Complete turnaround from the second set and Federer has Nadal on the ropes now. Again. 0-30. Big serve and Federer nets the reply. Spaniard sends his forehand long and Federer has two break points to go two breaks ahead. 117 mph serve out wide and Federer is unable to get it back. Neither is he able to do so on the next point. Nadal is pumped and that is usually warning signs for his opponents. Rafa holds to stay in the third set after saving two break points.
Nadal with a possible break back opportunity. He has Federer at 0-30. Uh-oh! Rafa with a poor return and Federer breathes a sigh of relief. Not so soon! Federer with a double fault, first of the match, and Nadal has two break points. One saved with a serve and smash put away. They might be well into their 30s but no sign of lack of fitness from either. Federer saving yet another break point after a lengthy rally that sees Nadal making an error. At deuce, Nadal with a deep return into Federer’s feet and the backhand half volley is into the net. The third break point of the game also goes to waste. Federer with a strong approach and Nadal sends the desperate backhand into the net. A 25 shot rally ensues at deuce with both players finding the depth on their groundstrokes before Nadal goes for too much angle. Federer finally holds as Nadal nets his backhand. Three break points saved by Federer there to consolidate the break.
Nadal* 6-7, 6-1, 1-3 Federer in the third set
What. A. Shot! Roger Federer with a breathtaking backhand winner over the highest part of the net. Sensational stuff. And he follows it up with a winner on the other side. Nadal tried to go for a winner of his own but Federer fetches it successfully to whip a cross court winner for a break point. FEDERER BREAKS! A duel at the net Nadal’s volleys are not convincing enough to beat Federer.
Nadal 6-7, 6-1, 1-2 *Federer in the third set
Another hold at love for Roger Federer. He serves out with an ace down the T. Easy as they come for both players in the third set.
Nadal* 6-7, 6-1, 1-1 Federer in the third set
Comfortable hold from Nadal as well. He drops one point on his serve and levels the third set. Short points thus far – unlike the second set – and much like the first set.
Nadal 6-7, 6-1, 0-1 *Federer in the third set
After consecutive breaks on his two service games, Federer starts the third set with a hold at love. Just what he needs.
Nadal: 2 aces, 0 double faults, 65% on first serve, 73% first serve points won, 2/3 at the net, 2/4 on break points, 6 winners, 2 unforced errors
Federer: 0 aces, 0 double faults, 59% on first serve, 54% first serve points won, 3/8 at the net, 0/2 on break points, 8 winners, 11 unforced errors
Rafa Nadal wins the second set 6-1
After that cagey first set by both players, Roger Federer’s level dropping significantly and Rafael Nadal upping the intensity to level the match at one set all. Federer looked comfortable in the first set but it has suddenly gone missing.
Nadal* 6-7, 6-1 Federer in the second set
Nadal serving for the second set and to make it one set all. At 15-0 we see the much-missed SABR! Sneak attack by Roger for the uninitiated. And it doesn’t come off. The half volley is into the net. Nadal brings up three set points then. Federer fails to get it back and that is a simple hold for Nadal to level this match.
Nadal 6-7, 5-1 *Federer in the second set
Another poor service game from Federer and Nadal has a break point opportunity. The count of mishits rises from Federer – latest a forehand which hits the frame and goes flying into the crowd. BREAK!
Nadal* 6-7, 4-1 Federer in the second set
Simple hold for the Spaniard. Federer erring at the net and a mishit on the forehand in that game. The second set suddenly going one way!
Nadal 6-7, 3-1 *Federer in the second set
Two unforced errors from Federer and suddenly Nadal has three break point chances. Federer tries to go down the centre on the first serve but misses. BREAK! Nadal gets the first break of the match as Federer sends his backhand slider into the net. Sloppy service game from Roger.
Nadal* 6-7, 2-1 Federer in the second set
Federer doing well to mix things up: a winner on the first point and then a drop shot on the third to make it 15-30. A lengthy rally follows which culminates in Nadal trying to outfox Federer with an angled pick up but the angle is too much and two break points for Roger. One saved with a big serve and forehand winner behind Federer. The other saved with Federer sending the backhand into the net. Nadal going aggressively into the Federer backhand and finding errors after another. Spaniard holds with an ace down the T. Nadal holds after saving two break points – much like Federer in the last game.
Nadal 6-7, 1-1 *Federer in the second set
First time since the ninth game of the first set has Nadal won two points in a single Federer service game and he’s picked up game. WHAT A POINT! Incredible athleticism from both – Nadal to fetch the ball and Federer at the net. Eventually Nadal puts it away for the first break point he’s had. Federer saves it with a huge serve. At deuce both players with impeccable tennis and it is Nadal who comes out ahead and has another bite at the cherry. And once again denied by Federer. Lovely hands at the net and Federer draws it to deuce. One-two with a forehand winner and Federer has a chance to hold now. And it goes begging with a backhand error into the net. This is what Nadal would like – just extend rallies, points and games. Not what he just produced on deuce, though. Or on the game point for Roger. Simple mistakes and Federer holds after saving two break points.
