It's Federer v Nadal again as Spanish legend reaches Wimbledon semi-finals
London (AFP) - Rafael Nadal will play great rival Roger Federer in a blockbuster Wimbledon semi-final after beating Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old Spaniard will face Federer at Wimbledon for the first time since their epic 2008 final.
Nadal’s victory also keeps alive his hopes of emulating Bjorn Borg in winning the French Open and Wimbledon titles back to back three times.
“It’s great,” said Nadal of meeting Federer again.
“Difficult to imagine to be again in that situation and here we are.
“I’m excited about the victory of today right now but of course excited to play against Roger here at Wimbledon again after such a long time.”
With Roberto Bautista Agut also reaching the semi-finals earlier on Wednesday it is the first time two Spaniards have reached the last four of the tournament.
Nadal – who is two off Federer’s record Grand Slam haul of 20 – even spared a moment to reflect on how special it would be for Bautista Agut as he lost his mother just over a year ago.
“I’m very happy for him,” Nadal said of Agut.
“If there is a player who deserves something like this, it’s him after all the things he went through.
“It’s amazing how strong he is and how passionate he is about his game.”
Nadal – who convincingly beat Federer the last time they met at the French Open semi-finals – was quickly into his stride against his American opponent and broke him early in the first set.
Querrey – who had only been broken once during the tournament prior to Wednesday – responded by saving four set points and broke Nadal for good measure to level at 5-5.
However, the Spaniard broke him immediately and this time served out the set – relief mixed with joy in his celebrating by crouching down and letting out a mighty roar.
Querrey may have dispensed with French Open finalist Dominic Thiem in the first round but his limited serve and volley game was no match for the man who beat Thiem in the Paris final has he out-classed his opponent.
There was even time for a giggle from Nadal in the third set when a spectator yelled out ‘Come on Roger’.
“I’m very happy to be in that semi-final again,” sad Nadal.
“A good match against a very difficult opponent.
“I saved a couple of dangerous situations at the end of the first set and then I think I played great again.
“My service got better and better.”
Federer and Nadal have met 39 times in their careers but just three times at Wimbledon.
The Swiss star won their first two encounters in the 2006 and 2007 finals before Nadal famously triumphed in 2008 in a five-set epic which is widely regarded as the greatest Slam final ever played.