Nadal sets up Federer semi-final showdown 11 years after last Wimbledon meeting
Rafael Nadal ended an 11-year wait for a fourth Wimbledon showdown with Roger Federer after brushing Sam Querrey aside in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Friday's semi-final meeting will be the first time Nadal has faced Federer at Wimbledon since winning their classic 2008 final, having lost the previous two finals to the Swiss.
More recently, Nadal was victorious in their French Open semi-final meeting last month, and after beating Querrey 7-5 6-2 6-2 the Spaniard will look to win their 40th match-up as he targets a first Wimbledon final since 2011.
The two-time champion last won Wimbledon in 2010, and the 33-year-old leads the head-to-head 25-14 against Federer, who played his part in ensuring another chapter would be added to their great rivalry when overcoming Kei Nishikori in four sets for his 100th win at the All England Club.
“It’s great. It's difficult to imagine being in that situation again, but here we are. I’m just excited to play Roger again here after such a long time,” Nadal told the BBC.
Querrey had sent down 100 aces heading into this match, but Nadal managed to tame the big-serving American in the third game to move a break up in the first set.
Nadal dug deep to save a break point and take a 5-3 lead before then squandering three set points on Querrey’s serve, and the Spaniard was then remarkably broken after missing another set point on his own serve.
Typically, Nadal responded in kind to serve for the set once more, and after saving three break points which would have forced a tie-break, he got over the line with what his fifth set point overall.
After all-but matching Nadal’s intensity in the first set, Querrey’s quality waned thereafter as he dropped serve in the third and seventh game.
Nadal swiftly sealed the second set and broke immediately in the third to edge ever closer to a seventh Wimbledon semi-final.
One more break put Nadal on the brink, and he made no mistake on serve to set up a Friday meeting with his oldest of rivals.
Earlier in the day, Federer fought from a set down to seal his 100th Wimbledon win 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4 and reach a 13th semi-final.
Having dropped just five games in his fourth-round win over Matteo Berrettinni, Federer knew he was in a match on Centre when Nishikori broke the Swiss to 15 in the opening game.
Federer continued to struggle on serve and was forced to save four more break points before missing an opportunity of his own in the sixth game, with Nishikori going on to seal the set as he chased a first Grand Slam semi-final away from the US Open.
It was Federer’s first dropped set since his opening-round win over Lloyd Harris, and to the delight of his army of fans out on Centre the 37-year-old responded in champion style against Nishikori.
Federer broke as he raced to a 3-0 lead, and did so once again to 15 as he swiftly levelled the match, needing just 23 minutes to do so.
Nishikori sought a comfort break to recompose himself, and after coming back out the 2014 US Open finalist valiantly held serve despite facing break point and being taken to four deuces.
Six games later, Nishikori’s resolve was broken, as though he saved three break points, an inch-perfect forehand ensured Federer edged ahead for the first time in the match.
Federer took the set after Nishikori missed the chance to break back, and the Swiss maintained control in the fourth set, breaking in the ninth game before serving it out to love after two-and-a-half hours on court.