Roger Federer won a record 15th Grand Slam after beating sixth seed Andy Roddick in an epic fifth set 5-7 7-6 7-6 3-6 16-14 in the Wimbledon men’s final.
Federer’s victory was all the more incredible for the fact that he recovered from one set down, and trailed 6-2 in a second set tie-break before he won the next two sets to seize control of a scintillating encounter on Centre Court.
Roddick refused to be denied, and the American fought back against the world number two with ferocious intensity, and clinched the fourth set 6-3 with real conviction.
The fifth set was a positive barrage of aces from the rackets of both players but finally, serving to stay in the match for the 11th time, Roddick was broken as Federer sealed a monumental win.
At 27 years old, Federer has now overhauled Pete Sampras’s incredible tally of 14 titles, among which he can count six Wimbledon crowns to surpass Bjorn Borg and Lawrence Doherty’s five.
For Roddick, it was a third defeat to the Swiss in finals at the All England Club to follow similar results in 2004 and 2005, and to compound the American’s frustration, his nemesis now holds a staggering 19-2 career advantage over him.
The artistry of the Swiss generally trumped the 26-year-old’s punch and grit and, in playing in his seventh straight Wimbledon final and record 20th Grand Slam title match, the world number two looked utterly composed.
Both players settled incredibly quickly, finding a good rhythm on serve and looking comfortable in the process, as the first 10 games were rattled through.
Indeed, Roddick did not commit an unforced error until the set was locked at 5-5, despite Federer having sauntered through his service holds in a more serene fashion.
The American was forced to save three break points in his sixth service game, and even had to challenge a line call to save the second, but held his nerve impressively.
Perhaps a touch of complacency set in to Federer’s game, as he drilled two erratic forehands wide and long to hand Roddick the crucial break which clinched the first set for the American 7-5, to the crowd’s disbelief.
With the second set mimicking the first on the most part, the only game which was not taken with assurance on serve was at 5-5, with Federer double faulting for 30-30, but again he came through unscathed.
Roddick began the second set tie-break with a 143mph ace and, having won 26 out of 31 breakers this season, the American looked invincible as he raced into a 6-2 lead.
The turning point was perhaps an inexplicably mishit backhand volley from the sixth seed, and his four set points slowly and painfully eroded before him as Federer stormed back to clinch the second set with his first opportunity at 8-6.
While Federer proceeded to cruise through his service games at the start of the third set, Roddick was forced to battle valiantly to save a break point at 30-40 in the sixth game, as the Swiss turned the screw.
Roddick showed real resilience in forcing a second tie-break, and this time the roles were reversed as Federer raced into a 5-1 lead, pouncing on two tepid second serves from the American.
The sixth seed clawed his way back into the breaker, and demanded of his opponent that he hold his nerve at 6-5 to serve out for the third set: Federer duly did just that.
Roddick was undeterred by having slipped behind in the match, and broke the Swiss in the fourth game of the fourth set, slamming a backhand down the line to re-exert his authority.
Federer smelt an opportunity after the American had double faulted at 30-30 with a 4-2 lead, but the sixth seed won an epic 21-shot rally with a powerful forehand, and followed it with a booming ace to consolidate his break.
Federer surged into a 0-30 lead with Roddick erring slightly as he served for the fourth set, but the American harried superbly to win an extended rally, and delivered another stunning first serve out wide to take the match into a fifth and final set.
In just the second game of the final set, Roddick continued his unblemished record of saving break points in the match, and rescued a sixth with an emphatic first serve out wide after Federer had won an 18-shot rally with a deft forehand.
Both players refused to compromise on their serves, crunching big deliveries seemingly at will, and Federer unthinkably out-aced his opponent as the final set coasted along through 6-6 and beyond.
With the set locked at 8-8, Roddick found an exquisite backhand passing shot down the line to prompt two set points, but somehow Federer wrestled his way out of trouble in the manner of an escapologist, holding after deuce.
As both players grew wearier, their impeccable standards finally began to wilt, and two overhit backhands from Roddick handed victory to Federer, his record-breaking victor in the most dramatic manner.
Prior to the match Federer stood, in many people’s eyes, on the cusp of ending the perennial debate over whether he is the game’s greatest ever player. His record now stands alone.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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