Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

20.31 12 Jul 2019


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Roger Federer will face Novak Djokovic in Sunday's Wimbledon men's singles final following a 4-set victory over Rafa Nadal. 

The eight-time champion was just too good for the 3rd seed, winning 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 as the sun set behind Centre Court.

In reaching Sunday's decider, Federer becomes the third-oldest man to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open era at 37-years and 340-days.

Those expecting a re-run of the epic final of 2008 - their last meeting on grass - may have walked away disappointed, but in truth Federer and Nadal proved why they're still dominating Slams, even with a combined age of 70.

It needed a tie-break to settle the first set with neither man giving an inch, and at that stage it appeared as though the lucky Centre Court patrons were in for the long haul. Federer has spoken in recent weeks about having to play himself into matches, not minding if he falls behind. But as he told the BBC, he couldn't let that happen today, "That first set was huge, to get the lead and try to protect it. It was a joy to play."

But Nadal responded brilliantly, breaking Federer twice to rattle off a 37-minute set by 6-games to 1 and levelling the match.

"Repetitive brutality" is how Jim Courier described Nadal's display when the Spaniard brushed the Swiss aside in 3-sets in their Roland-Garros semi-final, but Centre Court is Federer's house. More aggressive than he's perhaps been in their previous 39 encounters, Federer claimed the third set 6-3.

Despite the quality of tennis on display, at times it appeared as though Federer was barely breaking a sweat. In contrast, Nadal was his usual fist-pumping, brow-wiping, dogged self. But once that third set went the way of Federer, there was an air of inevitability about the result.

Nadal's digging of his heels at 4-5 down was too little too late. A fifth match point was finally pounced upon by Federer, and he will battle top seed and defending champion Djokovic for a 9th Wimbledon title.

Speaking to the BBC after the match, Federer was feeling every one of his 37-years and 338-days, "I'm exhausted. It was tough - at the end Rafa played some unbelievable shots to stay in the match.

"I had spells where I was serving very well and probably the biggest points in the match went my way."

Djokovic will be gunning for a 16th career Grand Slam on Sunday following his 4-set victory (6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2) over Roberto Bautista-Agut.

Sunday will be the third time Federer and Djokovic have met in a Wimbledon final. Federer is yet to win any of those previous encounters.

And the Serb can't foresee any surprises in their next outing, "We all know how good he is, anywhere, but especially here.

"The surface compliments his game very much. He likes to play very fast, and takes away the time from his opponent..... doesn't give you any same looks and just rushes you to everything.

"For players like maybe Nadal or myself who like to have a little more time, it's a constant pressure that you've to deal with".


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Novak Djokovic Rafa Nadal Roger Federer Wimbledon

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