The Fedal rivalry will finally be revisited at Wimbledon with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer playing each other at the event for the first time since 2008. Federer won the first and second of three straight finals between 2006 and 2008 but the most famous of the three is the epic that Nadal won, 6-4 6-4 6-7 6-7 9-7. “A great feeling to be back in the semi-finals, be able to be playing at this level of tennis… very happy the way that we managed to be in that round,” Nadal said. “Now to play against Roger always is a unique situation. Excited to be back on this court against him after 11 years. Means a lot for me and probably for him, too.
The conditions have proved to be perfect for Nadal, who has gone through his draw with barely a struggle aside from his heated second round clash with Nick Kyrgios. Sam Querrey looked to be a potentially tough opponent with the way he had served all fortnight but was picked apart with relative ease in a 7-5 6-2 6-2 victory for Nadal. He broke the seemingly unbreakable American six times overall, picking up two breaks in each set. “I think I am playing with a very high intensity, playing aggressive, serving well and returning very well,” Nadal said afterwards. “Today was a big, big challenge against a server like Sam. [I broke] him six times, which is a lot against a player like him… I am very, very happy with the way I am playing.”
Federer won in four sets but always looked to be control once he broke in the opening game of set in his 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4 win. He faced just one break point over the final three sets as he sealed a 100th win at Wimbledon. While he has twice lost an opening set this fortnight, he has never looked in danger against his opponents so far. “I feel good on the court. Even if I’m down a set or down a break, no hurry there. I stay calm. I feel like I have the 1-2 punch sort of under control. I’m serving good. I’m going in phases in returning,” Federer said.
[He has] improved so much over the years on this surface. He’s playing also very different than he used to. Haven’t played each other in a long, long time on this surface. He’s serving way different. 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,” Federer said of Nadal. The No.2 seed may well be concerned by his low ace count, both in general but also in comparison to Nadal who has been outacing him this tournament.
“The last two months have been very positive for me personally, probably for Roger, too, because he played good [to make the] semi-finals in Roland Garros He had the title in Halle. He’s now in the semi-finals here again.” Nadal said. The Spaniard is the bookmakers favourite and that may well be down to the way the court appears to be playing, much slower than at Wimbledon in the past. If Nadal is facing a nullified Federer serve, that is a big boost for him as he seeks to make another Wimbledon final.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in 4 sets