Roger Federer downs Rafael Nadal to reach 12th Wimbledon final

Roger Federer downs Rafael Nadal to reach 12th Wimbledon final

Roger Federer downs Rafael Nadal to reach 12th Wimbledon final

In their 40th match-up, tennis greats Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in four sets on Friday. Prior to Friday's semifinal, he had dropped just one set throughout the tournament (to Nick Kyrgios in the second round).

"I didn't play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well".

This one felt like just as much of a classic contest, though, one that anyone present is not likely to forget.

Looking to match Bjorn Borg's tally of five Wimbledon crowns, Djokovic leads Federer 3-1 in grand slam finales, having also conquered the champion Swiss in the 2015 US Open showpiece.

Asked where it would rate among his displays in south-west London, Federer said: "Obviously extremely high". Roger Federer would advance to his 12th Wimbledon final and Nadal would be sent packing, along with his hopes for Grand Slam No. 19.

Djokovic had inhabited every character in his persona as he got through the men's semifinal challenge of Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Djokovic is eyeing a fifth championship at Wimbledon and 16th major title.

The players then smashed out their 45-shot rally, much of it a mesmerizing exchange of identical crosscourt backhands that had the crowd gasping before Djokovic blinked first to switch the angle of attack and take the point with a devastating victor.

The tennis greats will meet at the Centre Court for the first time since their 2008 final clash, which is generally acknowledged as the greatest match ever played. Federer understandably seemed more jovial about Friday's match.

Quickly, that greeting was justified. Both players converted two break points and Federer delivered those in the more important moments to celebrate the 101st victory at the All England Club. Another was that he was able to withstand Nadal's serve, which has improved a ton over the years.

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The Swiss broke again in the third game of the fourth set to gain the advantage, wasting match point on Nadal's serve in the ninth game and fending off a break chance in the thrilling next game to seal the deal and march into the final, seizing his fifth match point. Federer leads Nadal 2-1 in these matches.

"Novak played great", Federer continued.

In the end, the Centre Court crowd cheered.

When Nadal jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the first-set tiebreaker, Federer used sublime returning to reel off five points in a row to claim it.

But Federer steadied himself in the third, thanks mainly to his effective first serve, and got his nose out in front with an early break. Federer had to serve it out. Nadal saved another two match points with breathtaking backhand winners.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic is one set away from his sixth Wimbledon final.

"There's always something that can take you out of the comfort zone".

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 went on to win the set 6-3.

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