Sports

Wimbledon 2019: Novak Djokovic beats Roberto Bautista Agut to reach final

Wimbledon 2019: Novak Djokovic beats Roberto Bautista Agut to reach final

The former world number 1, has reached the 12th time in the finals of the third Grand Slam of the year.

Rewarding as it was for Rafael Nadal to become the only player to win the same Grand Slam 12 times by chalking up his dozen at last month's French Open, the Spaniard arrived at Wimbledon this year like a man on a mission.

"It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here".

"I'm sad for the loss because for me it was another opportunity", said the 18-time grand slam victor.

Djokovic's first major final appearance was incredibly Federer's 10th in a row - and that experience ultimately told for the Swiss star.

He took on the crowd for showing support for Bautista Agut, when the Spanish 23rd seed produced a spirited fightback to take the second set, and may have won few friends. In a match many consider the best in the sport's lengthy annals, Nadal edged Federer 9-7 in a fifth set that ended after 9 p.m., as any trace of daylight disappeared. Both players started off with some handsome rallies, as Nadal's resilience and Federer's backhand had the crowd riveted. "This is like at school - on the day of the test you're not going to read, I don't know, how many books that day".

Federer has won a record eight Wimbledon titles.

¯ Holding a 5-4 lead with a chance to close out the match, Federer gives the crowd a taste of the kind of tennis they haven't seen since 1994 - real serve-and-volley.

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If the 32-year-old Djokovic wins, he'll be the first man over age 30 in the Open Era to defend a Wimbledon title.

At Wimbledon to celebrate the 50th year of his 1969 calendar-year grand slam sweep, Laver has offered a fascinating insight into not only Federer's legendary feats on the court, but also the ageless champion's remarkable human spirit off it.

As Centre Court patrons waited for their temporarily bamboozled hero to rise from his afternoon slumber on a warm and gently breezed afternoon, Federer charged Nadal's second serve.

Some of that disparity comes from the perception that Federer has had a more hard time on route to the final, however, and that fatigue, therefore, will play its part, but a bigger factor may be their head-to-head record. Previous year I had chances here, I had another one, and I was not able to convert to win it one more time here. "The biggest points went my way, there were some tight ones in the long rallies". And then there was this: Federer won 25 of the 33 points when he went to the net.

There were moments when Djokovic seemed to believe he was in a bearpit of an arena, rather than the genteel surroundings of Centre Court in leafy south-west London. But Djokovic was relentless and tightened his grip, breaking twice for a 4-1 lead, and eventually claimed victory on a fifth match point. Nadal has two, and beat Federer in the 2008 final.

In their 40th career showdown, one thing remains certain: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal know how to put on a show at Wimbledon.

Four-time Wimbledon victor and defending champion Djokovic enjoys a 25-22 edge in career meetings, stretching back 13 years. "He's not No. 1 just by chance". It is a shot that no one else in the world can hit, and even a war horse like Nadal is unable to track down. He has won 101 matches at the place - more than any other man at any Slam, even Nadal at Roland Garros. "Obviously, winning that game was crucial for me".


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