Five longest matches of Wimbledon 2022 ft. Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz

Rafael Nadal, Taylor Fritz, David Goffin, Francis Tiafoe
Rafael Nadal, Taylor Fritz, David Goffin, Francis Tiafoe

The 2022 Wimbledon Championships reached its glorious conclusion after a fortnight of incredible grasscourt action. In the men's singles, Novak Djokovic won his seventh Wimbledon title and a 21st Grand Slam. The women's singles side saw Elena Rybakina become the first player representing Kazakhstan to win a Major.

Shingo Kunieda, Diede de Groot and Sam Schroder took the singles titles in the wheelchair men's, women's and quad categories respectively.

The 2022 edition was the first time play was scheduled on mid-Sunday, while the organizers broke tradition by allowing higher-ranked players to practice on Centre Court before the tournament for the first time. In another first, a ten-point tiebreak was used after a set reached the score of 6-6.

While tennis on grasscourts is relatively fast and the rallies are shorter compared to claycourts, there were as many as 25 matches in the 135th edition of the tournament that breached the four-hour mark.

Here's a look at the five longest matches at this year's Wimbledon:

#5 Jan-Lennard Struff vs Carlos Alcaraz (Round of 128)

Jan-Lennard Struff and Carlos Alcaraz
Jan-Lennard Struff and Carlos Alcaraz

Seeded fifth, Carlos Alcaraz drew Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round. Struff played 14 matches before entering the Championships in 2022 and managed to win only two of them. Alcaraz, on the other hand, had titles in Rio, Madrid, Barcelona and Miami before entering the main draw at Wimbledon for the second time in his career.

Struff and Alcaraz's lone previous meeting went in the German's favor, which he won in straight sets in the third round at Roland Garros. In their first meeting on grass, Struff and Alcaraz took alternating sets to force a decider.

Both players held their serve up to 4-4 in the fifth set. Alcaraz converted the only break point he had in the match, before serving out the match in the next game on his second match point to win 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4. The entire contest lasted four hours and fourteen minutes.

Both players committed 40 unforced errors each. Alcaraz hit 73 winners (11 more than his opponent) and won only four more points than Struff of the total points played in the match.

“I would say to play four hours on grass is tougher than the other surfaces, even if there are not long rallies. I'm going to compare: [a] long rally here is like three or four long rallies in other surfaces,” Alcaraz said after his match against Struff.

#4 Jack Sock vs Jason Kubler (Round of 32)

Jason Kubler and Jack Sock
Jason Kubler and Jack Sock

Jack Sock made it to his sixth main draw appearance at Wimbledon after winning the qualifying round matches. He defeated fellow qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles in straight sets in the first round and compatriot Maxime Cressy in four sets in the second round. He drew another qualifier, Jason Kubler, in the third round.

In Kubler's second main draw appearance at Wimbledon, he upset 28th seed Dan Evans in his opening-round match before securing a straight-sets win over Denis Novak in the second round.

Sock and Kubler faced each other a decade ago in a Futures event on clay, which the American won in straight sets. Heading into the match, only four ranking spots separated the two, with Sock ranked 99 and Kubler 103.

It took Kubler 30 minutes to take the opening set 6-2 against the former Top 10 player. Sock retaliated by taking the next two sets in an hour. A fourth-set tiebreak ensued and it was the Australian who won it 7-4, saving two break points earlier in the set.

In the deciding set, Kubler broke in the opening game and converted his second match point after four hours and nineteen minutes to win 6-2, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3.

"Yeah, well, a life changer to an extent. I can see a physiotherapist on the road more often, definitely more weeks with a coach. I give myself more opportunity to hopefully do something like this again," Kubler said, after his win guaranteed him a prize money of £190,000.

#3 Taylor Fritz vs Rafael Nadal (Quarterfinals)

Taylor Fritz and Rafael Nadal
Taylor Fritz and Rafael Nadal

Having won the first two Slams of the year, second seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal looked in fine touch to claim his third Wimbledon title. He defeated two seeded players - Lorenzo Sonego and Botic van de Zandschulp in the third and fourth rounds in straight sets.

Nadal's quarterfinal opponent was eleventh seed Taylor Fritz, who defeated the Spaniard earlier this year in the finals at Indian Wells. Fritz had a relatively easy run to the quarterfinals, facing players from well outside the Top 50 and defeating them all in straight sets.

