Djokovic v Federer - three Wimbledon meetings

Florence Fletcher
July 14, 2019

And then we do.

"It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well", he said after the win.

Henman agreed but was amazed at how many long rallies Federer did end up winning against Rafael Nadal througout the match. I think the moment you've played somebody probably more than 15 times, there's not that much more left out there. Federer willed a whipping forehand up the line to get back to even at 30-30, painted the center stripe with another service ace to move to 40-30, and rousted the crowd from their feet with a 122 miles per hour razor up the middle to make it 4-2. Nadal won that one 9-7 in a fifth set that ended after 9 p.m., as any trace of daylight disappeared, in what some consider the greatest tennis match in the sport's lengthy annals. "It's a good feeling, I must say". "But was late", Nadal said.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after the men's singles semifinal match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain at the 2019 Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Britain, on July 12, 2019.

"He is always able to do the most hard things easily", said the 33-year-old Nadal. Federer did get the better of Djokovic at Wimbledon on Centre Court once, beating the Serb in the semifinals in 2012. In their head-to-head record, he was 2-18 when dropping the opener. But Djokovic was relentless and tightened his grip, breaking twice for a 4-1 lead, and eventually claimed victory on a fifth match point.

Who else but Federer could strike a serve so well that Nadal's wild reply would be caught by someone in the Royal Box behind him, as happened early in the second set?

However, one of those had been a shattering defeat in the Roland Garros final to Stan Wawrinka just a few weeks earlier. Federer and Nadal were to play next on Centre Court. Likewise, only Djokovic has beaten Federer at every Grand Slam.

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While most of the attention has been focused on the match between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the world number one has looked imperious in his march towards the last four.

Djokovic, increasingly irritated by a restless crowd, broke for 4-2 in the third set and held for 5-2 off the back of a lung-busting 45-shot rally. Those might have made the difference today. "He plays with such velocity and spins and everything, you're not always sure you're going to connect the right way". Nadal, who fended off a challenge by the Swiss in his previous service game, held, saving two match points to force Federer to serve it out. Then he shanked an ugly overhead smash off the edge of his racquet frame, which gave Nadal a break point glimmer.

After a tight opening set went to a tie-breaker, which Federer edged, Nadal powered to a 6-1 win in the second set but couldn't keep his momentum going against the king of Wimbledon.

After a 14-minute final game, the longtime rivals embraced briefly at the net.

"I had my chances but he played a little bit better than me", said the third seed.

Once his volley victor found the net tape and trickled over to cap the third set - turnabout was fair play, in this instance, after the way the previous set ended - the outcome seemed inevitable. He'd dropped only one set entering the semifinal, in an acrimonious match with Nick Kyrgios.

"But he's got the defending champion and World No 1 in the final on Sunday".

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