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Nadal reclaims Wimbledon crown

LONDON, July 5 – Rafael Nadal reclaimed the Wimbledon men's singles title on Sunday, putting in a dominating performance to beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the final.

The Spanish world number one was too good for the Czech 12th seed on Centre Court and was rarely troubled as he won his second championship at the All England Club.

In securing his eighth Grand Slam, Nadal went level with Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall.

And with Switzerland’s Roger Federer showing signs of weakness, Nadal could easily go on to eclipse their efforts.

Furthermore, the "King of Clay" underlined his mastery on all surfaces by completing his second French Open-Wimbledon back-to-back double, winning both finals in straight sets.

"It is more than a dream for me," Nadal said.

"It was always my dream to play this court. It was amazing to play the final this time because last year I couldn’t be here.

"It was one of the toughest moments in my career to miss Wimbledon last year.

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"The trophy will go in the bedroom, very close to the other one."

Berdych said: "It was a great two weeks for me. He was really strong. He has showed in the last few months that he is a real champion and he deserved to win.

"I hope it gives me extra confidence and power to come next year. Who knows what will happen in the future."

Nadal went into the match with a 7-3 head-to-head lead, having won their last six clashes, all in straight sets.

Undefeated at Wimbledon since the 2007 final, Nadal won the 2008 title by beating Federer in an epic five-set tussle, but could not defend it last year, due to the chronic knee problems that he is still not rid of.

But this was a much more straightforward victory than his extraordinary battle with Federer here two years ago.

Second seed Nadal was tested in the early rounds of the tournament, but upped his game from the fourth round onwards, always having too much for every opponent thrown his way.

Berdych, though, had pulled off the shock of the tournament in beating six-time Wimbledon champion Federer in the quarters, then defeated third seed Novak Djokovic in straight sets to earn his first Grand Slam final appearance.

But he could not reproduce those performances this time, being defeated in two hours and 13 minutes.

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Nadal walked away with one million pounds (1.5 million dollars, 1.2 million euros), while Berdych collected 500,000 pounds.

Berdych laid down a statement of intent by serving the first game to love, but his service percentages soon waned, allowing Nadal to get into the points and eventually forge an opportunity to break.

In the seventh game, with the fluffy balls taking the edge off the Czech’s serve, Nadal earned himself three break points with a superb passing shot, and won the game when Berdych shot wide.

Nadal took the next game to love, piling the pressure on the Czech as he served for the set.

The Spaniard had two set points, and though Berdych boomed down an ace, he hit a return into the net to give Nadal the set.

Berdych tried to hit straight back in the first game of the second set, and earned himself a break point. It took Nadal 10 minutes, four deuces and another two break points to see off the challenge and the Spaniard never looked back from there.

The Czech served his next two service games to love, but struggled to make inroads on Nadal’s serve.

Despite the deadlock, both players were sticking to their game plans, with neither player taking a risk on serve and volley tactics.

The set seemed destined to go to a tie-break.

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However, serving at 6-5 down, Berdych missed a succession of chipped returns, gifting three set points to Nadal and losing it when he hit a forehand just wide.

In the third set, Berdych had an excellent chance to get back into the match when he got a break point in the third game, but Nadal held his nerve.

As the games went with serve, Nadal served the ninth to love to leave Berdych serving to stay in the final.

The game went to deuce and Nadal had championship point when his opponent missed a forehand, then reclaimed the Wimbledon crown with a passing shot.

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