The tie-breaks are the peaks of a tennis match. Apart from being the most decisive moments, they are also the most pressurizing. Imagine yourself as one of those concerned professional tennis players who slogged his or her way through 12 games, only to face a virtual reset of the set. What's made worse is the fact that the reset will be decided within only a handful of points. Therein lies the great pressure of the tiebreak - so much consequence crammed within so little opportunities (each point being one opportunity). What will be more spectacular, from the point of the view of the spectator, is if a tie-break is played out beautifully, in both narrative and standard of play. Here are 2 of them - all of them with majestic coincidence occurring on the lawn of Centre Court, Wimbledon.
- Wimbledon 2015 final: 2nd set tiebreak
To give you some context, at the time the tie-break was being played out, Djokovic had already won the first set, and was thus an especially critical moment for Federer. Using the 'historical precedence' method, it could be judged that a loss of the tie-break would virtually have meant a loss of the match for Federer. This is so as Federer had never come back from two sets down to win Djokovic in a match. In fact, Federer only won once against Djokovic after losing the first set! The first half of it was a disaster for Federer. A handful of sloppy lapses paired with the defensive-offensive brilliance of Djokovic quickly landed the tie-break 6-3 in Djokovic's favour. The tie-break was however quickly levelled with a Djokovic-like phase from Federer, during which he played some of his best tennis - the crisp precision of his forehands towards the end of the point at 6-4, and that stretch backhand at 6-5 which barely averted a disaster. Then, under perhaps the most pressurised point for Federer throughout the entire match - when he was facing set-point at 7-6, and the first set-point faced is always the most pressurized - he served out a brilliant second-serve the kick of which was so great the greatest returner of the game barely caught it on his racket before shanking it. The pressure did not end however, but dragged on as Federer continued to face set-point after set-point, only to save each with a brilliant combination of genius and luck. Our favourite of such saves was the point at 9-8 (in Djokovic's favour) when Federer hit a brilliant but extremely risky (given the circumstances) approach forehand to Djokvoic's backhand corner. Then, we have perhaps the most tense point of the match for any Federer fan - that extended rally at 10-9 (again in Djokovic's favour). Djokovic as we all know is the most likely survival of long rallies, and Federer ...is for lack of a better descriptor rather fragile in such scenarios. But Federer held on he did, no matter how tenuous the hold, until Djokovic made an error .. on a ground stoke forehand!
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