Rafael Nadal Favored to Beat Tomas Berdych for Second Wimbledon Title
A year after sore knees left him unable to defend his Wimbledon title, Rafael Nadal is favored to win his second title at the All England Club.
The second-seeded Nadal is the 2-7 favorite to beat Tomas Berdych in today’s championship match at U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes. That means a successful $7 bet would return $2 plus the original stake. Berdych, the No. 12 seed from the Czech Republic, is at 5-2.
“He’s the best of his half of the draw, so for that reason he’s in the final,” Nadal said of Berdych, who ousted six-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland in the quarterfinals. “Not one opponent can be more difficult than Tomas to play this final.”
In his three previous Wimbledon finals, the 24-year-old Nadal faced Federer. The Spaniard lost the 2006 and 2007 championship matches against the Swiss, and then defeated Federer in an epic five-set match in 2008.
Berdych has been coached by Tomas Krupa since January 2009. He started played tennis when he was 5 and won the Czech Republic 12-and-under junior title.
He’s trying to become the second Czech man to win the Wimbledon singles title, joining 1973 champion Jan Kodes. He’s the first Czech man to reach the championship match on the London grass courts since Ivan Lendl in 1987.
Berdych, 24, said making his first Grand Slam semifinal at last month’s French Open -- in his 27th major -- boosted his belief that he can win a title.
“I really improved, got more and more confidence after semis in Paris,” Berdych said yesterday in a news conference. “It just gave me the point of view that there is a real chance to play, to beat all those top players.”
Betting on Nadal
Betting companies are counting on a Nadal win.
The Spaniard is 11-8 to win his eighth major title in straight sets against Berdych.
“Anything other than an easy Nadal win would be a surprise,” David Williams of Ladbrokes said in an e-mailed statement. “Punters are backing him as if defeat is out of the question.”
Nadal has defeated the Czech in six straight matches and 14 consecutive sets.
Nadal won 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 in the semifinals against Andy Murray, who was trying to become the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final since 1938. Berdych advanced to the final by winning 6-3, 7-6 (11-9), 6-3 against third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
“You need to be aggressive, and don’t give him too many chances, and play my game,” Berdych said yesterday about facing the No. 1 player in the world rankings. “My game is to be aggressive on court.”