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Roger Federer Adds To Wimbledon Lore • Winning Rematch With Rafael Nadal, This Time In Semis

By Ricky Dimon


Roger Federer had to wait only one month to avenge his French Open semifinal loss to Rafael Nadal. But Federer had to wait 11 years to get another shot at Nadal in Wimbledon.


Facing his longtime rival at the All-England Club for the first time since the epic 2008 title match won by Nadal 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7, Federer turned the tide to the tune of a 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 semifinal victory on Friday evening. The 37-year-old almost doubled his unforced error count with winners (51 to 27) while prevailing in three hours and two minutes.


“Obviously extremely high,” Federer said when asked where this ranked among his plethora of impressive Wimbledon showings. “It’s always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially (because we) haven’t played (here)in so long.”


The eight-time Wimbledon champion is now 3-1 against Nadal at Wimbledon and 14-10 on surfaces other than clay, trailing the overall head-to-head series 24-16. This one may not live in history like the 2008 final, but it was spectacular by mere mortals’ standards.

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Roger Federer of Switzerland during their semi final match for the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 12 July 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO COMMERCIAL SALES

“It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates we were both playing very well,” Federer noted. “Then the climax at the end with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there. I mean, I don’t know. It had everything at the end, which was great, I guess. I’m just relieved it’s all over at this point.


“But it’s definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favorite matches to look back at–again, because it’s Rafa, it’s at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather…. I felt like I played good, also, throughout the four sets. I can be very happy.”


Federer deserves such happiness following another vintage performance, which was highlighted by a whole host of incredible baseline rallies–a surprising majority of which the No. 2 seed won–and a dramatic clinching service hold at 5-4 in the fourth.


His reward for beating chief rival from a history standpoint is a showdown against his chief rivalry from a quantity standpoint. It’s Federer vs. Djokovic for the 48th time on championship Sunday.


“I know it’s not over yet,” the Swiss assured. “There’s no point to start partying tonight or get too emotional, too happy about it, even though I am extremely happy…. If it was the end of the tournament, it would be very different right now. I’d be speaking very different; feeling very different. There is, unfortunately or fortunately, one more.


“It’s great on many levels. But (I) got to put my head down and stay focused.”


It’s not over yet. There’s one more to go. There’s more history to make.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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