Federer tops Nadal, reaches 12th Wimbledon final

Federer tops Nadal, reaches 12th Wimbledon final

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Nadal famously beat Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final, in a match that spanned nearly five hours and is considered by many to be one of, if not the best match in history. Prior to Friday's semifinal, he had dropped just one set throughout the tournament (to Nick Kyrgios in the second round). It was a close opening four or five games of the third set.

This one felt like just as much of a classic contest, though, one that anyone present is not likely to forget.

Top seed and four-time victor Djokovic reached his sixth Wimbledon final, and 25th at the majors, with a nervy 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Spain's 23rd seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

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Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates his victory.

The reigning champ topped Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets in Friday's earlier semifinal. Having won his 12th French Open title last month, he had looked fired-up to win his third Wimbledon crown and first since 2010. But though the first set was a walk-through for Djokovic - nearly rope-a-dope at times as he tempted Bautista Agut to hit winners and then watched them fly over the baseline - the second set saw the Spaniard stamp his authority on Centre Court.

"At one stage of the match, it could have gone (a) different way".

How excited, then, were the spectators for the rematch, more than a decade in the making? The capacity crowd at Centre Court showered both Nadal and Federer with cheers and a standing ovation that lasted for several minutes.

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Quickly, that greeting was justified.

Nadal serving now after Federer wards off a mini-crisis. Another was that he was able to withstand Nadal's serve, which has improved a ton over the years.

The Spaniard was finally getting into his stride and went on to break Federer's serve again, eventually winning the set 6-1 to square things up. Federer leads Nadal 2-1 in these matches.

Novak, who won his match, will play whoever wins the Roger vs. Rafael game in the Men's Final, taking place this Sunday.

In Friday's first match at Centre Court, defending champion Novak Djokovic faces Roberto Bautista Agut, a Spaniard playing in his first Grand Slam semifinal.

Federer would kick up chalk with an ace to a corner, and Nadal would do the same in the next game. And who else but Nadal could somehow retrieve an apparently untouchable ball and send up a lob that Federer would shank a leaping overhead, as happened in the last game?

"You go through these kind of emotional moments, especially in big matches like this, all the time". "There were some tight ones and long rallies", Federer said. "He plays with such velocity and spins and everything, you're not always sure you're going to connect the right way".

Nadal saved the only break point of the set at 4-3, as Federer netted a backhand after a 21-stroke rally. He went on to win the set 6-3. Fans and analysts were starting to speculate if Nadal had returned to championship form.

The second was a complete contrast as Federer lost focus and Nadal, who has won 18 majors, levelled the match in 36 minutes. Nadal admitted after the match that Federer capitalized on all of his best opportunities in London.