Archive for June 12th, 2012
Let it there be no doubt: Rafael Nadal is the King of Clay. He was the No. 1 favorite to win this tournament and he didn’t let his fans down. The 26-year-old Spaniard was playing at his favorite tournament over his favorite surface and against his latest archrival. All the ingredients for a perfect Grand Slam Recipe was there, and even thought most fans would had loved to see Novak Djokovic put up a little more of a fight, at the end, the Spaniard came clear with a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 win to clinch his 7th French Open Title. To put that into perspective, let’s consider that with his latest win he has now won his 11th Grand Slam and that at lucky number 7th, Nadal has broken a tie with Bjorn Borg for the same mark. Now, it is time to give him all the credit he deserves, Rafael Nadal is the King of Clay. Let it there be no doubt about this one, he is the best player to have ever competed in this surface.
Because despite what your opinion might be in regards to the young Spanish pro, one thing is for certain, he has won more times here than anyone else. As a matter of fact, no other player has so many times in the other Grand Slams. His dominance over the clay courts of Paris has made him virtually unbeatable. Since he played here first played in the French Open back in May 2005, when he was only 18 years old, Nadal has lost only one game. That is a 52-1 record in this tournament. His only lost came in 2009 when he lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round. But it’s not just the in the French Open that he has been a dominant player. Wherever there is clay, Rafa Nadal has won a mayor. Just look at the numbers: Nadal’s won eight titles at Monte Carlo, seven at Barcelona and six at Rome. Enough said.
Now, beating the No.1 ranked Novak Djokovic wasn’t as easy as it might seem by looking only at the scoreboard. Let’s not forget that before the game got canceled on Sunday because of rain, the No.1 ranked player was cutting down on his big deficit and had won 8 straight games to get back in the matchup. That’s not all, deep inside, Rafael Nadal knew very well that Novak Djokovic had beaten him in the finals at Wimbledon in July, the U.S. Open in September, and the Australian Open in January. But just like he did with Roger Federer in 2006 and 2007, the years when the Swiss Maestro was one Grand Slam away from joining Don Budge in 1938, and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969 as the only players to have won the four Grand Slams in succession, Rafael Nadal came with his strong game in Paris to put an end to their dreams. Well, just like it happened to Federer when he got his chance, it was Nadal who got on his way. Now, the fight is on. Federer is slowing down as age is catching up to him. Nadal has won 11 grand slams. But up ahead we have Wimbledon, and it seems that it is Federer and Djokovic who will have the advantage this time around.
When there were 28.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Boston Celtics head coach, Doc Rivers, pulled out Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all at the same time. With a brilliant run from LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, who scored all of the Heat’s fourth-quarter points in a 28-15 run that put the game away. And the veteran Celtics coach made a grand gesture. He was accepting his defeat, yes, that’s certain, but he was giving credit to the core of his group, to the three players that had given this team half a decade of success. Rumor has it, the Celtics Big Three will not be back together next season. At 36-years-old, both Garnet and Allen are now officially free agents and it is not far fetched to expect the Celtics to build a new team around their all-star point guard Rajon Rondo.
The Miami Heat won two games in a row to turn around a 3-2 deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals. At the end, despite Rajon Rondo’s 22 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists, the Heat took an 88-101 win at home. LeBron James finally came out with a victory in a game 7. It took him three chances to get that win, and a 31 points, 12 rebound performance to close the deal. But once again the Miami Heat are up for the NBA Finals. Miami will open up the series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thuesday night. This has been a highly anticipated matchup. It is still uncertain how the Heat will work out against Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Their explosiveness and game style are far away from what the Celtics gave them.
Dwayne Wade scored 23 points for the Heat. Chris Bosh finished with 19, including a career best three 3-pointers for the game while Shane Battier added 12 to help the Heat win a Game 7 for the first time since 2004. Last year, the party ended a little too soon as the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Finals in game 6 at Miami. For the Boston Celtics this could very well be the end of an era. Brandon Bass scored 16, Ray Allen finished with 15 and Kevin Garnett scored 14 for the Celtics. “Give them credit,” Rondo said. “They spread the points out as a team tonight. Give them credit. They played great tonight as a team and we just came up short.” And a brilliant game, filled with true teamwork might be exactly what this squad needs to finally give LeBron James his first title.
The Heat had to deal with 3 weeks without Chris Bosh. He proved vital in game 7 and is certainly going to be a reference in the offensive end in the finals. “We all had a pit — even though we didn’t admit it — we all had a big pit in our stomach when we saw him walking off the court in Game 1 of the Indiana series,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Bosh. “We played tough, but we knew that for two years he had been our most important player, because he makes it all work.” Well, the finals are here, it is time for this squad to deliver.