Wimbledon: Federer-Nadal semi set as Djokovic dominates

Published by Matt Trollope

Roger Federer celebrates his 100th career singles victory after Wimbledon after a four-set win over Kei Nishikori (Getty Images)
The Big Three, as expected, on Wednesday advance to the Wimbledon semifinals, where they are joined by world No.22 Roberto Bautista Agut.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will clash in a blockbuster Wimbledon semifinal – their first meeting at the All England Club since their epic final of 2008.

Federer notched his 100th Wimbledon singles victory thanks to a four-set triumph over Kei Nishikori on Centre Court, with Nadal sealing a straight-sets win over Sam Querrey a short while later across on No.1 Court.

Earlier on Wednesday, top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic trounced Belgian David Goffin and will next face Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in his sixth Wimbledon final.

Bautista Agut overcame Guido Pella in a battle between surprise quarterfinalists.

After Djokovic, Nadal and Federer thrashed their opponents in the fourth round on Manic Monday, a tweet emerged saying: “Come on ATP, can you muster NO meaningful opposition to the Big Three?”

On Wednesday, things looked a little more competitive on Centre Court when Goffin broke Djokovic in the seventh game of the first set to lead 4-3.

Yet Djokovic promptly won 10 consecutive games, and 15 of the next 17, to assume complete control of proceedings.

He won 6-4 6-0 6-2 in under two hours.

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“I’ve been playing best tennis in this tournament in the last two rounds, fourth round and today. Especially today … I felt like I managed to dismantle his game and find always the right shots,” Djokovic assessed.

“I sincerely hope that my opponent feels like he’s got to work twice as more than against any other opponent to win a point.”

Goffin concurred. “It was really high level. It was tough to stay with him,” the Belgian lamented.

Djokovic now comes up against a player who is appearing in his first career Grand Slam semifinal, but who earlier this year progressed to the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park.

Bautista Agut, who had never before gone beyond the fourth round in SW19, was in high spirits despite revealing he had to postpone his bachelor party in Ibiza because of his deep run at Wimbledon.

“It feels good, no?” he said following his 7-5 6-4 3-6 6-3 over Argentina’s Pella.

“I think I did a great tournament. It was also a good opportunity for us to pass through the quarterfinals and play the semifinals here in Wimbledon. It was also a lot of emotions on the match.

“I had planned to be in Ibiza right now. We had everything organized already. My friends, six of them, are all there.

“It feels better to be here in London.”

More competitive matches came later in the day, particularly when Federer took on eighth seed Nishikori.

The Japanese shotmaker, into the second week at Wimbledon with unusual ease and with his physical health intact, bullied Federer about Centre Court in the first set before the Swiss veteran re-set the contest.

Down a break in the third, Nishikori held a break-back point in the ninth game which, if converted, would have locked scores at 5-5.

But he missed his return long, Federer escaped to take the third set, and 42 minutes later, the eight-time champion won the match 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4.

Federer said he was not especially conscious of the milestone until a fan congratulated him courtside following the win.

“I feel good on the court. Even if I’m down a set or down a break, no hurry there. I stay calm,” he said.

“I feel like I have the 1-2 punch sort of under control. I’m serving good. Overall I’m just very happy how I’m hitting the ball. Feel good off the baseline, too, which is clearly going to be important maybe for the next match.”

As he was discussing his thoughts with the press, Nadal completed a 7-5 6-2 6-2 win over Querrey, surviving a tough opening stanza in which he faced five break points – and was broken when serving for it at 5-4 – before advancing after two hours and seven minutes.

“(Nadal has) improved so much over the years on this surface. He’s playing also very different than he used to,” Federer observed.

“(We) 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.

“It’s impressive to see how sort of healthy he’s stayed. A lot of them are saying, Oh, it’s the end, by 2008. Similar to me in ’09. We’re still here. So it’s nice to play each other again.”

Nadal has dropped just one set en route to the final four, appearing in the semifinals for the second straight year after a run of earlier-than-expected defeats.

After the struggles of the first set against the big-serving, power-hitting Querrey, Nadal allowed Querrey just two more break points for the match – and saved them both in a display of impressive intensity.

“Great feelings, no? First of all, is great feeling to be back in that semifinals, be able to be playing at this level of tennis are great news,” Nadal said.

“Now 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.

“Excited about this match, excited about this opportunity to be again in that round against him. Always I say the same: of course, the opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we still here.

“After tomorrow we going to have another chance.”

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