Eleven years after they played what many experts regard as the best tennis match in history, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will clash for the 40th time in their career on Friday after both encountered few problems in their Quarter-final wins after the defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roberto Bautista Agut clinched their places in the last four on Wednesday.
The top seeded Serb looking for his fifth title at Wimbledon overcame a slow start but finished strongly against the Belgian David Goffin on center court winning 6-4,6-0,6-2 in one hour and fifty seven minutes. Goffin was the first to strike as he broke serve in the seventh game to go 4-3 up. Aided by a double fault and a missed forehand, Djokovic immediately broke back and then went on to win another nine straight games which included a bagel in the second set.
The 15 time Grandslam Champion would break serve twice against Goffin who had reached the finals at the ATP500 event on grass going into Wimbledon. Djokovic is through to his ninth semi-final at Wimbledon and is now 70-10 at the Championship. He is only the fourth player to reach the 70 win mark joining Roger Federer, Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker.
The 23rd seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut lost his first set at the grass-court major, but won and ended the giant killing run of the Argentine Guido Pella, seeded 26th in three hours and eight minutes on No. 1 Court at the All England Club. Agut, who missed last year due to injury booked his place against Djokovic on Friday after completing a 7-5,6-4,3-6,6-3 win against Pella who had upset the 2018 finalist Kevin Anderson and the 2016 finalist Milos Raonic adding to his scalp of the 2017 finalist Marin Cilic in last year’s champioships. Agut has beaten Djokovic twice this year in Doha and in Miami but Djokovic takes a 7-3 head to head record into the semi-finals.
Roger Federer got off to a near disastrous start in his quarter-final encounter against the fighting but underachieving Kei Nishikori of Japan as he dropped the first set in the second match on center court following Djokovic’s win. It appeared that the Swiss maestro would have his work cut out against the eighth seeded Nishikori but he settled down and broke serve twice to claim the second set 6-1.
Federer who has lost serve only thrice in five matches at the Championships broke serve once in each of the next two sets to complete a 4-6,6-1,6-4,6-4 win. He hit 12 aces and broke serve four times behind 14 break point chances and saved five out of the six break points he faced.
The two time Champion Rafael Nadal survived 22 aces from Sam Querrey, the lone American to advance to the last eight, but broke serve six times behind 16 break point chances as he completed a straightforward 7-5,6-2,6-2 win on court number One. Nadal who has lost serve only four times in five matches, failed to serve out the first set leading 5-4 in the opening set. He would break rightaway before holding serve to clinch the opening set 7-5. Querrey who had beaten the then defending champion Novak Djokovic in 2016 and the defending champion Andy Murray in 2017 failed to break serve in the second and third sets losing his own delivery twice in both those sets.
With the win Federer becomes the first player in history to win 100 matches at a single grand slam. He also leads the all time Australian Open wins with 97, while Jimmy Connors holds the U.S. Open record with 98 wins and Rafael Nadal with 86 wins at Roland Garros. The pair met in three consecutive finals from 2006 to 2008, with Federer winning the first two, while Nadal recorded his win in 2008 to win his first Wimbledon title. Nadal takes a 24-15 head to head record into the semi-finals.
Following is the line up with my pick mentioned first:-
Novak Djokovic (1) (33-6) v. Roberto Bautista Agut (23) (28-11); Djokovic leads 7-3.
Roger Federer (2) (37-4) v. Rafael Nadal (3) (37-5); Nadal leads 24-15.
Serena Williams and Simona Halep will contest the ladies final on Saturday after both recorded thumping wins in the semi-finals on Thursday. Williams, bidding to equal Margaret Smith-Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles trounced the unseeded Barbora Strycova if the Czech Republic, 6-1,6-2. Simona Halep of Romania enters her first ever Wimbledon final with a 6-1,6-3 win over the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.
Williams leads 9-1 in their head to head record including a three set Round of 16 win at the Australian Open this year. Williams, a winner of 23 grand slams is bidding for her eighth title , while Halep who won her only Grand Slam title last year at the French Open, plays her third career final, having also featured in 2018 Australian Open final where she required medical attention after losing to Caroline Wozniacki in an Epic final. Both players are looking for their first title of 2019. History beckons Serena as she attempts to win her first grand slam after returning from Maternity break last year following the birth of her first child.