Sad Nadal sees chances of third Wimbledon title slipping from his grasp

The Serb, who's also defending champion, won his semi-final against Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Federer will not mind with his win coming just a month after Nadal handed him his worst loss at a Slam in 11 years in the Roland Garros semi-finals. In the quarter-final, he was broken in the first game and then had to fight from a set down to beat eighth seed Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Nadal and Federer with their trophies following the Men's Final during the Wimbledon Championships 2008.

He cancelled his stag do so he could play in the Wimbledon semi-final - but he might be able to salvage some of it after all. Federer saved that break point, but Nadal erased two more match points with gutsy winners-a forehand down the line to end a tense 24-shot rally, and a flick-of-the-wrist, backhand crosscourt passing shot-before Federer forced a Nadal backhand error on his fifth match point, sealing a 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.

After being greeted to Centre Court by a standing ovation, both Federer and Nadal seemed to have an "anything you can do, I can do, too" vibe.

The 33-year-old Spaniard, who remains two off Federer's Grand Slam record title haul of 20, has two Wimbledon crowns to his name.

Nadal dug deep to hold, and in the tie-break that followed the Spaniard found the corner to win a remarkable opening point and go the mini-break up.

Federer's fans inside Centre Court and those massed on "Henman Hill" watching the drama unfold on the giant screen need not have anxious though as the second seed proved he had plenty left in the tank. After his sweep of Roberto Bautista Agusta, he is now advancing to his 25th Grand Slam final. "I had my chances".

However, it is eight-time champion Federer who just edges their Wimbledon head-to-head 2-1 after winning the 2006 and 2007 finals before Nadal famously broke the spell in 2008.

Nadal was denied the opportunity to win a third Wimbledon and 19th Grand Slam title, with Federer being handed the chance to win his 21st Major.

"From that standpoint I can go into that match very confident".

Roger Federer is within one set of reaching a record-extending 12th Wimbledon final.

The eight-time Wimbledon victor has been no less impressive than his rival but there's a suggestion he has not yet been as tested as the Spaniard. Federer serves with a point's lead in the set.

Even for the two players vying for the title of GOAT (Greatest of All Time) it was perhaps greedy to expect them to produce a blockbuster to compare with their previous duel at Wimbledon.

Nadal and Federer will meet each other after Bautista Agut's match in the second semi-final of the day.

"But I had enough support here over the years, so I don't complain".

In terms of anticipation, the Djokovic-Batista Agut semifinal felt like an undercard compared to the Federer-Nadal clash in store. Nadal is serving to stay in the match.

He found his own motivation in the third set and rolled to the victory, clearing the stage for the 40th edition of Federer vs. Nadal and only their fourth meeting at Wimbledon.

  • Julie Sanders