Wimbledon 2019 result: Roger Federer beats Rafael Nadal in four-set classic to reach 12th final

Eleven years after losing to Rafael Nadal in what many regard as the greatest match of all time, Roger Federer made amends here on Friday with an emphatic victory over his greatest rival. While their Centre Court semi-final never quite delivered the same drama as their historic final of 2008 in the same arena, Federer’s 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph was another vivid demonstration of his grass-court excellence.

Federer will now attempt to win his ninth Wimbledon title on Sunday when he takes on Novak Djokovic, a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 winner over Roberto Bautista Agut in the other semi-final. At 37 years and 340 days, he will be the oldest man to play in a Grand Slam final since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall at the US Open in 1974. It will be his 12th Wimbledon final, which is five more than any other man has contested.

“I’m exhausted,” Federer said after completing his victory over Nadal in just over three hours. “I thought the match was played at a very high level. I enjoyed it. The crowd was amazing. The battles with Rafa are always very special.”

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

From
15p
€0.18
$0.18
USD 0.27
a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

Nadal’s victory in last month’s French Open semi-finals had been his first over Federer for five years. The Spaniard still leads their head-to-head record by 24 victories to 16, but this was confirmation that it has been the Swiss who has generally got the better of their battles in recent times.

Although this latest confrontation was on Federer’s most favoured surface, many observers had seen Nadal as the more likely winner of what was just their fourth meeting on grass. Federer had won the first two, in the Wimbledon finals of 2006 and 2007, before Nadal’s extraordinary triumph in that unforgettable final of 2008.


