London: 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 semifinals 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 Baustista Agut, the 23rd 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 US 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.”
Djokovic reached the Wimbledon 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. — AFP