Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer played their last matches on the Tour on the big scene within a couple of weeks in 2019. Rafa defeated Roger in his kingdom at Roland Garros, and the Swiss avenged that loss with a triumph in the Wimbledon semi-final.
It was their last match, and Ivan Ljubicic could not help but cry when his pupil scored a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in three hours and two minutes. Roger ousted Rafa for the 16th time and earned the seventh victory in their last eight matches since Basel 2015!
Thus, Federer advanced into his 12th Wimbledon final and the last at Majors. Two legends met at Wimbledon for the first time in 11 years, and Federer threw everything he had at his great rival. The Swiss kept the points on his racquet and unfolded the rallies in the way he wanted.
Defending his backhand correctly, Roger avoided slices and lengthy exchanges to hit in full throttle. He tamed his shots nicely and overpowered Nadal in sets three and four to set the title clash against Novak Djokovic. Eager to go at least one step further than a year ago and advance into the first Wimbledon final since 2011, Rafa gave his best in sets one and two.
He dropped a tight opener and had the upper hand in the second to level the overall score and boost his chances. Still, Federer proved too strong in the third and fourth to remain on the title course. The Swiss had 51 winners and 27 unforced errors, leaving Rafa on a 32-25 ratio and forging the crucial advantage on the return.
Both players converted two break chances, and Federer delivered those in the most critical moments to celebrate the 101st All England Club victory. Federer had the advantage in the mid-range exchanges in the opener. There was only one break chance in the entire set, and Rafa saved it at 3-4 to set up a tie break.
Roger won five straight points to clinch it 7-3 and build the advantage.
Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2019 Wimbledon semi-final.
They saved break points in the second set’s second and third games to remain neck and neck.
Nadal took charge after that and claimed five games in a row to seal the set in style and level the overall score. The Spaniard returned almost every Roger’s serve and claimed 60% of the return points to score breaks in games four and six and gain massive momentum ahead of set number three.
Starting from the beginning, Federer was thundering again. He hit 15 winners and two unforced errors and broke Rafa in game four to forge the advantage. The Swiss carried it home with a hold at love in game nine that pushed him closer to the finish line.
Roger broke in the fourth set’s third game to grab an early advantage. Nadal served at 3-5 and faced a match point. He saved it, brought the game home and earned his opportunity on the return at 4-5. Roger stayed calm and denied it before wrapping up the game and the match.
“The 2019 Wimbledon semi-final win over Rafael Nadal is among my favorite Roger’s triumphs. Roger was worried and under pressure. He felt inferior, and we had to assure him he was capable of winning. I cried after that match, and it was a very emotional moment,” Ivan Ljubicic said.