Next up: Djokovic vs Federer for the Wimbledon final on Sunday. It will be the first time they will meet in a Grand Slam final since the 2015 US Open and their first meeting at Wimbledon since the final also four years ago, which Djokovic won in four sets.
After the match, Federer said: “I’m exhausted. It was tough at the end. Rafa played some unbelievable shots to stay in the match. I enjoyed it. The crowd were amazing. I had spells where I was serving very well and probably the biggest points in the match went my way. That first set was huge as well, to get the lead.
“Novak played great against Bautista Agut. He’s supreme again. He’s not No 1 just by chance. He’s been so good for the last year. I’m very excited to say the least.”
Fourth set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 Nadal - FEDERER IS THROUGH TO THE FINAL!:
This is how the final game unfolded.... Federer starts off with an ace (very close one!) and the Federer nets a slice. 15-15. This is not over by any means. Federer then with a few powerful forehands to force an error from Nadal. Up 30-15. Federer then sends a forehand long, and challenges for the heck of it once again. (All challenges used up). 30-30. Nadal is a tiger waiting to pounce at the moment. AND THEN FEDERER SENDS AN OVERHEAD SMASH LONG! Wow. Break point Nadal! And would you believe it, Nadal nets a backhand after a long rally. Unlike him! Deuce. What tension! What drama. A delightful backhand volley winner from Federer for his 3rd match point! AND NADAL WINS A 24-SHOT RALLY WITH A SUPERB FOREHAND! Back to deuce. Federer has his 4th match point... with an ace. Nadal is out of challenges too. AND NADAL SAVES ANOTHER MATCH POINT WITH A BACKHAND CROSSCOURT PASS! Madness. Deuce again. Federe brings up a big serve, and finishes with a forehand winner. MIRKA CANNOT WATCH, ROGER HAS 5TH MATCH POINT! AND NADAL SENDS A BACKHAND LONG... FEDERER HAS WON THIS MATCH! WHAT A MATCH.WHAT CHAMPIONS!
12.04 am: Federer serving for the match! How much is that service hold going to help Nadal? If he can carry the momentum into this game and break Federer back, it will be a massive turning point!
Fourth set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 5-4 Nadal - the Spaniard saves two match points!: Rafa with a ridiculous backhand flick from the baseline that forces an error from Federer. He goes up 40-15 and then volleys into the net (while attempting a S&V!). 40-30, misses his first serve. Will RF look to pounce? He hits an inch-perfect forehand winner and forces deuce! Wow. Two points away from a place in the final. Federer challenges a call when Nadal hits a backhand into the net!!! Had he not challenged, that was match-point Federer! What drama. Then Federer puts together two great rallies... and has match point! Nadal saves that with a big serve and then hits an ace to have a game point. Federer forces deuce with a backhand winner. More drama! Nadal nets a forehand. Federer has match point No. 2. Nadal comes up with a big serve again to force deuce. This is a pivotal game, one feels. Nadal is pumped up as he hits a stunning drop volley to have another game point! Finishes off with an ace.
Fourth set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 5-3 Nadal: Rafa with an error on the first point. Federer serves and volleys in the second point and hits a delicious drop-dead backhand to go 30-0 up. Holds the game fairly comfortably to go within one game of a place in the final!
Here’s that unreal winner from Federer in the previous game.
Fourth set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, *4-3 Nadal: At 30-15, Nadal is looking for an easy hold and Federer comes up with a ridiculous backhand half-volley crosscourt on the approach! How did that stay in! Nadal comes up with a big serve then to make it 40-30. Federer sends a second serve return long as the Spaniard holds serve. The Spaniard is fighting like only he can!
Fourth set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 4-2 Nadal: A superb backhand winner by Rafa is followed by a 26-shot rally that ends with Federer netting a backhand. Chance for Nadal at 15-30! And the Spaniard is livid at missing a second serve chance. 30-30 and then Nadal hits a backhand long. More frustration for Nadal. Federer finishes off with a good serve and holds! Big relief for his box.
Fourth set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 3*-2 Nadal: A crucial service game for the Spaniard and he goes up 40-0. A double fault from Nadal at 40-0 but he then wraps up the game with a booming inside-out forehand.
Fourth set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 3-1 Nadal: A couple of unforced errors from Rafa gives Federer a 30-0 lead and some breathing space. Another error makes it 40-0. Federer sends down a ace to consolidate the break of serve.
Fourth set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 2-1 Nadal: Federer is forcing the pace at the moment and once again has a look on the Nadal’s serve at 0-30... when a massive net chord for the Spaniard makes it 15-30 instead of 0-40!!! What a moment this could be... Nadal has his arms up in the air as an apology. Federer then pounces on a short return, Federer runs around it and smashes a winner for a couple of break points!! Second serve from Nadal... and it’s a good return, but Nadal smashes a backhand winner. CLUTCH! Saves one break point. Nadal then sends a forehand long.... and FEDERER HAS A BREAK OF SERVE!