Nadal* 6-7, 1-0 Federer in the second set
Rafa Nadal with a bit of a hiccup in the first game of the second set. Not getting the right height on his groundstrokes and plenty hitting the top of the tape thus falling nicely for Federer to dispatch away. Additionally, his second serve has suddenly dropped. Hold either way.
Former India No 1 Somdev Devvarman on what Nadal needs to do going forward
Insanely high level tennis from both in the first set. Both serving incredibly well.
Rog has to continue serving well, and rafa needs to lengthen the points.
Have a feeling that first set was a little more important for Roger than it was for rafa. Lets see what unfolds! https://t.co/dla07vdiAE
Nadal: 3 aces, 1 double faults, 68% on first serve, 74% first serve points won, 3/3 at the net, 0/0 on break points, 7 winners, 4 unforced errors
Federer: 7 aces, 0 double faults, 74% on first serve, 88% first serve points won, 8/9 at the net, 0/1 on break points, 16 winners, 10 unforced errors
Roger Federer wins first set 7-6
Cagey first set by both players with neither getting much of a look on the others’ serve. Inevitably it came down to the tiebreak where Roger Federer won 7-6 (3) in 51 minutes. Nadal had the minibreaks early on but couldn’t make them matter in the end.
First set tiebreak
Federer gets his first minibreak advantage of the tiebreak. Short ball by Nadal and Federer sets up nicely for a forehand winner. Consolidates it with a perfect volley and then smash put away. And another comfortable point won for Roger and he has three set points.
Nadal, serving at 3-6, to keep the first set going: Federer creates the angle and the opening and makes the most of it. Had Nadal on the backhand and out of court thereby going down the line on the forehand for a winner to clinch the opening set.
FIRST SET TIEBREAK!
Nadal up 11-10 in the tiebreak head-to-head between these two, informs Tim Henman. WHAT A START TO THE TIEBREAK! Roger Federer with a perfect drop volley. Little wrong in it but Nadal rides into the shot picking up the ball inches from the ground. Clips the line and that is the early minibreak.
Nadal then hands the minibreak right back with a backhand error. Tame after that lovely pickup. Clenches his fist after a powerful serve to keep the tiebreak on serve.
Federer takes the first point on his serve with ease but the slice backhand attempt on the subsequent point hits the top of the tape. That’s the minibreak for Nadal again.
3-3 at the change of ends with Federer getting the minibreak back. Rafa tried to lob Federer, who was at the net, but just keeps too much on it.
Nadal* 6-6 Federer in the first set
Nadal had raced off to a 40-0 lead but Federer not letting it go without creating bit of a hiccup. Federer with a gorgeous forehand winner and then an error by Nadal prolongs this game. And we’re at deuce with another Federer winner on the forehand side. Federer had the shot for the taking and the ball was there to be dispatched but Roger gets his body balance wrong to send it wide. How rarely do we say that? Roger sends his backhand long and Nadal holds in the end. TIEBREAK!
Nadal 5-6 *Federer in the first set
Another serve hold to love for Federer. He’s dropped just five points on serve thus far and three games have been held to love. His ace count up seven already!
Nadal* 5-5 Federer in the first set
Camera person spots a kid reading a book. Maybe not the time and place for that? Ah well! Comfortable hold for Nadal. Dropping one point in the middle.
Nadal 4-5 *Federer in the first set
Suddenly Nadal has a look-in on the Federer serve. Roger sending his forehand long and it is 30-30. Pressure? What pressure? Federer with back-to-back aces to hold serve. Nadal losing one challenge on the second ace.
Nadal* 4-4 Federer in the first set
‘New balls please’ chirps chair umpire James Keothavong. Little changing on the first point with Nadal doing much of the same. Federer trying to dial up the pressure on the second with Nadal sending his backhand long. Once again Nadal paying for little clearance on the net chord and Federer making the most of it to force Rafa into a mistake. Roger had the chance at 15-and second serve but Rafa with a well-placed serve on the backhand and dictating things from there to draw parity. First break point opportunity comes Roger Federer’s way as Rafa Nadal once again overcooks his backhand. Tries to go for too much and it goes long. And it s saved! Thrice it appeared the ball from Nadal was going long and thrice it landed narrowly in. The Spaniard doing brilliantly to get his footing right for the Federer slice backhands. Some things never change, eh? Nadal holds with another serve on the backhand side on the ad court and then whipping the usual top-spin heavy forehand winner.
Nadal 3-4 *Federer in the first set
Net chord sees the ball short for Federer to move up, push Nadal into going for a lob and it is defiantly smashed away for a hold. Yes, a hold at love.
Nadal* 3-3 Federer in the first set
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Another serve hold at love for Nadal. Neither players able to get a proper look at each other’s serve.
