© Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal in a four-set Wimbledon semi-final in 2019.

Federer's Memorable Win Against Nadal At 2019 Wimbledon

Relive the semi-final between the legends from 2019 Wimbledon

The 2019 Wimbledon semi-finals featured an ATP Head2Head clash that hadn't been seen at the All England Club in more than a decade: Roger Federer playing Rafael Nadal.

The last time the legendary foes met on the London grass was in the 2008 championship, which many experts still say is the best match in history. Entering the match, Federer had won five of their past six meetings, with three of those victories coming in straight sets.

But Nadal, who was trying to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2011, had just cruised past the Swiss with the loss of only nine games in the Roland Garros semi-finals. The Spaniard led their rivalry 23-16.

“It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially [as we] haven't played [here] in so long,” Federer said.

ATP Coach Programme

After a hiccup in the second set, Federer booked a place in his 12th final at The Championships with a 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph.

“It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well. Then, the climax at the end, with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there. It had everything at the end, which was great," Federer said. "I'm just relieved it's all over at this point.

“But it's definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favourite matches to look back at, again, because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather. I felt like I played good also throughout the four sets. I can be very happy.”

Federer, first set

The Swiss superstar played at his aggressive best on return of serve, at the net and in long rallies across the three-hour, two-minute battle on Centre Court.

Federer seized the momentum in his 40th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Nadal with a break of serve at 3-1 in the third set and, in spite of an early break in the fourth set, kept 18-time Grand Slam championship winner Nadal at bay before converting his fifth match point chance.

The 37-year-old became the third oldest man in the Open Era (since 1968) to reach a Grand Slam championship final. Federer, who registered his 100th Wimbledon match win over Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals, earned a chance to capture the 21st major crown of his career in his 31st final.

Nadal stood deep behind the baseline on return of serve and Federer soon picked up on the ploy, exposing the angles of the court and serve and volleying with great frequency.

“I thought it was a tough first set with not many chances,” said Federer. “[It] came down to I thought a really good tie-break. I think I served well there, but [I] also came up with some really good returns and rallies. He got off the gates faster with a great lob, I believe, to get the mini break first. As the first set was dominated by a lot of good serving, I thought that was probably a big problem for me. But I was able to get out of that one." 

While Nadal’s return positioning, deep behind the baseline, was questioned, the Spaniard soon won 10 points in a row, capitalising on a lapse in concentration from Federer, who lost his serve to love after a backhand error in the second set. That allowed Nadal to gain the momentum. 

But as the intensity level increased early in the third set, Federer out-duelled Nadal in the key moments and took over the match.

“The early break in the third set, I had a couple of mistakes in that moment. That was a tough moment I needed to resist. The beginning of the third set probably was one of the keys of the match,” said Nadal. “I started to play much better at the end of the match, but it was too late.”

Nadal, second set

Federer converted his fifth match point and pumped his fists in celebration. He struck 51 winners, including 14 aces, saving six of eight break points against Nadal, who committed 25 unforced errors.

"It's been a tough one. I had my chances, but he played a little bit better than me," said Nadal. "Probably I didn't play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well. So he deserves it. Congrats to him."

Nadal bounced back from his defeat, triumphing at the Coupe Rogers and earning his 19th Grand Slam title at the US Open. The lefty finished atop the year-end FedEx ATP Rankings for the fifth time.

Federer, however, suffered heartbreak in the Wimbledon final. Novak Djokovic saved two championship points to stun the Swiss 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3).