Fourth set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 1-1 Nadal: Good serve (and a serve and volley) sees Federer go 30-0 up. The Swiss then almost messes up a overhead that Nadal returns with interest but Federer just about gets his racquet to it to make it 40-15. Wraps up the game at 30. Very high quality tennis at the moment.
Fourth set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 0-1 Nadal: Federer misses an opportunity on Nadal’s 2nd serve after the double fault. It’s 15-15. Federer then has a look at 15-30 but Nadal responds with a booming forehand to make it 30-30. A kicking second serve from Nadal makes it 40-30. Another tremendous forehand by Rafa helps him wrap up the game. Crucial hold. He is pumping himself up.
Numbers from the third set.
Big service coming up for Rafa... and he starts with a double fault in the fourth.
11.18 pm: Not quite a big drop off by Nadal as it was by Federer earlier but the Swiss found an extra gear, by hitting the first serve more often and winning the longer rallies. Quite the turnaround by Roger Federer but you feel there is more to come in this match....
Third set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3 Nadal - RF MOVES AHEAD!: Federer gives himself breathing space with two big serves and goes up 30-0. That is followed by another rally that the Swiss takes... this time with a forehand pass down the line. Nadal then nets a forehand and Federer holds to love to take the third set! The Swiss great is back in front... this match is a proper roller-coaster, folks!
Federer now serving for the set. Will he regret those missed break points in this set?
Third set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 5-3 Nadal: And another game starts with Rafa’s serve under pressure, going down 0-30. Boris Becker on commentary wonders how on earth Federer has won the longer rallies against Nadal in the last 20 minutes or so... we don’t know either! Nadal meanwhile fights back with three big serves to go up 40-30. A forehand error from the Swiss means Nadal holds.
Third set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 5-2 Nadal: Two forehand winners, an ace puts Federer 40-0 up. And he finishes the game off at 15 with a backhand volley. Easy hold for Federer and Nadal now has to serve to stay in the third set!
Third set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 4-2 Nadal : The Spaniard’s level hasn’t dropped as much Federer’s did in the second set but still the Swiss is dominating proceedings now... has another look on Nadal’s serve at 0-30 after a lob-volley combo for a winner. Nadal sends a forehand long to make it 15-40. But the Spaniard plays two big points and pumps himself up after saving two break points. Federer nets a backhand to hand ADV to Nadal, who wraps the game up with a big serve. (Breadstick against Nadal, think again Roger!)
The previous game, by the way, had a 25-shot rally too... the longest of the match.
11.01 pm: A big fist pump after that service hold by Federer. Massive moment in the set (and maybe in the match).
Third set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 4-1 Nadal - RF holds just about!: With a forehand winner and a backhand pass that Federer nets, Nadal has a sighter again on the Swiss’ serve at 0-30. The Spaniard sends a return long and it is 15-30. And then Federer hits his first double fault of the match! Two more break points for Rafa! Federer saves one with a serve-and-smash routine. A stupendous rally follows (22 shots) with Nadal imparting top spin, Federer responding with slices.... and the Swiss saves the second break point. Nadal has his thread after a top backhand return. More pressure on Federer, who saves the third BP of the game too. Another big rally follows which Federer wins and then holds serve! WHAT. A. GAME!
Third set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 3-1 Nadal - RF BREAKS!: A stunning backhand winner from Federer (down the line, from outside the tramlines to back in) gives Federer a chance at 30-30 on Nadal’s serve. And then Federer hits a superb crosscourt forehand winner to have a break point. But that doesn’t ,eam anything with Federer does it? OR IT DOES! One of the points of the match from the two gentlemen and it finishes with Federer just about winning the next exchange with a backhand volley... and FINALLY converts a break point!
10.49 pm: Two straight holds to love for Federer, but the real task will be digging in Nadal’s serve. He is yet to be broken in this match:
Third set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 2-1 Nadal: A love-hold for Federer sealed with an ace.
The only interesting thing about the second set, from a Federer POV, was this reappearance of SABR - sneak attack by Roger! (Narrator’s voice: It wasn’t. Federer missed it)
Third set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 1-1 Nadal: Then Nadal comes up with a solid hold of his own, dropping just a point.
Third set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6, 1-0 Nadal: A much-needed easy hold for Federet to start the third set. Doesn’t drop a point on serve. His level completely dropped off in the end of that second set, can he step up here? Else Nadal is going to run away with this match, you’d think.
Second set stats:
Second set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-6 Nadal: Rafa takes the second set in a canter. The first few games were hard-fought but then Federer’s level suddenly dropped. 11 unforced errors from Roger to just 2 from Rafa. Can the Swiss master find his game again?
