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On this day: Rafael Nadal ends Roger Federer's Wimbledon run

Sports Mole looks back over one of the best matches in tennis history that happened on this day - Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final.

It once seemed that Roger Federer was invincible on the grass - nobody could beat him.

Back on this day five years ago he was the five-time defending champion, while standing in his way of a sixth successive title at Wimbledon was Rafael Nadal - a man that he had beaten in the last two finals.

While Nadal had gotten the better of R-Fed on the clay in France in recent times, he'd been unable to replicate those results on the SW19 lawns.

Many anticipated an epic contest, but what followed left everybody hailing arguably the greatest match in the history of the sport.

Roger Federer plays a shot during the 2008 Wimbledon final.© PA Photos

In true British summer style, the start of the clash was delayed by rain for 30 minutes. When they eventually got onto the court, Nadal stunned Federer and the crowd by racing into a 6-4 6-4 lead.

Back came the wet conditions though as Federer led at 5-4 in the third set, with the players consequently forced to wait 80 minutes before they could contest another point.

When they returned Federer won the breaker and mimicked that during the fourth set, saving two championship points along the way, to send the encounter into a deciding fifth set.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal exchange shots at the net during the 2008 Wimbledon final.© PA Photos

More rain fell and when the world's top two players headed back onto Centre Court, darkness had descended. Postponing the match until the next day seemed the logical thing to do, but the duo battled through.

At one stage Federer was two points away from a sixth crown, but it was Nadal who eventually triumphed 9-7 in a little under five hours to halt Federer's amazing run in the English capital.

"It's impossible to explain what I felt in that moment but I'm very, very happy," the new champion told BBC Sport. "It is a dream to play on this court, my favourite tournament, but to win I never imagined."

Rafael Nadal celebrates with the Wimbledon trophy.© PA Photos

Meanwhile, a defeated Federer added: "I tried everything, got a little late, but look, Rafa is a deserving champion, he just played fantastic.

"The rain didn't make it easier but you have to expect the worst and he's the worst opponent on the best court. It's a pity I couldn't win it but I'll be back next year."

And "back next year" he was to reclaim the title. Injury meant that Nadal was not there to defend his trophy and so Federer took full advantage by beating Andy Roddick in the final.

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