Roger Federer waves as he leaves the court after beating Kei Nishikori Photo: AFP
tennis

Federer beats Nishikori to set up semifinal clash with Nadal; Djokovic to face Bautista Agut

20 Comments
By Dave JAMES

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal set up a Wimbledon semifinal blockbuster on Wednesday, 11 years after their epic 2008 title duel which is widely regarded as the greatest Grand Slam final ever played.

Eight-time champion Federer racked up his 100th match win at Wimbledon and reached his 13th semifinal with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Japan's Kei Nishikori.

The 37-year-old will be playing in the semi-finals of a major for the 45th time.

Nadal, the two-time champion, made the last-four for the seventh time and 32nd at the Slams, by beating Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.

Friday's semifinal will be the pair's 40th meeting and third at Wimbledon after Federer won the 2006 and 2007 finals before Nadal swept to his famous 2008 triumph.

The other semifinal will see four-time champion and top seed Novak Djokovic tackle Roberto Bautista Agut, the 23rd-seeded Spaniard who has made the last-four at a major for the first time.

Federer is also the oldest man to make the semis of a major since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 U.S. Open.

"We have a lot of information on Rafa and so does he about us. I know people always hype it up in a big way," said 20-time major winner Federer.

"They did that again in Paris this year (when Nadal won their semifinal in straight sets). I'd love to play against him here at Wimbledon. "But I go about it like every other match."

Nadal, who was also champion in 2010, broke Querrey six times, sent down 10 aces and 44 winners in a convincing display which will give him great hope of beating Federer for the 25th time.

"It's great (to be facing Federer at Wimbledon again)," said 33-year-old Nadal whose recent 12th Roland Garros victory took him to 18 Slam titles.

"It's difficult to imagine to be again in that situation and here we are. I'm excited to play against Roger here at Wimbledon again after such a long time."

Federer said he was unaware that he had become the first man to claim 100 wins at the same Slam.

"I didn't think of it while I was playing today. Actually not at all, not once. Then as I'm signing, a guy in the crowd says, Congratulations for your 100. Oh, yeah, I didn't know. I forgot."

Djokovic reached the semifinals for the ninth time, racking up his 70th career win at the All England Club in the process.

The defending champion hit back from a break down in the first set to carve out a commanding 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 win over 21st seed David Goffin of Belgium.

In a ruthless display, Djokovic reeled off 15 of the last 17 games to secure a place in the semifinals of the majors for the 36th time.

Next up is Bautista Agut, who made his first Grand Slam semifinal with a 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Argentina's Guido Pella.

"He started well and was dictating play from the baseline," 32-year-old Djokovic said of Goffin.

"Things could have gone a different way if I had lost the first set but I was very pleased with the second and third.

He added: "I had a tough match in the third round (against Hubert Hurkacz). Other than that, I've won in straight sets and played really well. It's exactly what I wanted and hopefully I can go in the right direction in the semis as well."

Goffin was on top in the early stages as he sensed the opportunity to become the first Belgian man to make the semi-finals at a Slam since Xavier Malisse at Wimbledon in 2002.

He broke for a 4-3 lead but 15-time Slam winner Djokovic then reeled off the next nine games, taking the first set, and the second in which he allowed the Belgian just four points on his serve.

The contest was over by the time Djokovic broke for a 3-1 lead in the third set.

"Even if you play well, it's not enough because he continues to play deep, close from the line, left, right. He was everywhere," said a shattered Goffin.

Bautista Agut, 31, booked his first appearance in a Slam last-four at the 27th attempt by seeing off Pella, who had never previously reached a quarterfinal at the majors.

"Novak is the number one in the world and he's playing really well on grass," said Bautista Agut, who has a 3-7 record against the Serb.

However, two of those wins came this year in Doha and Miami.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


20 Comments
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Wish Federer v Nadal was the final.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lol, article barely mentions the Kei - Federer contest, I guess everyone wanted Fedal..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

First set Federer played bad with many unforced errors, kind of similar to when he started this tournament. He needs to start strong against Nadal who has been on great form on grass recently.

According to Ganbare I thought 37 year old Federer would be on his last legs and an easy win for Kei.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Lol, article barely mentions the Kei - Federer contest, I guess everyone wanted Fedal..

Makes sense. Federer and Nadal are all-time greats coming towards the end. I’m not a big tennis fan and they are probably the only two players I’d miss out on my beloved sleep to watch.

Who do you think the world wanted to see? Nishikori?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Japan wanted to see Nishikori, but I think everyone else wanted to see Fedal...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Watching that match last night, here's a question that I was thinking about, and am not trying to cast a positive or negative light with: Has Nishikori been helped more or hurt more by being a member of the current generation?

The "hurt more" argument is easy: if Nishikori had avoided playing at the same time as Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray, it's almost certain that his trophy room at home would look different.