Nadal 2-3 *Federer in the first set
Another straightforward service hold for Federer. Despite Nadal upping the level in the game with thundering backhands and forcing Federer back.
One for the archives
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the net before the match started. (Image: Reuters)
Nadal* 2-2 Federer in the first set
Federer’s first point on the Nadal serve is a rather peculiar one. The Swiss legend’s backhand slice hits the line and stops. Unlike the past where it would skid off the line. Nadal is unable to get into position for it and the forehand, a subdued forehand, is into the net. Rafa holds as Federer’s backhand serve reply sails long.
Nadal 1-2 *Federer in the first set
This time Roger Federer closes out the game to love. He collects another ace as well. This has been casual and straightforward for both thus far.
Nadal* 1-1 Federer in the first set
Rafa holds to love with an ace of his own at the start. Federer hits the top of the net and that’s a comfortable hold for Nadal.
Ready, play! Roger Federer to serve
Federer off to a glorious start: an ace! Followed up by a rally which has Roger locked in the corner before Nadal forces him into an error. Roger holds with an ace, unreturned serve and forcing Nadal into an error on the forehand.
Nadal says: “Playing against Roger is always a unique situation. I’m excited to be back on Centre Court against him after 11 years. It means a lot for me and probably for him, too. The opportunities to play against each other are becoming less, but we still here.
“I’m not expecting to learn new things about him. I just expect to play against probably the best player in history on this surface. I know he’s playing well. He feels comfortable here.
“I’m playing well, too. I am playing with a very high intensity, playing aggressive, serving well and returning very well. I know that I have to play my best.”
Pre-match talk: Roger Federer
Federer says: “Rafa has improved so much over the years on this surface. He’s also playing very differently. I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he’s serving, how much faster he finishes points.
“We have a lot of information on Rafa, as does he on us. So you can dive into the tactics like mad, or you say: ‘It’s grass-court tennis so I’m going to come out and play my tennis.’ I’m excited to play him again.”
Greg Rusedski reckons Nadal to clinch it in four sets.
. @RafaelNadal meets @rogerfederer for the 2nd slam in a row in the semis. Rafa will be the favourite due to the fact the grass courts are slower. Federer will not get enough free points in my opinion to win. Nadal in 4/5 sets today. Djok vs Nadal final is my prediction.
Novak Djokovic takes two hours and 48 minutes and five match points to get the better of Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. A sixth Wimbledon final for Djokovic and for a second year running.
Djokovic* 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 Bautista Agut in the fourth set
Novak Djokovic serving for the match and a place in the Wimbledon final. Bautista Agut trying to prolong the inevitable. Two errors later he moves up successfully to the net for a backhand winner on a Djokovic drop volley. Once again the Serb opening up the court with a confident forehand down the line on RBA’s backhand and getting a tame reply for a put away. Brings up two match points. One saved despite a desperate Becker-esque backhand volley. Another match point saved by Bautista Agut. He returns a drop shot and is convinced it has clipped the line on its way and the challenge confirms it. But no trouble on the next point for the Serb. Another match point comes and another match point goes. Djokovic goes for too much on the backhand and it goes wide. The World No 1 creates another chance here, the fourth, with the Spaniard netting his backhand. And fourth match point saved by Bautista Agut. ‘Boys from Ibiza’ are up on their feet! They want to see this go longer. ACE! What a time to serve big. Just about clipping the line. Fifth match point and this one is converted! RBA is unable to send the serve back and Djokovic roars!
After going more than 1½ years without playing each other anywhere, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be meeting at a second consecutive Grand Slam tournament when they face off in Wimbledon’s semi-finals.
Last month, Nadal got his shot at Federer on red clay, winning their wind-whipped French Open semi-final in straight sets on the way to a 12th title there.
“We had some brutal conditions to play (in) there. But it was a joy to play against Rafa there, on his court. And, of course, I’d love to play against him here at Wimbledon,” Federer said.
On Friday, Federer gets his shot at Nadal on grass and hopes to prolong his pursuit of a ninth championship at the All England Club.
“Means a lot for me, and probably for him, too,” Nadal said.
If it’s hard to believe more than a decade has passed since these two rivals last shared a court at Wimbledon, it’s also tough to fathom how it is that they have dominated their sport as long as they have. Federer ranks first among men with 20 career Grand Slam titles. Nadal is next with 18. Add in the third-place count of 15 trophies belonging to Novak Djokovic, who is seeded No. 1 and plays No. 23 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in Friday’s other semi-final, and this terrific trio has won 53 of the last 64 major championships.
That includes 14 of the last 16 at Wimbledon. Also: 10 in a row everywhere over the past 2½ seasons.
Djokovic is seeking his fifth trophy, and second straight, at the All England Club, while Bautista Agut is making his Grand Slam semi-final debut.
Djokovic leads 7-3 head-to-head, but Bautista Agut won their two matchups this season, both on hard courts.
“Going to try to use my experience in being in these kind of matches, get myself tactically prepared,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully I can execute everything I intend to do.”