Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic resume the game's fiercest rivalry

Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic resume the game's fiercest rivalry

"Anything could happen, so this is a big achievement for me to get to the semi-finals at Wimbledon". He lost to Nadal in last year's US Open.

The victor will play either John Isner or Kevin Anderson in Sunday's final.

Chasing his 18th slam, Nadal can only agree.

He said: "After this last 15 months, this semi-final is different".

"I'm sorry for him, of course", said Nadal. The victor will get a chance to play at the biggest stage in tennis.

One that is reminiscent of Nadal's five-set classic against Roger Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final.

Fast food chain Nandos, which originated from South Africa, has pledged to give away free meals to people who share names with the two players, until Anderson is knocked out of the tournament or wins the final.

The resurgent Nadal has won his past two matches with Djokovic and leads the Serb 9-4 in grand slam showdowns. "He is one of the more complex players that I've ever seen in our sport". "It's a big chance for me to face Rafa tomorrow". You know that you can not win against Novak if you don't play well.

This time previous year, few would have expected to see either man back in the last-four at the All England Club. Except this was a quarter-final, so the stakes felt slightly lower.

However, the 12th seed has looked focused and close to his best form on his way to reaching a first Slam semi-final since the 2016 US Open. "I can't really remember it".

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"I will try to hold my service games most of the time".

Of the 61 first serves he landed in, he won 52, and was broken only three times en route to a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over the 2014 US Open finalist. Djokovic has the slight edge at overall Tour-level at 26-25, but Nadal ended a seven-match losing streak against the Serb at Madrid past year and also won their only meeting so far in 2018 in the semi-finals of the Rome Masters.

The only fourth-round contest to be carried over to Tuesday lasted 4 hours, 24 minutes, making it the longest men's singles match of the tournament.

While both of those Nadal victories came on clay, they may set the tone for how this match begins.

Anderson comes to the final Friday with the biggest possible boost after coming from two sets and match-point down to beat the eight-times champion, Roger Federer, in a heart-stopping match on No 1 Court, the Swiss's first visit there since 2015.

But, for all that Isner is on a high, literally and figuratively, Anderson's win over Federer could be the key to this match.

While Nadal and Djokovic are old hands at winning Slams, the man stood on the opposite side of the net in Sunday's final will be bidding to win a first major.

For Del Potro, who dived, tumbled and slipped as he tried to contain the two-time Wimbledon champion it was an 11th defeat in 16 meetings with the Spaniard.

"It´s not good for me".

"I'm very, very happy to be in this position right now", said the ninth seed, who has never played on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

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