ATP Wimbledon: Roger Federer downs Rafael Nadal to stay on title course

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ATP Wimbledon: Roger Federer downs Rafael Nadal to stay on title course

In the 40th clash of titans, the eight-time Roger Federer toppled Rafael Nadal 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes, beating the Spaniard for the 16th time and the seventh in the last eight encounters. Roger is through to his 12th Wimbledon final (no other player reached more than seven), 16 years after the first one in 2003 when he claimed the first Grand Slam title, delivering his old magic to grab the fourth triumph over Rafa at Majors.

Roger and Rafa had met for the fourth time at Wimbledon, the first since that epic clash in 2008 when Nadal prevailed in five sets to lift the title. This time it was all about Federer who threw everything he had on the rival to keep the points on his racquet and unfold the rallies in the way he wanted.

Defending his backhand nicely, Roger avoided slices and lengthy exchanges to hit in full throttle, taming his shots nicely and overpowering Nadal in sets three and four to book the place in the final against Novak Djokovic, the first since those two title clashes in 2014 and 2015.

Eager to go at least one step further than a year ago and advance into the first Wimbledon final since 2011, Rafa gave his best in sets one and two, dropping a tight opening set and having the upper hand in the second to level the overall score.

Roger gave the second set away, preparing for the third where he had the advantage and continuing in the same style in the fourth to cross the finish line and stay on the course for the ninth Wimbledon crown just a few weeks before turning 38.

Roger had 51 winners and 27 unforced errors, leaving Rafa on a 32-25 ratio and playing better on the return that gave him the crucial advantage. Both players converted two break points and Federer delivered those in the more important moments to celebrate the 101st victory at the All England Club.

In the opening set, Federer had the advantage in the mid-range exchanges, with only one break point in the entire set that Rafa saved in the eighth game, setting up a tie break where Roger rattled off five points in a row for a 7-3.

In set number two, they both saved break points in games two and three and it was all about Nadal after that, taking five straight games to leave Federer five behind and level the overall score. The Spaniard returned almost every Roger's serve and claimed 60% of the return points, scoring breaks in games four and six and gaining a massive momentum ahead of set number three.

Starting from the beginning, Federer was thundering again, hitting 15 winners and two unforced errors and breaking Rafa in game four to forge the advantage that he carried home with a hold at love in game nine to move closer to the finish line.

The Swiss broke again in the third game of the fourth set to gain the advantage, wasting match point on Nadal's serve in the ninth game and fending off a break chance in the thrilling next game to seal the deal and march into the final, seizing his fifth match point.