing it as the best match ever, pure and simple. That’s the thing about scorelines. This one was 7-5, 6-7 (7-9), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Doesn’t sound like much, that final set, does it? Appearances can be deceptive.
What happened in reality was that two of the most powerful men in our beautiful sport clashed on a titanic scale, both men producing their best, booming shots in some stunning rallies. Rafa showed himself to be the greater warrior and was therefore the eventual victor.
1/ Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal.
Why does this beat one of the greatest matches ever? For a number of reasons. First of all, it was a more important match. Everyone knew this was the real final at Wimbledon 2018.
Secondly, this match was spread over two days. There was the drama of the opening sets under lights – then more sparkling action the following day, before the Ladies’ Final. What a treat! Two of the world’s greatest ever players brought true billiance not once but twice!
Finally, there was the artistry and defensive craft Novak brought to Centre Court, his ability to absorb Nadal’s scary power, even come second to that power so often, yet hang in there and finally prevail. Defiantly, patiently, cunningly, Djokovic reigned against all the odds.
So that was Wimbledon 2018. And there were so many other great moments and huge shocks!
Can’t wait for Wimbledon 2019, can you? Can it beat what we just saw? Might seem unlikely. But knowing Wimbledon, the ultimate gift that keeps on giving, it probably can!
Make sure you are there at Wimbledon 2019 to be part of that eternal gift.