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Federer, Nadal set-up Wimbledon blockbuster

By AFP - Jul 11,2019 - Last updated at Jul 11,2019

Spain’s Rafael Nadal returns against US player Sam Querrey during their men’s singles quarter-final match on day nine of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on Wednesday (AFP photo by Ben Stansall)

LONDON — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal set up a Wimbledon semifinal blockbuster on Wednesday, 11 years after their epic 2008 title duel, which is widely regarded as the greatest Grand Slam final ever played.

Eight-time champion Federer racked up his 100th match win at Wimbledon and reached his 13th semifinal with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Japan's Kei Nishikori.

The 37-year-old will be playing in the semifinals of a major for the 45th time.

Nadal, the two-time champion, made the last-four for the seventh time and 32nd at the Slams, by beating Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.

Friday's semifinal will be the pair's 40th meeting and third at Wimbledon after Federer won the 2006 and 2007 finals before Nadal swept to his famous 2008 triumph.

The other semifinal will see four-time champion and top seed Novak Djokovic tackle Roberto Baustista Agut, the 23rd Spaniard who has made the last-four at a major for the first time.

Federer is also the oldest man to make the semis of a major since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.

"We have a lot of information on Rafa and so does he about us. I know people always hype it up in a big way," said 20-time major winner Federer.

"They did that again in Paris this year [when Nadal won their semifinal in straight sets]. I'd love to play against him here at Wimbledon. 

"But I go about it like every other match."

Nadal, who was also champion in 2010, broke Querrey six times, sent down 10 aces and 44 winners in a convincing display which will give him great hope of beating Federer for the 25th time.

"It's great [to be facing Federer at Wimbledon again]," said 33-year-old Nadal whose recent 12th Roland Garros victory took him to 18 Slam titles.

"It's difficult to imagine to be again in that situation and here we are. I'm excited to play against Roger here at Wimbledon again after such a long time."

Djokovic reached the Wimbledon semifinals for the ninth time, racking up his 70th career win at the All England Club in the process.

The defending champion hit back from a break down in the first set to carve out a commanding 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 win over 21st seed David Goffin of Belgium.

In a ruthless display, Djokovic reeled off 15 of the last 17 games to secure a place in the semifinals of the majors for the 36th time.

 

'He was everywhere' 

 

Next up is Bautista Agut, who made his first Grand Slam semifinal with a 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Argentina's Guido Pella.

"He started well and was dictating play from the baseline," 32-year-old Djokovic said of Goffin.

"Things could have gone a different way if I had lost the first set but I was very pleased with the second and third

He added: "I had a tough match in the third round [against Hubert Hurkacz]. Other than that, I've won in straight sets and played really well throughout the tournament.

"It's exactly what I wanted and hopefully I can go in the right direction in the semis as well."

Goffin was on top in the early stages as he sensed the opportunity to become the first Belgian man to make the semifinals at a Slam since Xavier Malisse at Wimbledon in 2002.

He broke for a 4-3 lead but 15-time Slam winner Djokovic then reeled off the next nine games, taking the first set, and the second in which he allowed the Belgian just four points on his serve.

The contest was over by the time Djokovic broke for a 3-1 lead in the third set.

"Even if you play well, it's not enough because he continues to play deep, close from the line, left, right. He was everywhere," said a shattered Goffin.

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