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Best Individual Sports Rivalries - Part 2

Dec 27, 2006

From the tennis court to the race track, check out these great rivalries from the world of sports.

Great Sports Rivalries - Tiger vs. Phil

Not long ago, Tiger Woods was so dominant on the golf course that he didn't really have any rivals. But when Phil Mickelson finally started winning Major golf tournaments - the rivalry was on. Tiger is still the top-ranked golfer in the world but Mickelson is right behind him and if he can avoid choke jobs like the 2006 US Open, this rivalry could have some legs for several years.

Great Sports Rivalries - Roger vs. Rafa

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the two best tennis players on the planet right now and these rivals couldn't be more different. The right-handed Federer is the top-ranked player on grass and has won the last four Wimbledon titles while the left-handed Nadal has won 60 straight matches on clay and the last two French Opens. Roger is a mild-mannered Swiss, who plays with an attacking style while Rafael is an emotional Spaniard, who is one of the game's top defensive players. The only similarity they have is their desire to beat each other. In 2006, the pair met six times in tourmanet finals with Nadal holding a 4-2 edge. Expect this rivalry to carry over to the 2006 US Open, where the rivals are a good bet to meet in the Finals as well.

Great Sports Rivalries - Tony Stewart vs. Matt Kenseth

You definitely won't see Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth exchanging Christmas cards any time soon. The two drivers have been at the center of NASCAR's most heated rivalry since the 2006 season's opening race. After Kenseth bumped Stewart's car during the early laps of the Daytona 500, the hot-headed Stewart responded by side-swiping Kenseth's car and nearly knocking him out of the race. "It was an intentional cheap shot and I would bet anything on that. I would never do that to him, intentionally put someone in harm's way at a racetrack like this," said Kenseth. A few months later at NASCAR's All Star Challenge, the racers again collided and knocked each other out of the race. The fuming Stewart called Kenseth, "screwed up in the head" and the two had a heated shouting match after the race. They haven't thrown any helmets or insulted each other's mother yet - but that's probably just a matter of time.

Great Sports Rivalries - Kobayashi vs. Chestnut

Takeru Kobayashi won his sixth straight World Hotdog Eating title in 2006 - but it wasn't without a strong challenge from up and coming competitive eater, Joey Chestnut. Kobayashi is the top-ranked eater on the planet, while Chestnut is a rising star, after winning the World Asparagus Eating title in 2005. "I'm watching him," says Kobayashi of his new rival. "The pressure makes me stronger." The next meeting for these two great eaters will be the 2006 World Hamburger Eating Championships in October.

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