I'm still in shock. A truly Herculean performance by Rafa, who gutted it out despite his physical woes, to mentally outlast Roger and take the match in 5 sets, 75 36 76 36 62. In my opinion, Rafa won this match by winning the third set to force Roger to play 5 to beat him. First, Rafa had no business winning that set. It was shades of Fernando taking the fourth set after cramping and limping his way through most of it. Rafa somehow hung in and forced the tiebreak, where he played much more contained tennis and let Fed spray errors. Taking that third set forced Fed to fight for his life in the fourth, which he did, and then led to the meltdown/letdown in the fifth.
Let's face it, Rafa didn't do anything to win that fifth set. Roger just went mental and handed it to him. But Roger went mental because of the culmination of 5 years of battle with this kid. Roger doesn't seem to believe that, when push comes to shove and they have to get dirty, that he can beat Rafa. That's kind of amazing if you think about it.
This one hurt. A lot. And I don't blame him. Unlike at Wimbledon, Roger just choked in the fifth set. He gave it away. I really thought we'd be in for a barn burning tight fifth set, but Roger played fast and loose and before even Rafa knew what was happening he had a 4-1 lead. I'm not sure what happened to Fed there but it couldn't have been physical. Rafa is so clearly in his head and the pressure of the occasion must have hit him. My heart went out to him during the trophy ceremony, when he obviously couldn't hold it together during his speech.
All in all, a great final between these two and a fantastic display of sportsmanship once again. Rafa has now won 6 majors on three different surfaces and he's just 22 years old. Wimbledon's going to be interesting. How much do you think Roger wants #14 on the hallowed grass of Wimbly?