Second set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-5 Nadal: Federer’s level has really dropped here. A double break for Nadal after Federer shanks yet another forehand. The unforced errors are piling up in the second set for Federer while Nadal has committed just 2 of them.
Second set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-4 Nadal: 10 points in a row for Nadal before he sent a backhand wide. Then, Federer hit a volley into the net before a shanked forehand gave the Spaniard the game. The break has been consolidated. The match is now being pulled in Nadal’s direction very quickly and that is always a dangerous sign for Federer fans. The level can’t drop one bit and the Swiss clearly has gone off the boil a bit.
Second set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-3 Nadal: Three breakpoints in a row. All errors from Federer. A loss in concentration and it has hit the Swiss hard. Nadal breaks to love. The pressure was being ratcheted up in this set but this was a sloppy game from Federer and you can’t do that against Nadal. You can’t do it and get away with it.
Second set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-2 Nadal: With a booming return followed by a delicate drop, Federer has a look in on Nadal’s serve at 15-30. After some stunning court coverage, Nadal hits a forehand half-volley wide! Two break points for Federer now.... Nadal saves one. And then another, as Federer nets a backhand return. Poor from the Swiss on that second chance! Nets another backhand as Nadal then produces a good serve. The Spaniard fights back from two break points down to hold impressively. Phew. Manic start to this set.
Second set, Federer 7-6(3), 1-1 Nadal: Rafa, had he connected that whipped forehand down the line, had a chance to go 0-30. But it’s 15-15 and then Federer with a cricket-type shot to save a point, with Nadal sending the forehand wide again. Nadal’s backhand puts RF under pressure, it’s 30-30. And a FANTASTIC POINT BY NADAL gives him a break point. Tremendous defence-to-attack from the Spaniard! But RF saves the break point with an overhead smash to take it to deuce. But more outstanding baseline rallying from Nadal gives him a 2nd BP. The Swiss serves and volleys to get out of trouble (barely). Deuce again. Advantage RF, after a one-two punch on serve. Back to deuce as Federer continues to miss his first serve...but when he nails it, it’s his biggest weapon. A massive hold for Federer! He slowly goes to his chair for a change of racquet... a breather more than anything.
Second set, Federer 7-6(3), 0-1 Nadal: Good signs for the Federer camp says the commentator as the Swiss steps into a backhand and nails a winner. 15-15. At 40-15 it looks like an easy hold for Nadal but then he hits a forehand wide. But Federer shanks a forehand as Nadal holds serve fairly easily.
10.06 pm: Nadal has taken a break while Federer is already ready to return... our editor Ashish Magotra chips in, “In 31 of the previous 39 matches, the one who won the first set has gone on to win the match. Big for Federer.”
First set stats, very little to choose from overall with Federer just shading the service numbers:
First set, Federer 7-6 (3) Nadal - FIRST BLOOD TO RF: Roger Federer wins five straight points in the tie-break to take the first tiebreak and punches his fist in the air!
First set tie-break, Federer 6-3 Nadal: Federer with some aggressive net-play gets the mini-break back as Nadal sends a lob long. Second time that the Swiss has had to fight back in the tiebreak already. And then Federer has a mini-break with a booming forehand! 4-3 up, then 5-3 as he just about wins a point at the net. Nadal nets a return from a wide first serve and Federer has his first set points! Four straight points!
First set tie-break, Federer 2-3 Nadal - mini break with Nadal: WOW, what a backhand winner at the net from Nadal to start the tiebreak! Federer must have thought he had nailed a drop volley but Nadal, the fighter that he is, finds a winner. Mini-break to the Spaniard but he nets a backhand to let go of that advantage. 1-1. Then 2-2. Oh dear, Federer then nets his backhand to hand the mini-break back to Nadal.
First set, Federer 6-6 Nadal - Tiebreak time! What did we say at 3-3? Yes indeed, it’s a tiebreaker. (But it was not straightforward!) Nadal goes 40-0 up in no time... Federer then pounces on a short forehand from Nadal to hit a rare winner for either player on the other’s serve. Federer then hits a good return off the second serve, a backhand down the line to force an error. 40-30. Well, and another forehand winner on the approach from Federer and we have deuce. Aggression from Federer but it badly backfires on his forehand. Advantage Nadal. And Federer sends a backhand long.
First set, Federer 6-5 Nadal: Another love-hold for Roger Federer! His serving has been just a couple of notches better than Nadal as he continues to steamroll through his service games. Nadal to serve to force a tiebreak.
There is a boy reading a book at Centre Court instead of watching the match?!
