Federer avenges 2008 Wimbledon final loss to Nadal and sets up Djokovic showdown
Roger Federer exacted a measure of Wimbledon revenge over his great rival Rafael Nadal in Friday's semi-final to set up a showdown with defending champion Novak Djokovic in this year's showpiece.
Eleven years ago Nadal came out on top in a final considered one of the finest matches ever played - one that spanned five sets and almost five hours - but in their first Wimbledon meeting since, it was Federer who emerged victorious 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4.
Eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer, who turns 38 next month, took a first-set tie-break and though he lost his way as Nadal levelled up the contest, it was the second seed who stepped up a gear on his favourite surface.
Clay-court king Nadal had won the last meeting between these two in straight sets in this year's French Open semi-final, but grass is more Federer's domain, and he broke the Spaniard early in both the third and fourth sets before closing out a brilliant victory in just over three hours.
One of the great @rogerfederer performances at #Wimbledon— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 12, 2019
The Swiss will contest at 12th singles final at The Championships after defeating Rafael Nadal 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 pic.twitter.com/yfFsEyUWND
There was little to separate the pair early on, with just five points dropped on serve across the opening seven games.
Federer brought up the first break point in the next game but Nadal won a 21-shot rally and the two headed for a breaker, with the Swiss coming from 3-2 behind and forging ahead with a crunching forehand winner.
At 1-1 in the second set, Federer had two break opportunities but could seize neither and he appeared to lose his way when his opponent reeled off five games in a row, the 20-time grand slam champion at one point wildly miscuing a shot at the net into the crowd to be broken for a second time in a row.
But he was back on song in the next, brilliantly outduelling Nadal at the net and then fending off three break points to go 4-1 up, bringing up set point with a classic backhand down the line and then holding to love.
Nadal started the fourth set with a double fault and lost his second service game, Federer appearing to have an extra spring in his step as he manoeuvred his feet to dispatch a brilliant forehand winner.
Two match points on the Nadal serve came and went, and the Spaniard netted a backhand with a chance to make it 5-5, but Federer eventually got the job done at the fifth time of asking and advanced to a 12th Wimbledon final where he will meet Djokovic, who beat the Swiss in both 2014 and 2015.
Roger Federer  bt Rafael Nadal  7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4
Federer – 51/27
Nadal – 32/25
Federer – 14/1
Nadal – 10/4
BREAK POINTS WON
Federer – 2/10
Nadal – 2/8
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Federer – 68
Nadal – 64
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Federer – 73/62
Nadal – 74/48
Federer – 126
Nadal - 117