‘The bigger points went my way,’ admits Federer after Nadal win
An “exhausted” Roger Federer admitted winning the long rallies was crucial after he beat rival Rafael Nadal to reach the Wimbledon final.
Federer battled to a four-set victory in just over three hours on Friday, beating Nadal 7-6(3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 in their 40th meeting and first at Wimbledon since their epic 2008 final.
The match-up lived up to the billing, and after battling into his 12th Wimbledon final Federer admitted it was a “joy” to play against his long-standing rival.
"I'm exhausted. It was tough at the end. Rafa played some unbelievable shots to stay in the match. The match was played at a very high level,” Federer told BBC.
"The biggest points in the match went my way. There were tight ones and long rallies. That first set was huge to get the lead and try to protect it. He came back very strongly in the second set. It was a joy to play today."
Federer now faces Djokovic for the 48th time and the third time in a Wimbledon final.
Djokovic won their last Wimbledon encounter in 2015, and Federer knows he will have his work cut out against the top seed, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets earlier on Friday.
"He played great against Bautisa Agut. Novak was supreme. He is the defending champion and has showed why. He has been rock-solid.
"I hope I can push him to the brink and hopefully beat him but it's going to be very difficult. I'm very excited to say the least."
Meanwhile, Nadal congratulated Federer after his hopes of reaching a first Wimbledon final since 2011 were dashed.
"I had my chances but he played a little bit better than me," he said. "He played aggressive, he played a great match, well done.
"His return was better than mine this afternoon, I didn’t receive well today and when that happens he has the advantage and is in control of the match generally.
"I think my backhand wasn’t as good as in previous rounds. I was a bit worried about it and was not able to move with freedom with it."