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Rafa reigns in epic Wimbledon final

Rafael Nadal ended the reign of Roger Federer in the Wimbledon by beating the Swiss master in one of the most dramatic finals seen at the All England Club.

Nadal halted Federer's run for a modern-era record of six consecutive Wimbledon titles and also won his first title at the All England Club.

Nadal squandered a two-set lead and two Championship points in the fourth set tie-break before summoning one final challenge and sealing a 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-7 (8/10) 9-7 victory as darkness fell.

But in a match interrupted by two brief rain delays, Nadal finally seized his chance in the 15th game of the final set, breaking Federer then serving out and marking his victory by crumbling to the court.

"It's impossible to explain what I felt in that moment," Nadal said after receiving the winner's trophy from the Duke of Kent. "Just very, very happy to win this title. For me, (it) is a dream to play in this tournament. But to win, I never imagined something like this."

Federer, the 5-time defending champion, had 12 chances to break Nadal through the first three sets, but managed to convert only one.

"I tried everything," Federer said. "Rafa is a deserving champion. He just played fantastic. It was the worst opponent on the best court."

Nadal is the first man to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year since Bjorn (byorn) Borg in 1980. He's also the first Spaniard to take home the Wimbledon title since Manolo Santana in 1966.

Nadal avenges his losses to Federer in the last two finals at Wimbledon and snaps the Swiss star's All-England Club winning streak at 40 matches and overall grass-court run at 65.

Nadal won his fifth Grand Slam title, adding to his four consecutive French Open championships. Federer, meanwhile, remains two shy of Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam wins.

"He's still No. 1," Nadal said. "He's still the best. He's still five-time champion here and I only have one, so for me it is very, very important."

(source Associated Press, photo/ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images, Julian Finney/Getty Images, Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

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Comment by Mark / The Mayor on July 8, 2008 at 10:10am
I cry at the end of all majors - but this was the most. quite amazing. i caught the end of it in a pizza joint where they happened to have tennis on. I was out of town and had to check out of my hotel - total bummer - but then got lucky with the pizza place. had lunch and then just sat there with the staff for an extra hour watching the last set.
wow. i think i'll remember that forever.
Comment by Svetlana on July 6, 2008 at 5:18pm
Thanks! I have to admit, I cried at the end of the match, I'm really happy for Rafa, he deserved this win. Congrats to Roger too, it was excellent match and it was real pleasure watching it!
Comment by on July 6, 2008 at 5:13pm
Awesome coverage once again Svetlana!! Great match, I love Nadal's humbleness.

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