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Federer booked his spot in the final with a 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Nadal. He'll face Novak Djokovic on Sunday. 

By Daniel Rapaport
July 12, 2019

Eleven years later, Roger Federer got his revenge. 

In the first matchup between the legends at the All England Club since their epic 2008 final, Federer defeated Rafael Nadal 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an entertaining Wimbledon semifinal that lasted more than three hours.

"I thought the biggest points in the match went my way," the eight-time Wimbledon champion said after the match. 

His reward? A date with Novak Djokovic, who needed four sets to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in the first semifinal on Centre Court. Federer will be chasing his 21st major in Sunday's final, while Djokovic will be after No. 16.

The second Grand Slam semifinal in five weeks between Federer, 37, and Nadal, 33—the two faced off at the French Open, where Nadal won in straight sets—started with 12 straight holds before Federer played a terrific tiebreak to get his nose in front.

Next came a shocking drop in form from Federer, and Nadal pounced on the opportunity to level the match. He won the second set 6-1, and Federer appeared to be very much on the ropes. 

But you don't win 20 majors without being able to overcome some adversity. Federer steadied himself in the third, thanks mainly to an effective first serve and a newfound ability to outlast Nadal in long rallies, and got his nose out in front with an early break. Nadal could not get back on serve and Federer won 6-3 to get within one set of the final. 

It was a similar story in the fourth, as Federer broke at 1-1 to bring the finish line within reach. He had two match points while Nadal was serving at 3-5, but the Spaniard, as he always seems to do, dug deep and managed to hold. Federer had to serve it out. 

It was anything but routine. Nadal saved another two match points with breaktaking winners, one from the forehand side and one from the backhand. Federer finally clinched it on his fifth match point of the match when a Nadal backhand sailed long, and he and let out a scream upon reaching his 12th Wimbledon final. 

"It was a joy to play today," Federer said. "I'm very, very excited, to say the least." 

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