Wimbledon champions since 2000





1/38 Pete Sampras, 2000

2/38 Venus Williams, 2000

3/38 Goran Ivanisevic, 2001

4/38 Venus Williams, 2001

5/38 Lleyton Hewitt, 2002

6/38 Serena Williams, 2002

7/38 Roger Federer, 2003

8/38 Serena Williams, 2003

9/38 Roger Federer, 2004

10/38 Maria Sharapova, 2004

11/38 Roger Federer, 2005

12/38 Venus Williams, 2005

13/38 Roger Federer, 2006

14/38 Amelie Mauresmo, 2006

15/38 Roger Federer, 2007

16/38 Venus Williams, 2007

17/38 Rafael Nadal, 2008

18/38 Venus Williams, 2008

19/38 Roger Federer, 2009

20/38 Serena Williams, 2009

21/38 Rafael Nadal, 2010

22/38 Serena Williams, 2010

23/38 Novak Djokovic, 2011

24/38 Petra Kvitova, 2011

25/38 Roger Federer, 2012

26/38 Serena Williams, 2012

27/38 Andy Murray, 2013

28/38 Marion Bartoli, 2013

29/38 Novak Djokovic, 2014

30/38 Petra Kvitova, 2014

31/38 Novak Djokovic, 2015

32/38 Serena Williams, 2015

33/38 Andy Murray, 2016

34/38 Serena Williams, 2016

35/38 Roger Federer, 2017

36/38 Garbine Muguruza, 2017

37/38 Novak Djokovic, 2018

38/38 Angelique Kerber, 2018

1/38 Pete Sampras, 2000

2/38 Venus Williams, 2000

3/38 Goran Ivanisevic, 2001

4/38 Venus Williams, 2001

5/38 Lleyton Hewitt, 2002

6/38 Serena Williams, 2002

7/38 Roger Federer, 2003

8/38 Serena Williams, 2003

9/38 Roger Federer, 2004

10/38 Maria Sharapova, 2004

11/38 Roger Federer, 2005

12/38 Venus Williams, 2005

13/38 Roger Federer, 2006

14/38 Amelie Mauresmo, 2006

15/38 Roger Federer, 2007

16/38 Venus Williams, 2007

17/38 Rafael Nadal, 2008

18/38 Venus Williams, 2008

19/38 Roger Federer, 2009

20/38 Serena Williams, 2009

21/38 Rafael Nadal, 2010

22/38 Serena Williams, 2010

23/38 Novak Djokovic, 2011

24/38 Petra Kvitova, 2011

25/38 Roger Federer, 2012

26/38 Serena Williams, 2012

27/38 Andy Murray, 2013

28/38 Marion Bartoli, 2013

29/38 Novak Djokovic, 2014

30/38 Petra Kvitova, 2014

31/38 Novak Djokovic, 2015

32/38 Serena Williams, 2015

33/38 Andy Murray, 2016

34/38 Serena Williams, 2016

35/38 Roger Federer, 2017

36/38 Garbine Muguruza, 2017

37/38 Novak Djokovic, 2018

38/38 Angelique Kerber, 2018

Both men have been in stunning form this year, having won more matches than any of their rivals in 2019, and both had looked in excellent shape in their first five matches here, with Nadal in particular making a remarkable turnaround after his exertions on clay.

The 40th meeting of the two greatest players of all time featured some superb shot-making and athleticism, though both men had periods in the match when their level dipped. Nadal in particular struggled at times to maintain his form in the third and fourth sets, though, as you would expect, he fought to the finish.

Federer, in contrast, recovered in admirable fashion after his level dipped in the second set and in the latter stages held firm in the face of Nadal’s desperate attempts to take the match into a deciding set. 

If there was a significant difference between the tennis here and their 2008 final it might have been the length of the rallies. While Federer has always looked to be the aggressor, Nadal has also attempted to shorten the points in his later years. Both men went for their shots, but it was Federer who hit more winners, 51 to Nadal’s 32.

It had been a largely overcast afternoon until the sun emerged shortly before the two players emerged on Centre Court. With the temperature at 25C and barely a breath of wind in the air, the conditions were all but perfect, as they have been for most of the fortnight.

The first set, in which both players served beautifully, took a while to catch fire. Nadal saved the only break point when he served at 3-4 as Federer netted a backhand at the end of the best rally of the match so far. On the only occasion when Federer looked remotely in trouble, serving at 4-4 and 30-30, he responded with two successive aces.

Nadal drew first blood in the tie-break, chasing down a volley in thrilling fashion to squeeze a backhand winner down the line, and appeared to have the advantage when he served at 3-2, Federer having just netted what should have been an easy backhand. However, the Swiss immediately upped his game to win the next five points, the last of them with a forehand winner after pulling Nadal out of position in masterful fashion.

If the first set had been a slow burner, the second caught fire immediately as Nadal moved further up the court and turned on the aggression. Federer saved two break points at 1-1 and Nadal saved two in the following game, only for the set to take a wholly unexpected turn. From 1-1 and 30-40, Nadal won 19 of the next 22 points to take the set as Federer’s level suddenly dipped.

We did not have to wait long for the next change of momentum. With Nadal serving at 1-2 and 30-30 in the third set Federer went to break point with a moment of brilliance. Nadal thumped a huge forehand down the line which would have won the point against most opponents, but Federer not only reached the ball but hit a winner with a sensational cross-court forehand which was almost a half-volley.

Federer went on to break serve with a winning volley at the end of a lively net exchange and proceeded to serve out for the set.

By now Federer was looking increasingly dominant and at 1-1 in the fourth set he broke again as Nadal missed a forehand on break point.

Nadal, nevertheless, was not going to go down without a fight. Serving at 3-5, the Spaniard saved two match points with big serves to reduce the arrears to 5-4. When Federer served for the match Nadal had a break point, only to net an easy backhand. He went on to save two more match points with some breathtaking play, but on the fifth the Spaniard hit a backhand long.

“It was tough at the end because Rafa played some unbelievable shots to stay in the match,” Federer said afterwards. 

“I had spells where I was really serving very well. I thought the biggest points in the match went my way. There were some tight ones and some long rallies. He plays with such velocity and spins that you’re not always sure you’re going to connect the right way.”

He added: “I think that first set was huge. I got the lead and I tried to protect it, but he came back very strongly in the second set. It was a joy to play today.”

Federer said he expected a major battle against Djokovic. “He played against Bautista Agut, who I thought played a phenomenal tournament,” Federer said.

“Novak was supreme again. He’s the defending champion and he’s showed why this week. He’s been rock-solid from start to finish so far. I hope I can push him to the brink and hopefully beat him but it’s going to be very difficult. He’s not No 1 just by chance.”

Source: Read Full Article