Seeking 9th Wimbledon title, Federer faces Djokovic in final

Roger Federer must win first set against Rafael Nadal says Woodbridge

Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal in four sets to stay in the hunt for a ninth Wimbledon title and book a place in Sunday's final against Novak Djokovic.

At 33, it might have been presumed that Nadal had a small advantage, if only in endurance, in his 40th career confrontation with Federer, who certainly does his best to avoid exhausting long rallies.

It is 1/2 for the defending champion to come out on top again at the All England Club this weekend and that is our initial Federer vs Djokovic prediction.

Bautista Agut flashed a brilliant return past Djokovic from the first serve of the match but he barely threatened for the rest of the set as his high-risk approach produced too many errors and a provided a straightforward set win for the favourite.

"He just wants to be like Roger (Federer)", Nick Kyrgios said earlier this year.

"I had to dig deep", said Djokovic, who will play for his fifth Wimbledon title in six finals appearances and his 16th Grand Slam trophy overall.

Friday's match turned on an awesome 45-shot rally in the seventh game of the third set, which Djokovic won to hold serve and stay a break up - and from then on he took total control as the Spaniard, who had looked calm and confident in his first Grand Slam semi-final, was eventually brushed aside. Probably I didn't play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well.

Nadal's four-set defeat was somewhat unexpected since he had been an unstoppable force in his last three matches.

The semi-final was hanging in the balance with Federer only a few points away from winning when the 20-time Grand Slam champion cost himself the point.

"He played great against Bautista Agut, who I thought played a phenomenal tournament", Federer said of his rival. The Spaniard beat number 26 seed Guido Pella 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 on Wednesday to reach a first ever career semifinal.

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Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after the men's singles semifinal match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain at the 2019 Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Britain, on July 12, 2019.

"I know that these opportunities don't last forever", Nadal said. Djokovic won 14 of the next 18 points while pulling out to a 3-0 lead - and he didn't need to produce much magic to do so. He may one day become the most prolific slam victor.

The champion then took command in the fourth set, cutting out the loose groundstrokes and picking up points with adventurous serve-and-volley attacks and after breaking for a 2-1 lead he never looked back.

"I'm exhausted. It was tough at the end", Federer said.

As Federer seeks revenge in SW19, potentially setting up another classic, we take a look at those four past mammoth matches.

Federer and Djokovic have played each other 47 times, the Serb taking 25 of those matches.

"It is something that is going to be hard to see again", he said.

Novak Djokovic has reached the Wimbledon final for the sixth time. Federer and Nadal were to play next on Centre Court. Nadal saved another two match points with breathtaking backhand winners.

After watching Bautista Agut's shot hit the net tape, pop in the air and slide over for a victor that tied things at a set apiece, Centre Court spectators stood and cheered.

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