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 TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007

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PočaljiNaslov: TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007   TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 Icon_minitimeČet Dec 20, 2007 9:42 pm

Federer's 4 Slam Finals Headlines Top 10 Feats of 2007

ATP stats and information guru Greg Sharko and Managing Editor Paul Macpherson rank the 10 most remarkable feats of 2007.

The feats range from a season-long body of work, such as Roger Federer reaching four Grand Slam finals and Ivo Karlovic winning 94 percent of service games, to freak achievements, such as Sam Querrey firing 10 straight aces or John Isner winning five consecutive matches in a third set tie-break to reach the Washington final.

The feats were then ordered based on the the significance of achievement, level of difficulty and the likelihood that the feat would be repeated in coming years.

1) Federer Increases Grand Slam Finals Streak -- World No. 1 Roger Federer reached all four Grand Slam finals in 2007, falling just one match short of claiming a calendar-year Grand Slam when he lost to Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros final. Federer became the first player ever to reach all four Grand Slam finals in back-to-back seasons. The 26-year-old Swiss superstar improved his all-time record to 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals reached going into the 2008 season by winning three of four Slam titles for the second straight season (except Roland Garros). During the season Federer won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon crown (tying Bjorn Borg's record) and his fourth straight US Open title (the first since Bill Tilden in the 1920s).

TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 Feats_federer1
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2) Nalbandian Defeats No. 1-2 Players Twice -- Argentine David Nalbandian became the first player to defeat No. 1 Roger Federer and No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the same tournament twice as he accomplished the feat at ATP Masters Series Madrid in October and two weeks later at ATP Masters Series Paris. He also defeated No. 3 Novak Djokovic in Madrid. He also became the first player to defeat both Federer and Nadal in a final. Nalbandian was unseeded and he posted six wins over Top 10 opponents in both tournaments. Before his stunning twin Masters Series success, Nalbandian had reached just one quarterfinal (Barcelona) all year, prompting Federer to quip: "I don't know what the hell he's [been] doing at the other tournaments."

TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 Nalbandian_feats1
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3) Big John Goes the Distance in D.C. -- John Isner, playing in his second career ATP tournament in Washington, wins five consecutive matches in a third set tie-break before losing to top American Andy Roddick in the final. The 22-year-old American also fired a non-Grand Slam tournament record 144 aces during the week.

TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 Isner-2
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4) Nadal Captures Third Straight Roland Garros Crown -- Rafael Nadal powered to the Roland Garros title, dropping his lone set of the tournament to Roger Federer in the final. The Spaniard, at 21, became the youngest player to capture three consective Roland Garros titles and joined Bjorn Borg as the only players to win at least three in a row in the tournament's history (since 1925). Borg won four straight from 1978-81. Nadal improved his Roland Garros career record to 21-0 and in best-of-five matches on clay to 34-0. It was also Nadal's first clay tournament since his record 81-match winning streak on clay was snapped by Federer in the final at AMS Hamburg.

TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 P1_nadal_0425
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5) Djokovic Beats Top 3 in a Row -- Serbian Novak Djokovic became the first player since Boris Becker in Stockholm in 1994 to defeat the Top 3 players in the same tournament, ousting No. 3 Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals, No. 2 Nadal in the semifinals and No. 1 Federer in the final at the Rogers Masters in Montreal. It was the 20-year-old's second ATP Masters Series title (Miami) of the season.

TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 Djokovic2
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6) Gonzalez in Blazing Form en Route to First Slam Final -- South American No. 1 Fernando Gonzalez became the first Chilean to reach a Grand Slam singles final since Marcelo Rios at the 1998 Australian Open. Gonzalez fired 307 winners (with 130 unforced errors) for a plus-177 ratio in his six victories (four vs. Top 20 opponents) en route to the final before falling to Federer. In a match he rates as the best of his career, Gonzalez made just three unforced errors in his 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 semifinal victory over Tommy Haas.

TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 Feats_gonzo1
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7) Dr. Ivo Serves It Up -- Big-serving Ivo Karlovic led the ATP circuit in four Ricoh ATP Matchfacts categories, including an all-time best 94% in service games won. The Croat also led in aces (1,318), second-most behind Goran Ivanisevic (1,477 in '96), first serve points won (84%) and break points saved (75%). Besides Karlovic's dominating serve, he won a career-high three ATP titles on as many surfaces during the year and finished a year-end best No. 22.

TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 Karlovic
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Cool Querrey Sets Aces Record -- American Sam Querrey fired 10 consecutive aces and a total of 34 in his three-sets quarterfinal victory over countryman James Blake in Indianapolis. Querrey began his streak of aces with his 10th ace of the first set on his final service point of the tie-break. The 6' 6'' Californian then served out the second and fourth games of the second set to love with four straight aces in each game. (The first ace of his first service game in the second set came on a second serve.). Querrey opened the sixth game with an ace, his 10th in a row. He double faulted away the next point, but hit another ace to wind up hitting 11 aces on 12 straight service points.

TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 Cincy-20070817-2091
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9) Bryans Win Most Doubles Titles since 1996 -- Americans Bob and Mike Bryan, the No. 1 team in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race for the third consecutive season, captured a career-best 11 titles and compiled a 77-9 match record. They became the first team to win at least 10 titles in a season since Aussies Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde earned 12 in 1996.

TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 Bryanbros_kangaroos
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10) Roddick Establishes Tie-Break Mark -- Andy Roddick went nearly half the season without losing a tie-break, setting a record of 18 consecutive tie-breaks won between February (Memphis) and July (Wimbledon). The streak ended painfully in the Wimbledon quarterfinals when Roddick blew a two-sets lead to lose to Richard Gasquet 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(3), 8-6. The American finished with a personal-best 35-12 mark (.745) in tie-breaks for the season.

TOP 10 FEATS OF 2007 256257Andy-Roddick-Posters
© Getty Images

Honorable Mentions

* Roger the Lone Soldier -- Roger Federer held top spot in the South African Airways ATP Rankings for the entire season. On Feb. 26, Federer broke the record of Jimmy Connors for most consecutive weeks at No. 1. Connors held No. 1 for 160 consecutive weeks in the 1970s. Federer enters the 2008 season (as of Dec. 31 week) with 205 straight weeks at No. 1.

* Kiefer Goes from Unranked to Top 50 -- In June, German Nicolas Kiefer returned from a one-year absence due to a left wrist injury unranked in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. Five months and 12 tournaments later, Kiefer finds himself No. 49 in the year-end rankings with a 19-11 match record and a leading candidate for ATP Comeback Player of the Year Award.

* Unbeaten Roddick Leads U.S. to Davis Cup Title -- Andy Roddick posted a 6-0 Davis Cup record in leading the U.S. to its first Davis Cup title in 12 years as the Americans defeated Russia 4-1 in the final. Pete Sampras was the last American to post an unblemished record (6-0) and lead the U.S. to the title in 1995.

* Canas Rebounds Back into Top 20 -- Argentine Guillermo Canas made the biggest jump of any player in the Top 20 from the previous season, improving 128 positions (from No. 143 to No. 15). In March, the 30-year-old Buenos Aires native defeated No. 1 Roger Federer in back-to-back tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.

* Qualifier Captures First ATP Title -- Belgian Steve Darcis qualified into his second career ATP tournament in Amersfoort in July and captured the title over Austrian Werner Eschauer. En route to the final, the No. 297th-ranked player who previously had never won an ATP match, put together a string of victories over Frenchmen Marc Gicquel and Gilles Simon along with Russians Igor Andreev and Mikhail Youzhny.

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