Underdogs will fall
Tomas Berdych and Vera Zvonareva will not be celebrating Wimbledon titles, says Gerry Williams.
Last Updated: 03/07/10 11:06am
We need to be quite clear about this. There is no relation between England's failure at the World Cup and Andy Murray's defeat in the semi-finals at Wimbledon yesterday.
No relation that is except for a nation's disappointment.
Murray's thrilling run here floundered on three or four points at crucial moments against the world's number one ranked player, Rafael Nadal.
And where as now our football team needs to be remodelled we should rest assured that Murray will go on to win a Grand Slam for he is as canny as they come.
The difference between them was simply this; the Spaniard has already stood on the mountain top. He knows the feeling of buoyancy.
Those crucial moments were in the second set tie-break when Nadal brilliantly saved a set-point Murray had held to level the match. Murray also led 4-2 in the third set but didn't serve well enough to capitalise on this lead.
Barely the width of a piece of paper separated the two players in an intellectual match where an essence of Murray's plan, it seemed to me, was to keep playing the ball wide so that Nadal couldn't stand at the centre of the baseline and thunder his shots from there.
The other semi-final had none of these subtleties. Tomas Berdych won it in three sets and he will be the first Czech in the men's final here since Ivan Lendl. His Serb opponent Novak Djokovic seemed stage struck until the match suddenly flared into life in the tie-break that decided the second set.
Berdych eventually took it on his sixth set point when Djokovic, who himself had two set points, had an 'oops' moment and double faulted.
Surely Nadal will win the title for a second time. In their personal rivalry he leads 7-3. One of those victories was here at Wimbledon in 2007 when Nadal beat him 7-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Berdych is a competitive and uncomplicated hitter but he has a restricted game. He was fortunate to meet Roger Federer when the defending champion admitted he was hampered by aches and pains.
So today it's the women's final for the prize of a million pounds. It's Serena Williams (already a champion here four times) against Vera Zvonareva - the third Russian woman to make it this far in SW19 after Olga Morozova - the 1974 runner-up who settled here afterwards - and Maria Sharapova the winner here in 2004.
In terms of personality at least Zvonareva won't be overawed. In her spare time she is studying international diplomacy and she conducts her press conferences with charm fluency and humour.
But facts are facts. She has beaten Serena only once in eight matches, and she can't talk her way out of that.