Roger Federer downs Rafael Nadal to set up Djokovic Wimbledon title duel

After all it had taken 11 years for the rematch of the greatest match ever played: the 2008 Wimbledon final, when Nadal had dethroned then five-time champion Federer in a titanic five-set tussle that ended in near darkness.

Novak Djokovic won through to his sixth Wimbledon final and will chase a fifth title on Sunday after grinding out victory against Roberto Bautista Agut.

Federer has played both at the same Grand Slam tournament only once, at the 2011 French Open: He beat Djokovic in the semifinals, but lost to Nadal in the final.

The Swiss second seed beat long-time rival Rafael Nadal to set up a final against another old foe Novak Djokovic tomorrow (2pm).

The 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-2 success for Serbian top seed Djokovic was not always pretty, and his frustration boiled over several times.

"Yeah, it's definitely a bit unusual, a bit odd", said Federer who will be the third oldest man to play in a Slam final tomorrow.

Bautista Agut flashed a brilliant return past Djokovic from the first serve of the match but he barely threatened for the rest of the set as his high-risk approach produced too many errors and a provided a straightforward set win for the favourite.

"It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially [as we] haven't played in so long", Federer said. 'I've done enough in my career so I can, you know, stop tennis, professional tennis, at any time. They went hammer-and-tong in a 21-shot rally, advantage Nadal, but then Federer slammed the door shut as each held serve en route to the tiebreak. "It's the semi-finals and Roberto was not overwhelmed - he's a very under-rated player", Djokovic, 32, said. There was certainly a drop-off in intensity towards the latter half of the second set from Federer, possibly an effort to conserve energy once Nadal clinched the double-break and effectively end the set.

"I am sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity", Nadal said.

There is history at stake whenever members of the Big Three find themselves in a Grand Slam final, which happens with remarkable frequency.

With the victory, Djokovic has reached his 25th Grand Slam final. He will face Serbian Novak Djokovic in the final.

In a press conference after the match, Federer admitted he was "exhausted".

Like two boxers sizing up their opponent, the pair tip-toed around in what was ultimately a cagey first set, with only one break point coming and going for Federer before it headed to a tie-break.

Back in 2008, both Federer and Nadal were undoubtedly in the prime of their respective careers, so to expect the encore from the veterans to be anything close would be a mistake, or so we thought. I think it's going to be tough.

'I don't see this as my job or as my work, ' he said.

"We spoke about that one thousand times", said Nadal. Though the Swiss was able to manoeuvre out of that, he saw two more match points come and go as Nadal upped the ante. "They probably would have only been to play one more game, maximum, then it would have been called off and we'd have had a Monday final". Federer has rolled through Wimbledon 2019, winning all five of his matches in four sets or fewer.

  • Julie Sanders