They have both lost a step—watch some of those 2008 final rallies to see something that just doesn’t exist anymore—but yeah, it’s still really, insanely good.
The last game of this match was its best. Rafa playing some savage tennis to hang on. It took Federer five match points, but he wins, 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Rafa saves two match points and holds in unbelievable fashion and it’s now 5-4 with Fed trying to serve it out.
Fed is fully refrigerated now. Hitting his strokes calmly and cleanly, just licks the baseline on a forehand to get to deuce on Rafa’s serve.
Another service hold down (featuring a nifty Fed reflex volley). Only one more separates him from the final.
Here’s that ridiculous backhand that Fed smoked:
One service hold for Roger, down. Up 3-1.
The intensity has sorta begun to drain out of this one. Roger gets an early break in the fourth set and “just” needs to hold serve four times for a spot in the final. Not that Rafa will make that especially easy.
Rafa, down 0-30, has a fortunate bloop on the net cord to avoid some break points. Fed sets up a beautiful inside-out forehand on the next one to get them anyway.
Insane down-the-line forehand from Rafa to hold a shaky service game, 1-0 in the fourth set. On an unrelated note I think it’s time for him to go completely bald and embrace the Juggernaut look.
Oh helllllll yeah Roger coasts through some relatively straightforward games to take the third set 6-3.
Rafa survives a 15-40 break scare for 4-2. A pocket of sunshine on Rafa’s deuce corner is making it impossible to see the ball there.
Fed, fending off break points, survives one brutally long exchange, thanks in part to a ridiculous pickup off his shoetops. He also won another 25-ball rally, the longest of the match. He holds for 4-1.
Nasty backhand down-the-line helped Federer get his first break of the match in four break points. Up 3-1 in the third.
That was the first time Fed’s ever lost a set 6-1 or worse at Wimbledon.
Down two breaks, Federer messes around a bit in the last return game, testing out a SABR, letting the last serve scoot by him. Rafa takes the set 6-1 after an abrupt momentum shift.
Fed’s timing is all off and the shanks are pouring in. He’s shidding away the second set. After two breaks, Nadal serving at 5-1.
Whoa, loose service game from Federer there and Rafa breaks at love.
At 15-40 Roger had some good looks at a break there—including off a second-serve out wide that he seemed a little surprised by, dumping the backhand return into the net. Rafa holds.
Rafa with a few spectacular shots—one backhand flick passing shot, one incredible forehand retrieval on a full sprint—to earn a break point. Then another one. Fed survives. They’re sinking their teeth into each other’s service games now and it’s getting real good.