First set, Federer 5-5 Nadal: Serving to stay in the set, Nadal starts with a good serve to go 15-0 up. And then misses a wide second serve for the first double fault of the match. Hmm, interesting. Or not, as Nadal comes up with two big first serves to go 40-15 up. And then a big second serve to wrap up the game. Federer continues to challenge for the heck of it! That’s not why/how you review, Roger.
First set, Federer 5-4 Nadal: Now, Nadal has a brief look-in at 15-15 but RF responds with an ace. And then Federer sends a forehand long... and it’s 30-30. Pressure on Federer? He responds with an ace down the middle. And then another! Typical Federer, coming up with the big serves under pressure.
First set, Federer 4-4 Nadal - RF fails to convert a BP: Federer has a shot at taking a point first up from Nadal after a good return of serve but after a net-chord aided shot by Nadal, Federer sends his forehand wide. Federer then makes the most of a scond serve to make it 15-15. And then he has a sighter at 15-30 as he puts pressure on Nadal’s backhand with the approach. Nadal’s serve under pressure now for the first time, Federer steps in to return the second serve but Nadal recovers well to make it 30-30. And break point RF as Nadal hits a backhand long (after missing the first serve again). Crowd get anxious. Federer fans get anxious (well of course). And after a superb rally (21 shots), Federer nets a backhand. It ever was thus as Nadal closes the game with that brutal forehand of his!
First set, Federer 4-3 Nadal: HUZZAH, WE HAD A COUPLE OF RALLIES IN THAT GAME! But yeah, it is a love-hold for Federer. Something’s gotta give here, surely? No? Just brilliant serving from both so far.
First set, Federer 3-3 Nadal: Holy wow, these are two are serving up a masterclass in... serving. A hold to love yet again by Nadal. Federer’s returns not quite on the money so far.
First set, Federer 3-2 Nadal: Maybe we should have a tiebreaker at 3-3? Because that’s where this headed is right now if these two continue serving this well! Just one point dropped by Federer on serve this time, finishes up with a booming serve down the T, that Rafa returns long. The one point that Nadal did win though, showed how much damage he can do with that backhand crosscourt. We might see more of that from here on.
First set, Federer 2-2 Nadal: Another solid service hold for Rafa, with both players having given up just two points on their serve.
First set, Federer 2-1 Nadal: Smart serve and volley to start the 3rd game by RF. A couple of errors from Rafa is followed by an ace from Federer and it’s another love-hold. Both champions starting off strongly on their serve.
First set, Federer 1-1 Nadal: Federer misses a return on Rafa’s second serve and then nets a forehand on the first serve. Rafa then serves up an ace down the T like a boss to go 40-0 up. Federer nets another backhand as Nadal holds to love. Easy holds for both players to start off.
First set, Federer 1-0 Nadal: Federer starts with a couple of aces, sandwiched by a forehand error (forced by the power of Nadal’s backhand). The Swiss then sends a backhand wide to make it 40-30 but holds on to his serve after a forehand error from Nadal. Fairly easy hold for Federer.
9.10 pm: Here we go... Federer to serve!
9.09 pm: If you are not pumped up yet (who are we kidding!), here’s a look back at the three finals at Wimbledon between the two greats.
9.08 pm: Some numbers from the current tournament for the two champions...
9.02 pm: The customary toss is done... Federer opts to serve first.
Our excitement is increasing with every passing second. This is such a great moment! You never know if you’d see these two greats meet again at SW19. Soak it all in folks.
9.01 pm: The road to semifinals....
Rafael Nadal (ESP x3) v Roger Federer (SUI x2)
1st rd: bt Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 6-3, 6-1, 6-3
2nd rd: bt Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/3)
3rd rd: bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
4th rd: bt Joao Sousa (POR) 6-2, 6-2, 6-2
QF: bt Sam Querrey (USA) 7-5, 6-2, 6-2
1st rd: bt Lloyd Harris (RSA) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
2nd rd: bt Jay Clarke (GBR) 6-1, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2
3rd rd: bt Lucas Pouille (FRA x27) 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4)
4th rd: bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA x17) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
QF: bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x8) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
8.58 pm: [From our archive] As Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal meet today at the Wimbledon after 11 long years, here’s a look back at the 2008 epic and how it stands the test of time. Read here.
8.50 pm: In a few minutes from now.... Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal will walk out on the Centre Court of Wimbledon after 11 long years! Zenia D’Cunha previews that highly-anticipated match here.
Novak Djokovic after reaching his 6th Wimbledon final: To be in another final is a dream come true. Will definitely try to enjoy that. I had to dig deep, of course. Roberto was not really overwhelmed playing his first major semis, he played really well. It was a very close opening 4-5 games of third set, could have gone either way there. [On Federer v Nadal] Of course, I will watch it! Coaches will see the whole match, I will watch parts of it. I am a fan of that match up as well.
Djokovic through to his 25th Grand Slam final....
Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 Bautista Agut: The world No 1 is through to the final!
A long game to end the match.... Error from RBA, ace from Djoker makes it 30-0 in that game before a good winner from RBA at the net. Delaying the inevitable as Djoker has two match points with another winner at the net. A searing backhand from RBA has Djoker diving at the net but his Becker-esque attempt is in vain. Still match point. RBA is then convinced he has hit a winner even as the line judge signals out and reviews it correctly! Deuce, then. Djoker has his third match point... and he hits a backhand wide. Deuce again! “Slightly bizarre end to this semi-final, if indeed this is the end,” says the commentator. Djoker then has his 4th match point...and we have another deuce! What do we have here? Djoker sends a forehand wide. And then a 2nd serve ace from the No 1 seed, channeling his inner Sampras! And converts his 5th match point! Lets out a roar! He’s back in the final.
Djokovic will serve for a place in the final for the 2nd straight time...
Fourth set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 5-2 Bautista Agut: Too little too late from RBA, as he comes up with a good service game (holding at love) to force Djokovic to serve for the match. Under the circumstances the best the Spaniard could do.
Fourth set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 5-1 Bautista Agut: The belief is visibly gone from RBA’s game, unfortunately. He must be thinking of Ibiza already and you can’t blame him, really. Djokovic has turned Machine ode on. Everything is falling in for the Serb at the moment as he holds serve at love.
Fourth set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 4-1 Bautista Agut: Another untimely double fault for RBA to make it 30-30 on his service game. And yet again RBA tries to be too cute with a drop shot at an inopportune time! Oh dear, that’s lazy from the Spaniard. Break point for Djokovic yet again and as RBA nets the backhand, the No 1 seed is now two breaks up!
Fourth set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 3-1 Bautista Agut; There he is, the No 1 playing like the No 1. Three solid serves to go up 40-0 and then a 1-2 punch to close out the game. Djokovic is on the charge once again. All the pressure on RBA.
Fourth set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 2*-1 Bautista Agut - Novak breaks!: Two lovely little rallies to start that service game by RBA. A volley winner by Djokovic followed by a smash from RBA. And then, Djoker is wrong-footed and slips down with RBA hitting a forehand winner. Crowd cheers as he gets up and carries on. Hits a smash to take it to 30-30. RBA’s serve under pressure again as he sends a volley long (thanks to the power on the backhand from Djoker). Break point Djoker and this time the No 1 seed converts it! It was only a matter of time that Djokovic found his best level again...
Fourth set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 1-1 Bautista Agut: A nervy service game from Djokovic to follow up that marathon opening game. But RBA cannot convert a few half chances after 30-30... the No 1 holds his serve, much easier than RBA did earlier.
Fourth set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 0-1 Bautista Agut - RBA hangs on! Djokovic has RBA under the pump early on. A double fault makes it 30-30 and RBA misses the first serve.... and then Djokovic, the best returner in the world arguably, sends a backhand long. And lets out a massive cry of anguish! The No 1 takes the game to decue with a pin-point winner.
And then RBA tries to be too cute with a drop shot after a long rally (22 shots). Break point for Djoker! Saved by RBA with some good serve-and-approach play. Djoker has his 2nd break point with more good net play. A backhand return sails long and it’s the 3rd deuce. We have the 4th deuce then as RBA fails to close out the game with a forehand error. Third break point for Djoker then as RBA hits a half-volley wide. We go to 5th deuce as RBA hits a smash winner. Has another chance to close the game out, pumps himself up and finishes it off with a stunning serve-and-volley!! What. A. Game! What. A. Hold! Good stuff from both players.
A look at the third set stats...
7.50 pm: A crucial service game coming up for RBA to stay alive and fighting in this match..
Third set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 Bautista Agut - Djokovic back ahead!: Two cheap points for Djoker to start that game and RBA’s turn to be frustrated. Comes up with a solid serve and it’s three set points for the No 1 seed! Brief hiccup as he double faults (for the second time) but just as the second set ended with a lucky net chord for RBA, the third ends with one in favour of Djokovic! The symmetry there is rather beautiful. The No 1 is back in front!
Third set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 5*-3 Bautista Agut: For his part, RBA does what he can do at this point and coasts to an easy hold. Djokovic will now serve to go 2-1 up.
RBA serving to serve in the 3rd set...
Third set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 5-2 Bautista Agut: the No 1 is on the charge! A lovely return from RBA followed by a clever backhand crosscourt with Djokovic approaching the net, gives the underdog a sighter at a break back. It’s more than a sighter then as Djokovic sends a backhand long. Two break points RBA! And he misses one cheaply by netting a straightforward forehand. A 45-SHOT RALLY FOLLOWS! WITH DJOKER HITTING A BACKHAND DOWN THE LINE WINNER! He cups his hands to his ears to goad the crowd on! Both break points saved. The No 1 is turning it on. Lets out a massive roar he holds serve with two good serves!
