Two of the most memorable matches of the 2019 season captured fans in July. Roger Federer prevailed past Rafael Nadal during their 40th FedEx ATP Head2Head matchup to make the Wimbledon final, but Novak Djokovic had the final smile of the fortnight when he saved two match points to beat Federer and win back-to-back Wimbledon crowns.
Below, ATPTour.com remembers five of the most popular stories from the month of July.
1. Federer Beats Nadal, Sets Sights On Ninth SW19 Title
From 12 July: Roger Federer booked a place in his 12th final at The Championships, where he will attempt to lift a record-extending ninth trophy, after a tactical masterclass against his long-time rival Rafael Nadal, a two-time former titlist, on Friday at Wimbledon.
The Swiss superstar played at his aggressive best on return of serve, at the net and in long rallies to beat World No. 2 Nadal 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in their semi-final, which lasted three hours and two minutes, on Centre Court.
Federer seized the momentum in his 40th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Nadal with a break of serve at 3-1 in the third set and, in spite of an early break in the fourth set, kept 18-time Grand Slam championship winner Nadal at bay before converting his fifth match point chance. It was their first grass-court clash since their legendary 2008 Wimbledon final, which Nadal won 9-7 in the fifth set.
“It’s always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially [as we] haven’t played [here] in so long,” said Federer. “It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well. Then, the climax at the end, with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there. It had everything at the end, which was great, I guess. I’m just relieved it’s all over at this point.”
2. Djokovic Beats Federer: How The Final Was Won
From 14 July: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic captured his fifth crown at The Championships, Wimbledon, on Sunday with a thrilling 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) victory over second seed Roger Federer, the eight-time former titlist from Switzerland, in four hours and 55 minutes on Centre Court. Federer had two championship points at 8-7, 40/15 on serve, in the fifth set that lasted two hours and two minutes.
It was the third major championship match that Djokovic saved two match points to beat Federer (also 2010 US Open semi-finals and 2011 US Open semi-finals). It was the first time since the 1948 Wimbledon final — American Robert Falkenburg beat John Bromwich of Australia 7-5, 0-6, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, after being three match points down — that a player had been championship points down and won.
3. Berrettini Asks Federer How Much He Owes For Tennis Lesson
From 8 July: World No. 20 Matteo Berrettini is getting his wallet out.
After Roger Federer punched a forehand volley into the open court to complete his straight-sets victory, the Swiss congratulated the Italian on a strong grass-court season, leading Berrettini to come back with a witty response.
“I said, ‘Thanks for the tennis lesson, how much do I owe you?’”
Federer lost only 11 service points in the match, cruising to victory after 74 minutes on the back of 24 winners. The 37-year-old made just five unforced errors in the match.
“I think for sure I didn’t play my best match, but he was just too good for me today. He was playing good and I was kind of tight, also,” Berrettini said. “Before the match I was ready for that stuff, and also when he started to play like this, for me, it was really tough to do anything.”
4. Nadal Gains Revenge Against Kyrgios At Wimbledon
From 4 July: Nick Kyrgios brought underhand aces, tweeners and blistering exchanges. But Rafael Nadal absorbed them all to earn another Grand Slam milestone on Thursday at Wimbledon.
Two-time champion Nadal held off an in-form Kyrgios 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3) on Centre Court to reach the Wimbledon third round and become only the ninth player in the Open Era to earn 50 wins at SW19 (50-11).
“Been a tough match obviously against a very tough opponent… Very happy the way that I hold the pressure. Very happy the way I played the tie-breaks with the right determination,” Nadal said
5. Djokovic Matches Federer On Big Titles Leaderboard
From 15 July: Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer for his fifth Wimbledon title on Sunday, and now the Serbian is dangerously close to also surpassing Federer on the all-time “Big Titles” leaderboard.
Djokovic saved two match points to beat the eight-time champion in an epic final, 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3), the first fifth-set tie-break in Wimbledon singles history.
The 32-year-old won his 16th Grand Slam crown and 54th Big Title, a combination of Grand Slam, Nitto ATP Finals and ATP Masters 1000 titles.
Federer, the all-time Grand Slam championships leader with 20, still has four more major victories than Djokovic, and the Swiss has celebrated one more Nitto ATP Finals title (six) than the Serbian (five). But Djokovic has won five more Masters 1000 titles (33-28), creating the tie atop the Big Titles leaderboard.