Monday, 19 September 2016

Best Grand Slam Matches of 2016 – Part1

2016 tennis season is still unfinished. As every tennis fan looks forward to the rest of the season, let’s have a review of the best Grand Slam Matches of 2016. Those matches, which bring the best out of both competitors, draw loud roars and cheers from fans and also become emotionally challenging for the players are best remembered by the fans and the tennis world.

The Best Grand Slam matches of the year – Part 1:

10. Ernests Gulbis vs Jeremy Chardy 

1st Round, Australian Open

Jeremy Chardy   7    2    6(5)  6    13
Ernests Gulbis    5    6    7       3    11

Latvian Gulbis and Frenchman Chardy produced one of the most dramatic matches of the season. The match saw Chardy coming from the brink on multiple occasions. The first, third and fifth sets saw Gulbis serving at 5-4, with Chardy breaking back all times. After successfully serving to stay in the match for six times, luck deserted Gulbis. Chardy prevailed after six hours of intensity. Gulbis embraced defeat with pride since he was a part of such a marathon contest.

9. Andy Murray vs Radek Štepánek

1st Round, French Open

Radek Štepánek   6    6    0    3    5
Andy Murray         3    3    6    6    7

The veteran Czech Radek Stepanek led Andy Murray by two sets to love in the Roland Garros 1st round. Sensing trouble, staying calm, regaining composure and summoning all strength, the Scot squared the contest at two sets all. In the decider, ten games past by without a break of serve. In the 11th game, Murray finally broke and served out the match which lasted over 3 hours and 42 minutes. The match was played over two days and was a depiction of the Scot’s never-say-die attitude and also the Czech’s versatile game.

8. Kei Nishikori vs Fernando Verdasco

3rd Round, French Open

Kei Nishikori               6    6    3    2    6
Fernando Verdasco  3    4    6    6    4

This third round contest featured 16 breaks of serve with neither player ready to surrender. The first two sets went to the Japanese. Verdasco refused to buckle and with this thunderous forehand back to life, he roared back to even the contest by taking the next two sets. But the Japanese sensation finally prevailed in a tense fifth set.

Nishikori’s defense and offense both were the highlights of the match, the fifth set in particular. Verdasco’s serve let him down in the game he was broken. The match lasted over 3 hours and 20 minutes. Surprisingly, Verdasco won 154 points to Nishikori’s 151.

7. Rafael Nadal vs Lucas Pouille

4th Round, US Open

Rafael Nadal   1    6    4    6    6(6)
Lucas Pouille   6    2    6    3    7(8)

Rafael Nadal is not new to drama in a Grand Slam match. But even he didn’t know what was to unfold when he stepped onto the Arthur Ashe Stadium for his fourth round match against Frenchman Lucas Pouille. Nadal found himself two sets to one down. He crawled his way back into the match to force a decider and quickly went up 2-0. Pouille looked like a journeyman on a mission and broke back. The outcome was to be decided by a tiebreak. Nadal saved 3 match points but still went down after 4 hours and 8 minutes.

The match was Nadal’s first fourth round appearance at a Slam since French Open last year. Overall, there were 10 breaks of serve. Margins were very small, as made clear by the statistics. Both players won 156 points each, there were 5 breaks of serve for each player. It was a great contest, which displayed some old self of Nadal and an inspiring performance from Pouille.

6. Milos Raonic vs Roger Federer

Semi-Final, The Championships, Wimbledon

Milos Raonic      6    6         4    7    6
Roger Federer   3    7(3)    6    5    3

A match which by every means, was worthy of a Grand Slam semi-final. Milos Raonic ended Roger Federer’s dream-run at the Championships, beating the Swiss in five sets. Federer, losing the first set, stormed back into the match taking the second set in a breaker. In the third set, Federer gradually started reading Raonic’s serve a bit better and finally broke his serve for the first time in the match and closed out the set to take a two sets to one lead. In the fourth set, serving at 5-6, 40-0, Federer’s concentration dipped and the contest was sent into the fifth.In the fourth game of the final set, Federer, lunging forward to play a volley, fell hard on the surface. Raonic broke afterward and served out the match.

Raonic celebrates after a Federer error sent him into his first Slam final

Federer converted only 1 of 9 break points. Also, he failed to break Raonic’s serve in the fourth set, despite having 2 break opportunities. Raonic served 23 aces to Federer’s 16 and converted 3 of 8 break points. Raonic’s aggressive and attacking game style sent him into his grand slam final.

Though the Canadian lost the final, he will remember this match as one of the best of his career and probably against the best.

Part 2 will review the remaining best 5 Grand Slam matches of 2016.

Written by Mayank Sharma
A third year Engineering student at Delhi Technological University. An avid tennis fan and a die hard fan of Roger Federer. Loves writing articles on Tennis and developing Web pages.

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