The "helped more" argument is a little trickier. Nishikori has had almost no tangible victories (0 slams, 0 Masters, his Brisbane title earlier this year was his first "small tournament" win since 2016), and yet he's been a pretty consistent top-10 player for 5 years now (barring injuries). So...how is that possible? Well, the argument is that below the Big 4, we've gone through a long stretch of a really, really bad field of players. Seriously - who are the best non-Big 4 players in the Big 4 era? Wawrinka and del Potro are likely the most talented, but they're always injured. The Zverev / Tsitsipas / Thiem generation has potential, but haven't proven anything yet. Then there's... Ferrer? The unstoppable force known as Marin Cilic? The best player is probably Tomas Berdych, whose career is a little Nishikori-like: top-10 player between 2011-16, no Slams, 1 Masters title, not a serious threat to the Big 4. Other than that, lots of guys in and out of the top 10, but almost none appearing consistently. So, beyond the Big 4, the utter lack of depth during this generation has allowed Nishikori to stay ranked as highly as he has, despite a lack of victories (Of course, I'm not faulting Nishikori for that - his job is to stay ahead of all those other guys, and he's done that. He can't control how good they are)

So, has Nishikori's career been helped more or hurt more by his position in time?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Whilst Wimbledon rolls on, Cricket,another great English tradition is being played at the same time. Does The Cricket World Cup get any coverage on JT??

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Now I can watch the rest of the tournament in peace. I like Nishikori and wish him well but at least now the real fans can move on without hearing his name all day every day. I wonder if people in Japan actually know how great he isn't and how great Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are? I don't need an answer to that..

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Fxgai: “Japan wanted to see Nishikori, but I think everyone else wanted to see Fedal...”

That’s the problem, they EXPECTED Noshikori to win when he simply doesn’t have the talent or skill to beat the big three, which is why many Japanese pray they will retire soon so that Nishikori can “progress” without actually requiring the ability to do so. It’s like getting the gold medal in speed skating because the three skaters in front of you wipe out... you didn’t earn it, you got it because the better skaters were no longer in front of you.

all those posters talking about how old Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic and others are getting, and yet they proved superior again. Maybe 2020 will be his year?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

So, beyond the Big 4, the utter lack of depth during this generation 

I think that's in reverse.

Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic are, I would argue, the three greatest mens players of all-time, without even being finished yet, and are all playing not "alone" in an era (relatively speaking) like perhaps a Pete Sampras or a Serena on the women's side, but all together at the same time. Rather than result in a changing of the guard, one beating the other, makes the other get even better, and on it goes.

So it's not a lack of depth that left a Big 3 to run riot, but their all-time greatness over all the rest. In a sense, I think Federer and Nadal set new standards, and Djokovic has been able to match them.

he simply doesn’t have the talent or skill to beat the big three

Yeah although he has beaten Federer 3 times more than you have.

many Japanese

Tone down the hyperbole thanks.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Well done to make the Best 8, Kei-chan. Federer was too good on the day, no shame to lose to G.O.A.T. But Kei-chans time will come. He still has at least 7 more years of tennis, 7 x 4 majors = at least 28 more chances to win that Major all Japan wants!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Well done to make the Best 8, Kei-chan. Federer was too good on the day, no shame to lose to G.O.A.T. But Kei-chans time will come. He still has at least 7 more years of tennis, 7 x 4 majors = at least 28 more chances to win that Major all Japan wants!

Maybe a bit of too much of the Aussie optimism there sport. He’s injury-prone and that could very well tell in his thirties.

I hope he does win one by the way.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

LunarTunerToday 08:58 am JST

...Cricket,another great English tradition is being played at the same time. Does The Cricket World Cup get any coverage on JT??

LOL, I would prefer to get the latest results from The World Tiddlywinks Championships" than to hear anything about that boring cricket

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Federer has always been massively overrated winning most of his slams between the Sampras/Agassi era and the Nadal/Djokovic one. Grand Slams won since the 2010 Australian Open: Djokovic-14, Nadal-12 Federer-4.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Federer has always been massively overrated

lol clearly havent been watching Federer that much. the guy makes shots that youd think wouldnt be possible.

If you took away Clay courts you could say the same of Nadal. Federer in his prime would be far more fomidable against a player like Djokovic and at 37 can still beat majority of player 15~20yrs younger. You dont win 17 majors by being overrated. One player that is way overrated in Nishikori. Nishikori cant even beat old man Federer

2 ( +5 / -3 )

fxgai: "Yeah although he has beaten Federer 3 times more than you have."

And how many times has he lost to him? As for the dig at me, I've never claimed to be a good tennis player, let alone have any sense of entitlement to championships. YOU have said year after year this will be Nishikori's year, but when it clearly ends up not being so, you get defensive about your own comments.

"Tone down the hyperbole thanks."

There is no hyperbole in the comment at all -- it is fact. You can see a number of posters on here alone saying as much.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

YOU have said year after year this will be Nishikori's year

No need to troll me with this nonsense. Thanks.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Whilst Wimbledon rolls on, Cricket,another great English tradition is being played at the same time. Does The Cricket World Cup get any coverage on JT??

Not a mad fan of the old cricket lark, but good point. It's always a chuckle when the England team get more than they bargained for. Be interesting to see how the Ireland match goes, later this month :-)

Who knows? Maybe we can have some GAA coverage as well.

In the meantime, good luck to Federer.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I've never claimed to be a good tennis player

Speak for yourself, smithinjapan. I've never once lost to Federer. Haven't even dropped a set! Nadal either, for that matter.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Can't believe it's been 11 years (since 2008) that Federer and Nadal have faced each other in Wimbledon

For a long time it seemed like they'd always meet each other in Grand Slams

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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