WIMBLEDON, England — All these years later, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet again at Wimbledon for the 40th installment of their terrific rivalry — and first at the All England Club since their memorable 2008 final.
“Such a long time,” Nadal said.
They moved on to the semifinal showdown everyone has been thinking about since the tournament draw by each overcoming a tough opening set Wednesday.
A 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Kei Nishikori gave the No. 2-seeded Federer his 100th match win at the All England Club, the first man to reach that total at any Grand Slam tournament. Not long after that ended on Centre Court, the No. 3-seeded Nadal finished off Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 Court.
Friday’s other semifinal will draw far less attention: No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, against No. 23 Roberto Bautista Agut, never before this far at a major.
Looking ahead to what comes next for himself, Federer said: “Obviously, I know people always hype it up.”
Well, why shouldn’t they? These are, after all, two of the greatest players in tennis’ long history, winners of more Grand Slam titles than any other men. Of Federer’s 20, a record eight came at Wimbledon.
Of Nadal’s 18, 12 came at the French Open, where he routed Federer in the semifinals last month.
That gave Nadal a 24-15 career head-to-head edge, including 10-3 at the Slams.