Nadal, Djokovic set up Wimbledon semi-final dual

Doug Mendoza
July 13, 2018

The first semifinal at Centre Court, between No. 8 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa and No. 9 John Isner of the USA, features two powerful servers with similar games who have a lot less star power and considerably fewer Grand Slam trophies, to say the least: The Nadal-Djokovic combined count is 29, including five at Wimbledon.

He eventually he clinched a 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory after four hours and 47 minutes.

In one epic 14-point game early in the deciding set, such was the desperation of both combatants that del Potro twice left the ground trying to retrieve balls at the net before Nadal went hurtling over a barrier, into the stands and onto jaw-dropping spectators' laps.

Now Nadal will face longtime rival Novak Djokovic in the semifinals Friday.

Nadal is similarly battle-hardened after outlasting Juan Martín del Potro in the best match of the men's draw so far, a judgment handed down from the BBC commentary box by Andy Murray.

After two years of physical and mental struggles, Djokovic appears fit and confident and ready to try to add to his tally of 12 grand slam titles.

On Wednesday, we saw Nadal's confidence, and even his intensity, briefly wane when Juan Martin del Potro forced his way into their quarterfinal late in the second set. He is one of the more complex players that I have ever seen in our sport, it is always a big test.

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On the other side of the bracket, American John Isner will face off against South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who is coming off of a stunning five-set upset of Roger Federer that took over four hours to finish. I just tried to fight for every point.

After a hectic clay-court season where he won the Monte Carlo, Rome and French Open titles, Nadal made a decision to go into Wimbledon without playing a warm-up event on grass for the second year running. Isner is 8-3 against Anderson, and this will be his first career semifinal at a major. I know in the semi-finals of Wimbledon you will not have an easy opponent in front (of you).

Both men are in the semi-finals at Wimbledon for the first time.

Isner had never got past the third round at Wimbledon before this year while a run to the last-eight at the 2011 US Open had been his previous best at the majors.

"I'm trying to get to where he's already been", said Isner, who has won all 95 of his service games this fortnight, thanks in part to a tournament-leading 161 aces. "If I keep going here, maybe I can squash that".

This will be their first meeting on grass, and Nishikori said: 'I think it's going to be a new game for us.

Other reports by GizPress

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