Third set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 4-2 Bautista Agut — DJOKER BREAKS!: Djokovic holds his racquet up as the crowd cheers after a delightful rally. RBA had the No 1 seed scampering around but after an exchange at the net, his lob his not quite deep. Djokovic gets back and hits a forehand pass! RBA reviews that out of desperation. And after another tough rally that ends with a smash, Djokovic has the break point! Is this a turning point? Sure could be, as he finishes off another lengthy rally with a smash at the net. Lets out a roar! That game turned quickly from 30-15 for RBA.
Third set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 3-2 Bautista Agut: Djokovic escapes! A rare mistake at the net by Djokovic as he plays a casual volley that RBA returns with interest with the No 1 almost ducking underneath it. Another overhead smash at the net for Djoker puts him up 40-15. Djoker then misses a forehand, shockingly hitting it close to the base of the net. RBA takes the game to deuce with a good forehand of his own. But with a couple of good serves, the No 1 seed holds his serve.
Third set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 2-2 Bautista Agut: All’s not well for Djokovic clearly. He’s been visibly frustrated in the past few games, mumbling to his box, making gestures with his racket. But we all know the Serb finds a way usually from such situations. RBA eases to another hold with an ace.
Third set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 2-1 Bautista Agut: After a good start to the game, Djokoivc hits the first double fault of the match. And once again, under pressure, comes up to the net to force a backhand error from RBA to go up 40-15. And then, for the second time in the set already, applauds RBA for a stunning winner! Backhand down the line. The No 1 wraps up the game, though, with an ace.
Third set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 1-1 Bautista Agut: Djokovic has a chance to put pressure on RBA after a bruising back-hand rally (slice after slice, backhand after backhand till the crowd starting murmuring!) and ends with a Djokovic smash for 15-30. That’s followed by two delightful forehand winners from RBA as he goes up 40-30. A rare fist pump from the Spaniard. Djokovic is livid with himself after a backhand return goes long. One set all, one game all in the third.
Third set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 Bautista Agut: Good, solid service game for the No. 1 seed despite RBA winning the first point with a lovely cross-court at the net.
7.10 pm: Second set stats... the only real advantage Djokovic had was at the net.
7.06 pm: We have a game on our hands, folks! Djokovic with a cheeky “go on!” gesture to the crowd as they cheer on RBA’s 2nd set win. Ever the pantomime villain in his head!
Second set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-6 Bautista Agut — RBA fights back:- Serving for the set, RBA starts off well. A smash at the net to go 15-0 up. Djokovic once again puts pressure on RBA with his approach to the net, and the Spaniard nets a backhand. A slice-heavy rally ends with Djokovic’s 8th backhand unforced error. Net-play to No 1’s rescue again as he hits a volley winner to make it 30-30. Nerves for RBA? Good serve to earn his first set point... and an almighty lucky net chord gives Bautista Agut the 2nd set!!!
Second set, Djokovic 6-2, 4-*5 Bautista Agut: A winner at the net, a good 1-2 punch with the serve gives Djokovic a 40-0 lead. And then a couple of errors from the No 1 (so many of them this set!) brings RBA back to the game but Djokovic is saved again by the approach to the net. Stays alive in the set.
Djokovic serving to stay in the 2nd set.
Second set, Djokovic 6-2, 3-5 Bautista Agut: “The forehand is just not happening at the moment,” says McEnroe as Djokovic sends one well over the baseline to start the 8th game of the set and then nets one, followed by another return that sails long! A game with a slew of errors from Djokovic and RBA has another easy hold.
Second set, Djokovic 6-2, 3-*4 Bautista Agut: Djokovic is trying to up the ante again and be the aggressor with the set slipping away. He has come up to the net with good effect so far, it must be said. 71% success rate from his 17 approaches to the net as of this game. Just when you thought, he was going to hold this game at 40-15, RBA wins a couple of baseline rallies to take it to deuce! Djokovic opts for a change in racquet. Goes to deuce a couple of times, but Djokovic holds on.
Second set, Djokovic 6-2, 2-4 Bautista Agut: A superb back-and-forth rally with both players running to the net and back, that RBA ends with a smash to go up 30-0 on his serve. An unreturned serve hands the Spaniard three game points. And a backhand error from Djokovic makes it a hold at love for RBA. His serve has been considerably better in the 2nd.
