Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer : A Wimbledon semi-final between two of the greatest players ever, on Centre Court. This match will be straight after the first semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Roberto Bautista Agut.
Federer and Nadal – with 38 grand slams between them – will surely illuminate what has been an underwhelming men’s tournament so far at Wimbledon.
You could imagine an impatient Roger Federer sitting in the locker room on Saturday afternoon listening enviously to the cheers coming from Centre Court. Rafael Nadal was in the middle of demolishing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and the All England Club patrons were enraptured by the absurd shots coming from the Spaniard’s racket.
Never one to be upstaged, Federer strode on to Centre Court and sought to justify his slot at the top of the bill against Lucas Pouille. Just over two hours later, Federer was soaking up the applause of his disciples having breezed past the Frenchman.
Federer was not always at his best but he still drew gasps of appreciation. An improbable whipped forehand pass on the run in the second set was the star attraction of his latest highlights reel. Earlier, Rafael Nadal had produced a compelling compilation of his own, with one lob that he somehow dug up from his shoelaces bringing the crowd to its feet.
THREE giants of the game are set to battle it out on Day Nine at Wimbledon.
It’s been another dramatic year of action at SW19 – and on Wednesday you’ll be treated to Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and defending champion Novak Djokovic.
It’s been 11 years since their last meeting at the All England Club. The most recent encounter – the 2008 final – was a rather memorable affair. Nadal ended Federer’s five-year winning streak in a match lasting four hours and 48 minutes. This is the first time the duo will face off in SW19 outside the final, with the winner likely to face world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, but a lot has changed about their games over the past decade. One of tennis’ top tacticians Craig O’Shannessy – a strategy coach for Djokovic who also masterminded Alison Riske’s win against world No. 1 Ash Barty – gives the inside track on where the encounter will be won and lost.
On Friday, in the Wimbledon semifinals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play for the 40th time in their careers. No. 39 was only a month ago, in a French Open semifinal that Nadal won in straight sets to bring his record against Federer to 24-15.
But the clay of Paris is Nadal’s domain; he has won 12 titles at Roland Garros. The grass of the All England Club is Federer’s turf, where he has lifted the champion’s trophy eight times.