A little over two hours into the match, it was the American who was leading 2-1 against a visibly ailing Nadal, who was suffering from an abdominal injury. However, for the sixth time in his career, Nadal battled from a 1-2 deficit at Wimbledon to win the match in a deciding set tiebreak in a match that lasted four hours and twenty minutes.

Nadal's 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(4) defeat of Fritz was his 26th Grand Slam match that went to five sets. The 36-year-old withdrew before his semifinal match because of the abdominal injury, sending Nick Kyrgios into his first ever Slam final.

Nadal. "My abdominal side... something is not going well. I needed to find a different way to serve."Thought about retiring, but says playing on Centre Court made him continue.
"I don’t think he, like, made up an injury or anything. His serve dropped, like, I don’t know, 10, 15 miles per hour. He wouldn’t do that for no reason. From the ground I thought third set, fourth set, fifth set, he was money. He was moving really well, playing amazing defence. I was absolutely ripping the ball in corners and he was running and ripping them back for winners. I’m sure he played through most likely a lot of pain," Taylor Fritz said after the defeat.

#2 Cristian Garin vs Alex de Minaur (Round of 16)

Cristian Garin in his match against Alex de Minaur
Cristian Garin in his match against Alex de Minaur

After a final four finish at Eastbourne, Alex de Minaur entered the Wimbledon main draw as the nineteenth seed. The Australian reached the fourth round, dropping only one set in the process.

Cristian Garin's Wimbledon preparations included first-round losses at Halle and Eastbourne. At Eastbourne, it was de Minaur who defeated the Chilean in straight sets. Garin, however, had shifted gears at Wimbledon, winning matches against Elias Ymer, Hugo Grenier and 29th seed Jenson Brooksby.

Garin had faced de Minaur three times previously and had never won a set against the Australian. In their fourth-round clash at Wimbledon, de Minaur took the opening two sets, thereby winning nine out of the nine sets he played against the Chilean.

However, Garin broke the streak by taking the third set in a tiebreak. 45 minutes later, Garin converted his fourth set point, sending the match to a decider.

TV didn't catch it, but David & Matt with an eyewitness report:Alex de Minaur tried to snap his racquet over his knee after losing that match and couldn't do it. That can't feel good.

Court 2 lit up with Garin's remarkable on-court movement as he saved two match points as the match went to a final set tiebreak. De Minaur took a 5-3 lead, but the Chilean fought back by winning six consecutive points to triumph 2-6, 5-7, 7-3(3), 6-4, 7-6(6).

After four hours and thirty-four minutes, Garin became the first Chilean man since Fernando Gonzalez at the 2009 US Open to reach the quarterfinals of a Major.

"He stepped it up a lot more obviously. He played some big shots in big moments. Fortune favors the brave. I think that was him today," Alex de Minaur said after his match against Garin.

#1 David Goffin vs Francis Tiafoe (Round of 16)

David Goffin and Francis Tiafoe
David Goffin and Francis Tiafoe

Francis Tiafoe and David Goffin last played each other at the 2022 French Open, where the latter won in four sets. The win propelled Goffin to a 4-1 lead in the head-to-head record.

Tiafoe's grass court campaign looked dubious as he lost in the opening rounds at Queen's and Eastbourne. A straight-sets win over Carlos Alcaraz at the Hurlingham Classic gave his confidence a boost heading into SW19.

Goffin, on the other hand, played only one event ahead of Wimbledon, losing his first-round match against Daniil Medvedev at Halle. The 2022 Wimbledon was Goffin's return to the tournament after three years. The last time the Belgian competed at Wimbledon, he finished as a quarterfinalist.

Meeting in the fourth round this year, Tiafoe took a 2-1 lead after a little over three hours. The American had a 14-3 win-loss record in Slam matches where he took a 2-1 lead, while Goffin had won only seven of the 19 times he found himself 1-2 down in best-of-five set matches.

The Belgian staged a remarkable comeback, taking the fourth set 6-4. In the deciding set, Goffin broke Tiafoe at 6-5 to win the match 7-6(3), 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5. The match saw 403 points played in a span of four hours and thirty-seven minutes.

"Yeah probably in a couple days maybe if I watch the match back or whatever I'll be like yeah man that was crazy to be a part of. The only thing I can say honestly right now is F--- David. He beat me two Slams in a row. F--- that guy. Nah, he's a hell of a player. He's been playing well since he's been trying to come back. Obviously this tournament no points, but he's been playing really well. I like him a lot. Good guy. I hope he keeps going," Tiafoe joked after the match.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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Edited by Anirudh
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