July 23, 2019
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Federer earns 3rd victory over Nadal at Wimbledon, avenges epic 2008 loss

London, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- Switzerland's Roger Federer topped arch-rival Rafael Nadal 7-6 (7-3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 here Friday to reach the Wimbledon final and set up a showdown against world No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Just a few weeks after losing to the second-ranked Spaniard at the French Open, the world No. 3 got revenge in a semifinal match that was their first at tennis' grass-court Grand Slam since their epic 2008 final (narrowly won by Nadal).

In doing so, the winner of a record eight Wimbledon men's singles titles advanced to his 12th championship match at the All England Club.

Earlier Friday, Djokovic, a four-time champion, reached his sixth Wimbledon final with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Spain's Roberto Bautista-Agut.

Nadal staved off the lone break point of the first set when serving at 3-4, 30-40, but Federer won the big points in the tiebreaker to give himself a crucial early lead in the contest.

The Spaniard then found himself in more trouble when he faced two break points while serving at 6-7 (3-7), 1-1, 15-40, but he managed to stave those off and then enjoyed his best stretch of the match by breaking the Swiss great's serve twice en route to capturing the second set.

The world No. 3, however, recharged his batteries with some energy bars and then turned the tables on Nadal with a break of serve in the fourth game of the third set to take a 3-1 lead.

That set proved to be the crucial turning point, as the Swiss saved all three of the break points he faced before taking a two-sets-to-one lead.

Federer's success with his second serve against one of tennis' premier returners was the key stat of the match, as he went six-of-seven on those points in the third set and then 10-of-12 in the fourth set.

For the match, the 20-time Grand Slam champion won a whopping 62 percent of his second-serve points, compared with Nadal's 48 percent winning percentage.

The tension ratcheted up at the end of the fourth set, with Nadal managing to save two match points when serving down 3-5 and then creating his lone break point of the set in the final game.

But Federer fought that off and finally finished off the contest on his fifth match point.

"I'm exhausted. It was tough at the end. Rafa played some unbelievable shots to stay in the match. I enjoyed it. The crowd were amazing. I had spells where I was serving very well and probably the biggest points in the match went my way. That first set was huge as well, to get the lead," the Swiss said afterward.

With the victory, Federer avenged his 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7 loss to Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final, a match widely considered to be the greatest of all time.

Federer had defeated the Spaniard in the Wimbledon championship match the previous two years.

Despite his outstanding form on Friday, Federer knows he will have his work cut out for him on Sunday against a rival who has a 2-0 record against him in Wimbledon finals (2014 and 2015).

"Novak played great against Bautista Agut. He's supreme again. He's not No. 1 just by chance. He's been so good for the last year. I'm very excited to say the least."

Federer won his only other match against Djokovic at Wimbledon, defeating the Serbian in four sets in the 2012 semifinals. EFE-EPA

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