Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer stayed on course for his ninth Wimbledon singles title after defeating Rafael Nadal in a thrilling semi-final on Centre Court.
Federer came back from a mid-match wobble to defeat Nadal 7-6 (7-3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 after more than three hours of enthralling action in the day’s second semi-final.
Federer edged a tight, tense first set 7-6 by winning five points in a row to claim victory in the tiebreak, but Nadal came storming back in the second set and overpowered the Swiss star 6-1 as the Spanish ace appeared to take control of the match.
It set up one of Wimbledon’s classic semi-final clashes, as the two all-time greats of the game went shot for shot in a thrilling display of grass-court tennis that had the SW19 crowd on the edge of their seats.
Federer broke Nadal early in the third set, then fended off a powerful response from the Spaniard to restore his one-set lead.
The Swiss star broke again early in the fourth set to put himself firmly in control, and didn’t look back as he claimed his first Grand Slam semi-final win over Nadal by closing out the set, and the match, 6-4.
“I’m exhausted,” said Federer after his win.
“It was tough at the end. Rafa played some unbelievable shots to stay in the match. Battles with Rafa are always special.”
And when asked what proved the difference-maker in a tight tussle between two of the game’s greats Federer was modest in response.
“I had spells where I was serving really well,” he admitted.
“But I think the biggest points in the match went my way.”
Federer’s victory means he will be competing in his 12th Wimbledon final on Sunday, where he will meet another of his longtime rivals, and the current defending Wimbledon champion, Novak Djokovic, who defeated Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut earlier in the day.