Rafael Nadal: 'Roger Federer was better than me, he was the winner'



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Rafael Nadal: 'Roger Federer was better than me, he was the winner'

In the 40th clash of tennis titans, the eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer toppled Rafael Nadal 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes in the Wimbledon 2019 semi-final. It was the 16th victory for the Swiss over the Spaniard and the seventh in the previous eight encounters since Basel 2015!

Thus, Roger advanced to his 12th Wimbledon final, 16 years after the first one in 2003, delivering his old magic to grab only the fourth triumph over Rafa at Majors. Roger and Rafa met for the fourth time at Wimbledon, the first since that epic 2008 clash when Nadal prevailed in five sets to lift the title.

This time, it was all about Federer, who threw everything he had at the rival to keep the points on his racquet and unfold the rallies in the way he wanted. Defending his backhand correctly, Roger avoided slices and lengthy exchanges to hit in full throttle, taming his shots nicely and overpowering Nadal in sets three and four to set the title clash against Novak Djokovic.

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 opener and having the upper hand in the second to level the overall score.

Still, Federer proved to be too strong in the third and fourth, beating his great rival and remaining on the title course. The Swiss had 51 winners and 27 unforced errors, leaving Rafa on a 32-25 ratio and playing better on the return, which gave him the crucial advantage.

Both players converted two break chances, and Federer delivered those in the more critical moments to celebrate the 101st All England Club victory. In the opening set, Federer had the advantage in the mid-range exchanges, with only one break chance in the entire set that Rafa saved at 3-4 to set up a tie break.

Roger won five straight points to win it 7-3, and they saved break points in the second set's second and third games. After that, Nadal took charge and claimed five straight games to seal the opener in style.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer met at Wimbledon 2019.

The Spaniard returned almost every Roger's serve and claimed 60% of the return points to score breaks in games four and six and gain 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 that pushed him closer to the finish line.

In the fourth set's third game, the Swiss broke again to forge the lead before wasting a match point on Nadal's serve in the ninth game. Giving his best to prolong the battle, Rafa created a break opportunity at 4-5, denied by Roger, who clinched the thrilling game to join Novak Djokovic in the final.

Speaking about the match, Rafa said it was nice to face Roger at Wimbledon again, praising the rival and his abilities for delivering aggressive and sharp tennis. "It was nice to play Roger Federer again at Wimbledon.

The rivalries over the years are valued differently; we both know what our matches have represented for the tennis world and what it means to face now. We talked before the tournament because we are together in the Players Council, and we are usually in contact, but before the game, it is not usual to talk too much.

I lacked pace that day; he played very aggressive and brave tennis, at a speed challenging to follow. I was not at the level of the previous matches either, but Roger was better than me; he was just the winner. Playing against Federer is always special, notably on a stage like this," Rafael Nadal said.