Wimbledon 2017: The tournament that was

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    Wimbledon is over for another year, with Roger Federer and Garbine Muguruza blitzing the competition to claim the men’s and women’s titles respectively.

    We start on the men’s side, where Federer broke two more records in claiming his eighth Wimbledon title and 19th major title overall.

    As the favourites crashed out one by one, his chances of ending his longest Wimbledon drought multiplied to the point where he became the only former champion left come semi-final time.

    He and his ‘Big Four’ rivals (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray) had entered this year’s championships as the only former titlists still playing today, and between them had shared the last 14 Wimbledon titles dating back to Federer’s first title in 2003.

    By defeating Marin Cilic in the final, he became the second man in the Open Era, after Bjorn Borg in 1976, to win the title without dropping a set, while he also completed just his second flawless run at a major, having previously won the Australian Open in 2007 without dropping a set.

    The turning point came in the fourth game of the opening set when Federer was forced to save a couple of break points on his own serve to hold for 2-all, after which he would claim four of the next five games to take it 6-3.

    He would dominate the second 6-1, but not before a dramatic moment halfway through when Marin Cilic buried his head in his towel after going down 0-3.

    Many believed that he would throw in the towel, having suffered an apparent injury during the early part of the match, but to his credit the 2014 US Open champion would eventually battle out the match.

    However, he would prove to be no match for Federer, who claimed his first straight-sets win in a major final since he defeated Andy Murray in the final of the 2010 Australian Open.

    The win vindicated his decision to bypass the clay court swing, in which Rafael Nadal’s domination of the surface culminated in him achieving ‘La Decima’ at Roland Garros.

    Like Nadal, Federer only completed 19 sets (of the 21 required to win a Grand Slam title) en route to the title, after his first round opponent, Alexandr Dolgopolov, retired hurt in the second set.

    At the rate in which Federer is dominating, achieving his own ‘La Decima’ at Wimbledon is not out of the question; in fact, the Swiss Maestro has announced his intentions to return next year to defend his title.

    In fact, he has even targeted the possibility of playing at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where he will turn 39 the day before the Closing Ceremony.

    Back to the present, and even with his 36th birthday looming, Federer couldn’t have played any better this year than he did all those years ago.

    Roger Federer

    (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

    Having also won the Australian Open in January, by defeating his great rival Nadal in the final, this marks the first time since 2009 in which he has won multiple major titles in the one year.

    And it’s fair to say that the Swiss Maestro will start as the favourite to land a milestone 20th Grand Slam title at the US Open, where his compatriot Stan Wawrinka is the defending champion, in September.

    As for Marin Cilic, it was a heartbreaking and cruel end to the tournament, but there is no doubt that he will be back contending for more major titles in the not-too-distant future.

    But for the most part, he was made to look like the shadow of the self that had thrashed Federer in straight sets en route to his lone Grand Slam title at the 2014 US Open.

    The Croat, who was attempting to become the first champion from his country since his former coach, Goran Ivanisevic in 2001, had also taken Federer to five sets in the quarter-finals last year, losing after having led by two sets to love as well as holding a match point in the fourth set.

    In the end, though, there is no doubting that Roger Federer was a well-deserved men’s champion at this year’s Championships, and now all eyes will be on him to see if he can strike ‘La Decima’ in the coming years.

    Men’s final result: [3] Roger Federer (SUI) defeated [7] Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

    We now switch our focus to the women’s tournament, where Garbine Muguruza claimed her second major title and created a piece of history in the process.

    The Spaniard entered the title match as the slight favourite after severely brutalising Magdalena Rybarikova in her semi-final match, where she dropped just two games; Venus, on the other hand, was just as impressive in defeating Johanna Konta in her semi-final.

    Garbine Muguruza French Open Roland Garros Tennis 2016

    (AP Photo/David Vincent)

    True to form, it was the 23-year-old Muguruza who prevailed, the turning point of the match coming in the tenth game of the opening set where she saved two set points while serving at 4-5.

    From that point, she would wipe the floor by winning the final nine games of the match, handing Venus her first ever bagel set at the All England Club in the process.

    By virtue of her victory, Muguruza also became the first woman to defeat both Williams sisters in a Grand Slam final, her win over Serena coming in the French Open final last year which she also won in straight sets.

    She also became the third different player, after Martina Hingis and Serena, to defeat the 37-year-old in a major final, but the first other than Serena to do so since the 1997 US Open.

    The 23-year-old went through the tournament dropping just one set – against dethroned world number one Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, where she came from a set down to win in three.

    Likewise, Venus also had to come from a set down to win her only three-setter contested – against Wang Qiang in the second round.

    The final aside, the major story to emerge from this year’s Championships was the performance of local favourite Johanna Konta.

    The Sydney-born Brit had, prior to this year, reached the third round at the All England Club, and had to fight hard just to break that hoodoo when she faced Donna Vekic in the second round.

    The 26-year-old was stretched to her absolute limits in a match that lasted over three hours, with the final set lasting 18 incredible games of high tension and drama on Centre Court.

    Konta would also be taken to three sets in her matches against Caroline Garcia and Simona Halep, but would pull through both unscathed before having her Wimbledon title dream ended by Venus Williams in the last four.

    The Brit is emerging as the latest in a line of late-bloomers who are peaking at the right time. She has reached a career-high ranking of number four, a ranking long associated with Andy Murray during the early part of this decade.

    Her run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon was the first by a British woman since Virginia Wade in 1978, and local fans will be hoping that it’s not very long until she can emulate what Murray has done twice, whereby he won the title in 2013 and 2016, smashing a 77-year hoodoo in the first instance.

    Women’s final result: [14] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [10] Venus Williams (USA) 7-5, 6-0.

    Murray’s effort in reaching the quarter-finals while under an injury cloud must also be applauded.

    Andy Murray yells in excitement

    (Photo: AAP)

    The Scot reached the final eight at his national Championships for the tenth consecutive year and looked to have one foot in the semi-finals when he led Sam Querrey by two sets to one.

    However, hampered by a hip injury, Murray would capitulate in the final two sets, winning just one game in each as his Wimbledon title defence came to an end in the quarter-finals for the second time in four years.

    For Querrey, it was a case of deja vu, as this marked the second consecutive year in which he’d defeated the defending champion and top seed at the All England Club.

    He had beaten Novak Djokovic in the third round last year, handing the Serb his earliest defeat at the All England Club since 2008 and earliest at any major since the 2009 French Open.

    This year he became the first man from his country to reach the final four at a Grand Slam tournament since Andy Roddick got this far in 2009, eventually reaching the final where he lost to Roger Federer in an all-time classic.

    And so that’s all she wrote for this year’s Wimbledon Championships, with Roger Federer and Garbine Muguruza emerging as two worthy champions at the end of a fortnight which has again produced quality, top-notch tennis.

    The focus now turns to the US hardcourt season, with crucial lead-up tournaments in Montreal, Toronto and Cincinnati set to decide who will start as the favourites to land the final major of the year in New York.

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