Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer played their last Tour match on the big stage in a matter of weeks in 2019. Rafa defeated Roger to his kingdom at Roland Garros, and the Swiss avenged this defeat with a Wimbledon semi-final victory.
This was their last game and Ivan Ljubicic couldn’t help but cry when his student took a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 win in 3 hours and 2 minutes.
Roger knocked out Rafa for the 16th time and took his seventh win in their last eight games since Basel 2015! Thus, Federer qualified for his 12th final at Wimbledon and his final at the Majors.
The two legends met for the first time in 11 years at Wimbledon, and Federer threw everything he had at his nemesis. The Swiss kept the points on his racket and opened trades at will.
Defending his backstroke correctly, Roger avoided slices and long rallies to hit full speed. He tamed his shots well and beat Nadal in the third and fourth sets to take the title against Novak Djokovic.
Looking to go at least one step further than a year ago and qualify for the first Wimbledon final since 2011, Rafa gave his best in the first and second set. He dropped a close first game and took the lead in the second to level the overall score and increase his chances.
Still, Federer proved too strong to stay on the title track in the third and fourth rounds. With Switzerland’s 51 winners and 27 mandatory errors, he trailed Rafa 32-25, giving him a crucial advantage on the return.
Both players converted two timeout chances and Federer delivered them at the most critical moments to celebrate their 101st victory at the All England Club. Federer gained the advantage in the middle distance rallies in the first game.
There was only one timeout chance in the whole set and Rafa saved at 3-4 to set up a tie break. Roger scored five straight points to win 7-3 and create the advantage.
Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2019 Wimbledon semi-finals.
In the second and third games of the second set, they saved breaking points to stay submissive.
Nadal then took control and won five games in a row to stylishly seal the set and level the overall score. The Spaniard gave back almost all of Roger’s serves and claimed 60% of his comeback points to make time-outs in the fourth and sixth games and gain massive momentum towards the third set.
From the start, Federer rumbled again. He won 15 games and made two mandatory mistakes and beat Rafa in game four to secure the advantage. The Swiss brought him home with zero grip in the ninth game, which brought him even closer to the finish line.
Roger broke in to gain an early advantage in the third game of the fourth set. Nadal served in 3-5 and faced game points. He saved, brought the game home and got his chance at 4-5 on the return.
Before Roger finished the match, he remained calm and denied it. “The Wimbledon semi-final win in 2019 is one of my favorite Roger victories. Roger was worried and under pressure.
He felt worthless and we had to reassure him that he could win. I cried after that game and it was a very emotional moment,” said Ivan Ljubicic.