Nadal came close to adding the All England Club title to his three French Open crowns when Federer threatened to self-destruct at the end of the fourth set, launching an uncharacteristic rage at the HawkEye replay technology.
“Roger has had an amazing season and to win five Wimbledons in a row is fantastic,” Nadal said. “But I made the final again. I had some tough matches, I hope to be better next year.”
Federer was quickly in the groove on Sunday sweeping into a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game, secured when Nadal netted a lazy forehand.
|Federer beat Nadal in the final for a
second successive year [Reuters]
But the Spanish left-hander hit back in the fifth game with a blistering backhand pass before he was quickly on level terms at 3-3 having served two consecutive love games.
Two errors on either side by Nadal allowed Federer to carve out three set points in the tiebreak. Nadal saved them all helped by a successful HawkEye challenge on the third.
Nadal then saved a fourth but Federer claimed the opener on his fifth set point with a confident volley.
Federer saved two break points with successive aces in the sixth game of the second set. But Nadal, who came into the final having spent five hours more on court than Federer, levelled by taking the second set in the 10th game with another searing forehand pass.
Serve dominated the third set but in the ensuing tiebreak Federer was on top taking a two sets to one lead thanks to another Nadal forehand error.
Federer took a toilet break but probably wished he had stayed on court when Nadal broke in the first game of the fourth set and repeated it to lead 3-0.
But it came in controversial circumstances when the Spaniard successfully challenged another call under HawkEye, when a forehand was called long, which gave him the crucial break point.
Federer complained to umpire Carlos Ramos and demanded HawkEye be switched off believing it to have made an error by calling the ball in. “It’s killing me today,” he told Ramos before slipping to 0-4 down.
The drama increased when Nadal called for treatment to his right knee when he was leading 4-1 but he remained unhindered taking the fourth set when Federer hit a weary backhand into the net.
Federer, playing a five-set match for only the second time in his Wimbledon career, saved two break points each in the third and fifth games of the decider to go to 3-2.
The Swiss made Nadal pay by breaking to lead 4-2 and then served a love game on the back of his 24th ace to lead 5-2.
Federer wrapped up the final on his second match point in the eighth game with a thunderous overhead after nearly four hours of action.
It was the second successive year that the world number one had beaten Nadal in the final.