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Federer remains number one on grass

Relief was etched on Roger Federer's face after winning the tournament

(Keystone)

Swiss ace Roger Federer has retained his Wimbledon tennis crown, defeating Spain's Rafael Nadal in four sets, 6-0, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3.

World number one Federer got even against the number two, ending a five-match losing streak to Nadal on Sunday to earn his fourth straight All-England Championship.

The Spanish star had beaten Federer in four finals this year, including at the French Open last month, but couldn't match him on the Swiss champion's favourite surface.

Not here, not in my house, not on Centre Court, not on the biggest stage in tennis. That was Federer's response to the 20-year-old Spaniard's challenge.

The Swiss player rushed through the first set, leaving nothing to his rival. The second was a tighter affair with Federer dropping his serve before taking the tiebreak.

After dropping the third set in another tiebreaker - the only set he lost in this tournament - Federer lifted his game in the fourth to show who was boss.

The milestones keep piling up for 24-year-old Federer, who has again strengthened his case for being considered one of greatest players of all time.

In winning a record 48th consecutive match on grass, he became the third player in the Open era to capture four successive Wimbledon championships, joining Swede Bjorn Borg - who won five in a row from 1976-80 - and American Pete Sampras.

"They're heroes of the game," Federer said. "This is the most important tournament, and to win four is out of this world. I'll come back and try for a fifth."

Federer is the eighth man in history to win to four or more Wimbledon titles - Englishman William Renshaw and Sampras lead the list with seven.

Federer has also now won eight Grand Slam tournaments, including the Australian Open this year.

Rivalry

When Nadal sliced a backhand wide on match point, Federer raised his arms in the air, threw back his head and closed his eyes.

Asked about his rivalry with the Spaniard after receiving the winner's trophy, he said, "Now I like it again."

While Federer came across as the coolest of customers during the tournament, he admitted that he wasn't so sure of winning.

"I was doubting myself early on in the tournament with the draw and the expectations," he added. "So to be through all over again and to play against Rafael in the finals is obviously fantastic."

Nadal came into Sunday's match with a 6-1 record against Federer. Federer's only losses this year have been to Nadal - he was 55-0 against everyone else.

But the Swiss player proved that, on grass, he is in another league altogether, with his big serves, smooth strokes and quick hands.

While Nadal, the winner of a record 60 straight clay-court matches surprised everybody by getting this far, his brutal, relentless game wasn't enough to unnerve Federer.

"This is a difficult surface," Nadal said. "I hope next year I don't play against someone who plays like Roger. He played unbelievably on this surface."

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Rafael Nadal has beaten Roger Federer six times:
In 2004, in the first round in Miami.
In 2005, in the French Open semi-final.
In 2006, in the Dubai, Monte-Carlo, Rome and the French Open finals.
Federer has only beaten the Spaniard twice:
In 2005, in the final in Miami.
In 2006, in the Wimbledon final.

end of infobox


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