Friday, July 12, 2019

Federer tops Nadal, will face Djokovic for crown

Roger Federer, practicing at Indian Wells in March, continued to defy the aging
process with his four-set victory over Rafael Nadal in today's Wimbledon semi-
finals. Photo by Harjanto Sumali 
   The first thing Roger Federer said after his victory today was "I'm exhausted."
   So maybe the guy is mortal after all.
   Continuing to defy the aging process, Federer subdued Rafael Nadal 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 3 hours, 2 minutes in the Wimbledon semifinals.
   Federer, who will turn 38 on Aug. 8, converted his fifth match point in his first meeting with Nadal on grass since the Spaniard's 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7 victory in the 2008 Wimbledon final that some consider the greatest match ever.
   Inevitably, this one fell short of that standard, but it did feature some epic rallies, especially on two of the match points against Nadal, 33.
   "I'm exhausted," Federer, seeded second, told the BBC afterward. "It was tough at the end. Rafa played some unbelievable shots to stay in the match.
   "I thought the match was played at a very high level, and I enjoyed it. The crowd was amazing. The battles with Rafa are always very special, so it was nice."
   Nadal, who also won the 2010 Wimbledon title, has not reached the final at the All England Lawn Tennis Club since 2011.
  "I had my chances," Nadal, seeded third, told reporters. "He played little bit better than me, I think. Probably I didn't play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well. So he deserve it. Congrats to him."
   Federer, who made his Northern California debut last year in a San Jose exhibition, improved to 16-24 against Nadal with six victories in their last seven matches.
   Federer, who has won a record eight Wimbledon singles titles, will face another archrival, top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic, in Sunday's final (6 a.m. PDT on ESPN). Djokovic, a four-time Wimbledon champ, beat 23rd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
   Federer has won a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, and Djokovic, 32, ranks third with 15. After Sunday, the Big Three of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic will have won the past 11 majors. The last player other than them to prevail was Stan Wawrinka in the 2016 U.S. Open.
   Djokovic is 25-22 against Federer with three consecutive victories and eight wins in their last 10 matches. This will be their third Wimbledon final. Djokovic won 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4 in 3 hours, 56 minutes in 2014 and 7-6 (1), 6-7 (10), 6-4, 6-3 in 2 hours, 56 minutes in 2015.
   In today's women's doubles semifinals, third-seeded Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic beat top-seeded Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France 7-6 (5), 6-4.
   Hsieh and Strycova will play fourth-seeded Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Yifan Xu of China. Dabrowski and Xu topped second seeds and defending champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.