Roger Federer tops Rafael Nadal in first Wimbledon meeting since 2008 final

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to meet in Wimbledon after 11 years

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to meet in Wimbledon after 11 years

Federer and Nadal will battle for a place in the final later Friday, 11 years after they mesmerised Centre Court in a Grand Slam championship match widely regarded as the greatest ever played.

Shintaro Mochizuki became the first Japanese player to reach a junior boys' Grand Slam singles final after outlasting fourth-seeded American Martin Damm 6-1, 0-6, 10-8.

Djokovic claimed the opening set in just 36 minutes, looking virtually untouchable.

Federer gained another break in the fourth then with Rafa serving 3-5, got two match points. I felt like I played good also throughout the four sets.

However, he added wistfully: "At the same time, today is sad because for me I know chances are not forever". - Djokovic on facing Federer in the final.

Federer and Djokovic, who beat Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-2 in Friday's first semi, will be clashing in the final for the third time on London's hallowed grass after the Serb prevailed in two riveting title deciders in 2014 and 2015. He's won a record eight singles titles at the All England club and captured his 100th career singles match on Tuesday in a quarterfinal win over Kei Nishikori that took four sets. A commanding display from Federer saw him tackle past Nadal and into his 12 Wimbledon final.

As entertaining Djokovic vs. Bautista Agut was - including a 45-stroke point won by Djokovic - it was merely a tasty appetizer ahead of the day's delectable main course.

"It's the final of Wimbledon". Being the aggressor, he eventually came out on top in the breaker which prevented Nadal from jumping out to a set lead which would have been a huge problem for the Swiss.

Novak Djokovic has reached the Wimbledon final for the sixth time. "I had enough support here over the years, so I don't complain", Djokovic said afterward.

Tickets were like gold dust for a pulsating contest that will live long in the memory, yet one young boy in the crowd was spotted reading a book rather than being transfixed on the action.

The Spaniard's form had led American great John McEnroe to declare: "You play against a guy like Nadal, he wants to tear your heart out". He won 15 of the previous 24. However, Federer continued on his hunt for his eighth Wimbledon title, which he won back in 2017.

Federer's fans inside Centre Court and massed on "Henman Hill" watching the drama on the giant screen, need not have anxious though as the second seed had plenty left in the tank.

Who else but Federer could strike a serve so well that Nadal's framed response would end up caught by someone seated in the Royal Box, as happened early in the second set? "You go through these kinds of emotional moments, especially in big matches like this, all the time". His groundstrokes, very poor in the second set, looked increasingly sharp; the following game, he saved three break points, the second after a 23-shot rally that ended with a forced backhand error from Nadal. That's when a 22-year-old Nadal defeated a 26-year-old Federer in a thrilling, five-set match widely considered one of the greatest ever played.

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