Tuesday, 23 July, 2019

Wimbledon Day 11 Surprises: Federer outdoes Nadal

Roger Federer must win first set against Rafael Nadal says Woodbridge Roger Federer tops Rafael Nadal to make Wimbledon final
Cary Erickson | 13 July, 2019, 17:38

If Roger Federer's going to win a record ninth championship at Wimbledon, he'll need to follow up a victory over Rafael Nadal with one over defending champion Novak Djokovic. There were tight ones and long rallies.

"He played really well". Djokovic said. "Sometimes I show my emotions, sometimes I don't". But the second set was perhaps a nightmare for the Swiss, as the Spaniard thrashed him 6-1.

"He used it to energise himself and you've got to love that", McEnroe said.

The top-ranked Djokovic was forced to produce his best tennis of the tournament to defeat Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, who almost proved a disrupter in his first Grand Slam semifinal before succumbing to Wimbledon's four-time and defending champion.

After edging a tense first set by taking the final five points of the tiebreak, Federer was overpowered in a 36-minute second as Nadal, eyeing a first Wimbledon title for nine years, appeared to have wrestled control.

Once his volley victor found the net tape and trickled over to cap the third set - turnabout was fair play, in this instance, after the way the previous set ended - the outcome seemed inevitable.

"I think straight sets was a bit brutal for Novak, to be honest", Federer said.

After watching Bautista Agut's shot hit the net tape, pop in the air and slide over for a victor that tied things at a set apiece, Centre Court spectators stood and cheered, perhaps envisioning a tight match. But Wimbledon is Federer's dominion: He's won 101 matches at the place - more than any other man at any other Slam, even Nadal at Roland Garros - and all of those trophies.

Nadal was denied the opportunity to win a third Wimbledon and 19th Grand Slam title, with Federer being handed the chance to win his 21st Major. When Federer and Nadal strode out into the sunshine at 4:30 p.m. Friday, they were welcomed by a standing ovation before ever swinging a racket.

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"I am sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity", he said.

Roger Federer greets Rafael Nadal after their semi-final. As they prepare for the Wimbledon final, we look at their previous grand slam deciders.

Federer has lost all four of their most recent meetings at the Slams and it's now seven years since he triumphed over the 32-year-old at the majors. He will face Serbian Novak Djokovic in the final.

One would not have expected, back in 2008, that these two titans of tennis would still be going mano-a-mano more than a decade later amidst the new guard hellions of the sport, the flashy Next Gen studs who performed so disappointingly over the last fortnight.

The champion then took command in the fourth set, cutting out the loose groundstrokes and picking up points with adventurous serve-and-volley attacks and after breaking for a 2-1 lead he never looked back.

Federer had cause to be first-set leery. Federer has eight Wimbledon titles, Djokovic four.

He said his performance against Nadal in a match that "lived up to the hype" gave him confidence for the final.

Djokovic, meanwhile, leads his series with Federer 25-22, including 9-6 in Grand Slam matches. Nadal saved another two match points with breathtaking backhand winners. When Bautista Agut's shot hit the net tape, popped in the air and slid over for a victor that tied their semifinal at a set apiece, Djokovic motioned to the roaring fans, sarcastically encouraging folks to get louder.