ROGER FEDERER continues to defy the ageing process as he overcame his oldest foe Rafa Nadal to reach a record-extending 12th Wimbledon final.
The 40th contest between these two superstars perhaps did not live up to the same heavyweight billing as that epic 2008 final – the previous time they had met in the confines of Wimbledon.
Roger Federer, 37, defied the ageing process to beat old foe Rafa Nadal and reach a TWELFTH Wimbledon final[/caption]
Yet it was still an enthralling encounter between two of the sport’s greatest and longest-serving players, and unlike 11 years ago, it was the eight-time singles champion who prevailed 7-6 1-6 6-3 6-4.
Federer, who continues to belie his passport age of 37, is the third oldest man to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open Era.
The Swiss veteran will face the world No1 Novak Djokovic, 32, in Sunday’s final in his quest for a ninth singles title and 21st Grand Slam title.
In the opening exchanges there was little to separate between these two seemingly ageless warriors.
The rallies were extremely competitive, there were more winners than unenforced errors, and neither star was in the mood to surrender points on their service game.
In the first set, there was only one break chance opportunity – on Nadal’s serve – but after a 21-point really, Federer desperately crashed a forehand into the net.
A tie-breaker was required – the first they had both contested one since the 2014 Australian Open semi-finals – and it was Federer who took the early initiative after winning five points in a row.
Of the previous 39 contests, the winner of the first set had gone on to win 31 times.
Yet incredibly, after such a tight beginning, it was astonishing the next two sets were strangely one-sided, the momentum shifting one way and then the next.
Nadal, 32, responded to that disappointment by winning the second set in 37 minutes and only dropping one game.
And then Federer reacted by dominating the third set in 38 minutes, cleverly dictating the first shot of the rallies with his forehand.
Grass has always been a great leveller between these two titans but where the Spaniard is the King on Clay, Federer likes to consider this court as his domain.
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He once more demonstrated that by crucially breaking in the third game of the fourth set when Nadal hit it long, and then racing to a conclusion inside three hours.
Nadal is such the comeptitor that it’s never over untril it’s over. He chases every ball, never sees a lost cause.
But on the fifth match point, Federer finally prevailed when Nadal hit it long to set up a first match with Djokovic since November.
Rafa Nadal reacts during the four set loss to the Swiss[/caption]