Second set, Djokovic 6-2, 2-*3 Bautista Agut: RBA’s forehand is picking up steam, reckons McEnroe as he gets lucky with a net chord as well to be 0-15. And with him losing balance, Djokovic rather tamely hits a forehand into the net. The No 1 has seen his level drop surely. (Haven’t we all seen this before?!) And RBA has two more break points when Djokovic sends another forehand long! (Forced error, it must be said as the RBA forehand was too hot to handle.) Djokovic saves both break points though, the 2nd with an ace. Longest rally of the match at deuce (23 shots) and it’s a bruising one that ends with a backhand error from RBA! The No 1 avoids going two breaks down with a solid serve.
A change of gear for RBA as the lady who is unwell has been escorted out of the court, says the commentator. Back again, with Djokvoic serving 1-3 down.
A brief delay in play as there is a fan who needs some steward attention apparently... both players are back in their chairs. Not the ideal scenario for RBA, as he was starting to get on a roll.
Second set, Djokovic 6-2, 1-3 Bautista Agut: A couple of errors from Djokovic and a superb forehand winner from RBA makes it 40-0 on the Spaniard’s service game as he tries to consolidate the break of serve. And after a brief hiccup with a forehand error, RBA hits an ace to wrap the game up with just one point dropped. Good response after the break of service.
Can RBA consolidate the break of serve?
Second set, Djokovic 6-2, 1-2 Bautista Agut - RBA breaks! Well, well. Another window of opportunity for RBA at 0-30 as he hits a lovely crosscourt forehand pass. And then Djokovic’s string is broken after serve and he misjudges the return to give RBA two break points. And the Spaniard takes it! A superb forehand winner and he breaks Djokovic’s serve for the first time in this match!
Second set, Djokovic 6-2, 1-1 Bautista Agut: Well, for his part, RBA holds serve at love as well. That’s got to feel good. His serve was under constant pressure from Djokovic in the first set. That’s got to relax the Spaniard a bit.
Second set, Djokovic 6-2, 1-0 Bautista Agut: Too easy for Djokovic... he wrapped up the first game of the second set on his serve before we could update the stats from the first set. Holds his serve to love. And is looking in rampant mood.
First set stats, it’s all Djokovic:
First set, Djokovic 6-2 RBA — first blood, Djoker: More pressure on the RBA serve as drops the first point... and at 30-15, if he thought he was going to hold this game without much trouble he is wrong. A casual drop shot is pounced on by Djokovic and he makes it 30-30 with a delightful backhand down the line. Forces a couple of errors from RBA with relentless defence and it’s FIRST SET TO DJOKOVIC! Two breaks of serve and easily done. Very, very impressive from the No. 1 seed.
First set, Djokovic 5-2 RBA: Solid serving and return errors from RBA makes this is a easy game for the top seed. Finishes off a love-hold with an ace (his 2nd of the game), and moves himself one game away from taking the first set.
First set, Djokovic 4-2 RBA: RBA starts well to go up 30-0, the second point in that game seeing the Serb play some solid defence before RBA hit an encouraging forehand winner. But Djokovic is the aggressor again as he returns superbly to control the next two rallies and make it 30-30. An ace from RBA gives him a game point... and that is followed by the rally of the match so far. “How do you get the ball past this guy,” asks John McEnroe on air as Djokovic converts defence to offence in no time with a drop shot and follows that up with a volley winner. Deuce again... but RBA holds his nerve to win the next two points to stay in the set.
First set, Djokovic 4-1 RBA: Once again RBA has a window on Djoker’s serve at 15-30. The Spaniard was dominating the next rally too and there is a glimmer of hope with the No 1 on the run. “Extinguished that glimmer,” says the commentator as Djokovic smashes a forehand crosscourt winner and the window is shut in no time! That’s what a No 1 does. That’s what Djokovic does. There was a scare for Djokovic in the game as he slipped at the net and his left ankle seemed to jar, but he got up quickly and continued.
First set, Djokovic 3-1 RBA: The players trade errors to start the fourth game. Djokovic makes it 30-30 with a powerful forehand winner but an error gives RBA a game point. Can the Spaniard close this game out? Not so easy, says Djokovic. Moving well on the court, coming up to the net again and finishing with a overhead smash. Deuce again. RBA has a couple of ad-points. And finally gets on board after a forehand error from Djoker. The crowd’s biggest cheer for on the day.
Jude Law, Rod Laver spotted in our first look at the celebrities in the audience...
First set, Djokovic 3-0 RBA: Two backhand errors from Djokovic gives RBA a brief window of opportunity at 15-30. Djokovic’s rush to the net puts pressure on RBA and then another error from the Spaniard makes it 40-30 for Djokovic. The Serb’s approach to the net on game point is tentative and we have the first deuce game. A fantastic half-volley on the approach gives the No 1 seed his third straight game. Great start for him.
The commentators remind us that in the two matches RBA won against Djokovic this year, he dropped the first set and was a break down in the 2nd.
