As many expected, we have reached the final four stage, and the three best players in the world are still standing. All eyes will immediately gravitate to the attractive semi-final between icons Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. However, the other semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Roberto Bautista Agut could also be an interesting match-up.
Either way, only two of these players can make it through to the final at center court on Sunday afternoon.
Rafael Nadal (3) vs Roger Federer (2)
Much of the build-up to the competition surrounded the frustration of Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard was furious with the decision to make him third seed following his triumph in the French Open in the previous Grand Slam. Roger Federer was the biggest beneficiary of the decision as he was seeded in second and had an easy route to this stage. Regardless, both players have made it this far without breaking a sweat, and this has all the making of a classic.
Federer has only dropped two sets on his way to another Wimbledon semi-final. No player has more successes at this Grand Slam than Federer’s eight, and he has been imperious throughout this year as he attempts to win his first title at Wimbledon since 2017. His quarterfinal clash with Kei Nishikori was the only game that threatened to get away from the Swiss player. Federer lost the first set 6-4, before showcasing his dominance in the following three sets to win comfortably. It wasn’t a scare; just merely a reminder that he needs to stay at the top of his game.
Despite Nadal lamenting a harder route before the competition; he is actually yet to play a seeded player at this competition. However, he has come up against stern unseeded tests against Jon Tsonga and Nick Kyrgios. The latter of which saw the Spaniard go through by virtue of winning two tiebreakers. This match against the Australian was the only time throughout the competition that the Spaniard has dropped a set and he qualified for the semi-final with a comfortable win on Court One against Sam Querrey. Nadal will know that he will need to improve his performance, but the signs are good.
Nadal has won more of the head to heads; having won on 24 occasions to Federer’s 15. However, Nadal’s win at Roland Garros was the first time that the Spaniard had beaten the Swiss since 2014. Also, Federer holds the narrow 2-1 advantage in the games at Wimbledon. It will be tight, but the preference is for Federer.
Novak Djokovic (1) vs Roberto Bautista Agut (23)
The world number one has been faultless throughout his campaign at Wimbledon thus far and could be in for a stern test by the surprise package from Spain.
Djokovic has only dropped one set throughout the competition, and that came in a tiebreaker in the third round against Hurbert Hurkacz. However, he was dominant after that moment of weakness by winning the next sets 6-1, 6-4. His most dominant performance was saved for his quarterfinal clash against David Goffin, as he ruthlessly beat the Belgium player 6-4, 6-0, 6-2. The Serb is getting stronger as the competition goes on, and it is near impossible to imagine him faltering at the semi-final stage.
However, the Spaniard will be full of confidence after reaching his first semi-final of a Grand Slam, and he has looked impressive throughout. The decision to postpone his stag do after qualifying for the semi-finals just shows that his run to this stage was as unexpected to him as everybody else. The Spaniard is playing way above his average level, and his win in the last round against Guido Pella was a brilliant effort. He took command of the match by winning the first two sets, before dropping the third. However, he recovered his composure quickly to win the fourth set 6-3. If he can beat Djokovic, then it would be the finest achievement of his career.
The history books don’t give him much chance, as he has only won three of the previous ten meetings between the players. However, two of these wins have come in 2019, so the Spaniard does have a chance; just a very small one, however.