Roger Federer tops Rafael Nadal, will face Novak Djokovic in Wimbledon final
Jul 14 2019
World number one and four-time Wimbledon victor Djokovic booked his 25th Grand Slam final appearance with a nervy 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Spain´s 23rd seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
Nadal beat the 20-time grand slam champion in an epic final the last time they met at SW19 in 2008, but was unable to pull off a repeat on Centre Court 11 years later.
The result not only narrowed 18-times major champion Nadal's advantage over Federer to 24-16 in their head-to-head meetings, it also earned the Swiss some much needed breathing space in the race to the top of the Grand Slam leaderboard. It will be Federer's 31st Grand Slam appearance. Djokovic swept Belgium's David Goffin 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 to make it this far, and he'll face a man who has beaten him twice already this year.
Nadal carried that momentum with him and broke again two games later before serving out the set and levelling the match up after nearly 90 minutes on court. He likes to play fast, so the grass he is great. It's been a rock solid year of mine, I won in Halle [for a record 10th time last month], the stars are aligned right now.
Djokovic played a near-flawless first set but his level dipped slightly at the start of the second and Bautista Agut, who had seemed nervy early on, grew in confidence.
The eight-time Wimbledon victor has been no less impressive than his rival but there's a suggestion he has not yet been as tested as the Spaniard.
Djokovic leads 7-3 head-to-head, but Bautista Agut won their two matchups this season, both on hard courts.
But the second seed held his nerve - and serve - amid unbearable tension in the next game to complete a memorable victory with a forehand victor on his fifth match point after three hours and two minutes.
Barbora Strycova made a Wimbledon final after all - in women's doubles.
"Age kicks in. I know it's not over yet", said the Swiss, who is now into his fifth final at the All England Club since turning 30.
This was Federer and Nadal's 40th meeting, a clash of styles and personalities that dates back 15 years and continues to capture the imagination like nothing else in sport.
Neither player got a look-in on their opponent's serve in the early stages until Federer brought up the first break point in the eighth game, but he could only find the net after a cagey 21-shot rally. "The third set for me was the best set of the match".
Federer was getting significantly more returns in play, though, and in the tie-break that paid dividends. There were tight ones and long rallies.
Federer's fans inside Centre Court and massed on "Henman Hill" watching the drama on the giant screen, need not have anxious though as the second seed had plenty left in the tank. 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.
While Djokovic did see a brief dip in form during 2017, his resurgence since then has been truly remarkable and he is now the reigning Wimbledon champion.