Wimbledon 2019: Roger Federer wins 100 match at SW19 to set up semi-final with Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer celebrates at Wimbledon
Roger Federer celebrates at Wimbledon

Roger Federer brought up a century of Wimbledon victories as he set up a mouthwatering semi-final with his old rival Rafael Nadal.

The 37-year-old, who won his first match at SW19 as a 19-year-old in 2001, shook off a nervy start to beat Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4 in the quarter-final on Centre Court.

He is the first man to reach 100 wins at any Grand Slam and is now into his 13th last-four clash at Wimbledon.

Federer is chasing a place in his 12th final at SW19 and his ninth Wimbledon title, but if he is going to do that he will have to beat Rafael Nadal and then, most likely, Novak Djokovic.

Federer told the BBC: "It's not like I think I have to get my 100 - I just try to win the next point and then hopefully at the end of the match you have your hands in the air.

"It was only after the match a fan said congratulations on your 100 and I was like 'oh yeah, it's my 100'. It's so nice, and getting it against Kei is very nice."

A blockbusting semi-final awaits against Nadal in what will be the 40th instalment of one of tennis' great rivalries and their first here since the epic 2008 final after the Spaniard defeated unseeded American Sam Querrey (more on that below).

Federer said: "He has improved so much over the years on this surface. He's playing also very different than he used to. We haven't played each other in a long, long time on this surface. He's serving way different.

"I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he's serving, how much faster he finishes points.

"It's impressive to see how sort of healthy he's stayed. A lot of them are saying, 'Oh, it's the end', by 2008. Similar to me in 2009. We're still here. So it's nice to play each other again."

An upset had looked on the cards after the eighth seed came out firing and took the first set, but while being one of the most consistent players in the men's game he is still having problems cracking the top three at the biggest events.

This was the fifth successive grand slam that he has lost to either Federer, Nadal or Djokovic and he was unable to cope with the Swiss after going in front.

On the eve of the match Federer had said that Nishikori had the best backhand in the game and it did not take long for him to witness it up close as the Japanese fizzed two winners that helped him break in the opening game.

Federer found himself fire-fighting in his next two service games as he held from 0-40 and then 30-40, with Nishikori cashing in on some wayward hitting.

He was forced to serve the first set out, though, which he did courtesy of a scorching forehand, meaning Federer dropped a set for just the second time this tournament.

As subdued as the eight-time champion was in that opening set, there was an air of inevitability about what happened next as he finally came to the party.

He sandwiched two comfortable holds, with a break to love that included an eye-catching forehand winner, to ease into a 3-0 lead.

It was as if the first set had not happened as Nishikori could not cope with Federer's accuracy and depth and a second break allowed the number two seed to serve it out in just 23 minutes.

The opening game of the next set took 13 minutes as Nishikori came under fire, but he held firm, trying to re-establish himself in the match.

But Federer made another move at 3-3 and sealed a decisive break with a forehand that painted the baseline.

He endured a nervy moment when trying to serve the set out as Nishikori forced a break-back point, but he came up with a solid hold.

The writing was on the wall for Nishikori as he had to save break points at 0-0, 1-1 and 2-2 in the fourth set and there was no way he could escape much longer.

Federer eventually got the breakthrough to go 5-4 up and he saw out victory with ease.

Nadal' 7-5 6-2 6-2 win over Querrey was not entirely straightforward but he was more than good enough to continue the big three's domination at this year's Wimbledon.

This is the first time since 2007 that the trio have all made the semi-finals here together, while before last month's French Open it had not happened at any grand slam for seven years.

Now it is twice in a row, and the All England Club will finally get a reprise of arguably the greatest match of all time, when Nadal defeated Federer over five sets in an epic final 11 years ago.

It's the two-time Wimbledon champion's 32nd Grand Slam semi-final - only Federer (45) & Djokovic (36) have reached more - while it's his sixth at SW19, where he's only lost once in the last four. That was against Djokovic 12 months ago.

Nadal said: "It's a great feeling to be back in the semi-finals, be able to be playing at this level of tennis is great news.

"Now to play against Roger always is a unique situation. I'm excited to be back on this court against him after 11 years. It means a lot for me and probably for him, too.

"I'm excited about this match, excited about this opportunity. Always I say the same: of course, the opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we are still here."

Nadal won another title in 2010 but had spent several years struggling with his knees on grass until 2018, when he also made the last four and was agonisingly close to beating eventual champion Djokovic.

He has looked superb this fortnight, his only dropped set coming in the second-round blockbuster against Nick Kyrgios.

Nadal began in the same vein here, leaping into the air when he broke the Querrey serve in the third game.

The big-serving American has dropped down the rankings to 65, partly because of injury, but has history at Wimbledon having ended Djokovic's winning slam run three years ago and then reached his only slam semi-final in 2017.

He had also won his most recent match against Nadal, in Acapulco two years ago, and dug in well to fight back.

Nadal did not drop a point on serve until he double-faulted leading 4-3 30-0, but suddenly things became complicated.

He saved a break point in that game but was then unable to take any of three set points in the next, and a fourth also went begging before Querrey broke back for 5-5.

Nadal knew these were dangerous moments and he took advantage of a dip in Querrey's level on serve to break again immediately before saving three break points to win the set, two with aces.

Nadal played with more freedom after that and, after breaking early in the second set, the break points he saved in the sixth game proved to be the last major hurdle.

Querrey served 22 aces but won only 10 of 36 points where he missed his first serve, while Nadal's final tally of 43 winners and 12 unforced errors told of a job well done.

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