Venus defends, now it's Roger's turn

Jul 5, 2008 8:25 PM

by Mark Mayer | When Wimbledon began nearly two weeks ago, the odds were strong that Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal would meet in the finals since they had done so the previous two years. At 6 a.m. PT Sunday, it comes to pass.

Federer, seeking a sixth straight men’s singles title, went off at even money at the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook. The second-seeded Nadal was actually the third choice at 4-1 despite his recent Wimbledon success and No. 2 world ranking off four consecutive French Open titles. Federer’s route to the final was made easier when Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, the 3-1 choice, was beaten in the second round by Marat Safin. Federer ousted Safin in the semifinals.

Nadal has breezed through the tourney without dropping a set, eliminating England’s top hope Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and unseeded Rainer Schuettler of Germany in the semis.

Nadal lost to Federer in four sets in the 2006 final and again in a classic five-setter last year. In this year’s final Federer is a -125 favorite, down from an opening -135. Nadal opened and remains at +105.

In Saturday’s women’s singles final, defending champion Venus Williams captured her fifth Wimbledon title with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over younger sister Serena. Both Williams sisters closed at -110 at the Hilton in the final. Venus was listed at 9-2 to win at the start of the tourney, while Serena was the favorite at 5-2 even though Ana Ivanovic was the world’s No. 1 player. Ivanovic was eliminated in the second round. This was the first matchup involving the Williams sisters in a Grand Slam final in five years.