First set, Djokovic 2-0 RBA: Djoker breaks! Djokovic wins the first point of the game but that is followed by the first top rally of the match that RBA wins with a superb crosscourt winner from the net. After a couple of forehand errors from the Spaniard, Djokovic has two break points! Pressure on RBA already. And a backhand error gives Djokovic the game!
First set, Djokovic 1-0 RBA: The Spaniard starts with a stunning forehand return winner. But that’s all RBA can control in that opening game. The World No 1 eases through the service game, dropping just that first point. Easy does it.
5.40 pm: Djokovic to serve... here we go.
5.38 pm: RBA is having a great year, personally. The 31-year-old Spaniard, who is due to get married in November, had to have a rethink about his stag party plans before contemplating facing defending champion Novak Djokovic in Friday’s semi-finals.
“I had planned to be in Ibiza right now,” said Bautista Agut. “We had everything organised already. My friends, six of them, are all there. Well, it feels better to be here in London.”
Bautista Agut could hardly believe he had at finally broken into the last-four of a major at the 27th attempt.
“It sounds amazing,” Bautista Agut. “I really cannot be more happy. I had a really difficult match and had to manage a lot of emotions on court. I knew I had a good opportunity to play in the semi-final and I did very well,” added the 23rd seed.
5.35 pm: Djokovic is eyeing a 6th Wimbledon final... and 25th Major final. RBA has gotten this far at Wimbledon for the first time in his career. On paper, there is a clear favourite. Let’s see how the action unfolds.
5.25 pm: Remember, while all the attention is on the Fedal clash later on, Djokovic (the defending champion) has been his usual brutal self on the courts of SW19. The world number one eased to a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 win over David Goffin of Belgium securing his 70th match win at the All England Club. He has dropped just one set so far (in a tiebreaker in the 3rd round).
In a ruthless display on Centre Court, Djokovic reeled off 15 of the last 17 games.
“I hope at this stage my opponent feels, when playing against me, that he has to work twice as hard as against anyone else,” said defending champion Djokovic who will be playing in his 36th semi-final at the majors,” he had said.
“I’ve been playing my best tennis in this tournament in the last two rounds. Especially second set and third set against Goffin, who was in form, I felt like I managed to dismantle his game and find always the right shots. Very pleased with the performance.”
5.20 pm: A look at the head-to-head between Djokovic and RBA... which is 7-3 in favour of the Serb but the unheralded Spaniard has won their last two meetings, to make things that extra bit interesting. (Courtesy: ATP World Tour)
5.15 pm: Bautista Agut’s road to the semi-final
1st rd: bt Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
2nd rd: bt Steve Darcis (BEL) 6-3, 6-2, 4-2 - retired
3rd rd: bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x10) 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1
4th rd: bt Benoit Paire (FRA x28) 6-3, 7-5, 6-2
QF: bt Guido Pella (ARG x26) 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
5.10 pm: Novak Djokovic’s road to the semi-final
1st rd: bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-3, 7-5, 6-3
2nd rd: bt Denis Kudla (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
3rd rd: bt Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4
4th rd: bt Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
QF: bt David Goffin (BEL x21) 6-4, 6-0, 6-2
5.05 pm: DID YOU KNOW?
This year’s men’s final four have set the record for the oldest combined age of Grand Slam men’s singles semi-finalists in the Open era. They have a combined age of 134 years 160 days -– 23 days older than the previous record, which was set at Roland Garros in 1968, when Pancho Gonzales, Ken Rosewall, Andres Gimeno and Rod Laver had a combined age of 134 years 137 days.
5.00 pm: Hello all and welcome to the live coverage of the men’s semifinals at Wimbledon 2019. There is a so-so match that no one really is excited about today apparently....
Well, we kid, we kid. Eleven long years after an epic final, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are back against each other at the Center Court: the grandest setting of them all in tennis, for the grandest rivalry of them all (arguably)!
We all have to wait for that match though. The first course of action is the other semi-final between the world No 1 and a player who anticipated to be at his bachelor’s party by this time. The eager anticipation of the 40th clash between Federer and Nadal has relegated defending champion Novak Djokovic’s push for a fifth title to second billing.
The top seed and world number one reached the semi-finals for the ninth time, racking up his 70th career win at the All England Club by sweeping past David Goffin in straight sets, reeling off 15 of the last 17 games.
In his 36th Grand Slam semi-final, the 15-time major winner faces Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut who is in his maiden last-four at the majors at the 27th attempt.
Djokovic leads the 31-year-old 7-3 in career meetings, including 3-0 at the majors.
However, the unheralded Spaniard, who had to cancel plans for his stag party in Ibiza as a consequence of his run to the semi-finals, has defeated Djokovic twice in 2019, in Doha and Miami.
(With AFP inputs)
(Screesnhots in this blog courtesy Hotstar)