Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal resume Wimbledon rivalry

‘A gift from the tennis gods’: Roger Federer goes through to the Wimbledon final after beating arch rival Rafael Nadal by three sets to one in epic semi-final clash of tennis titans

  • Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal faced off in their highly-anticipated Wimbledon semi-final this afternoon
  • The match was first time they had played each other at SW19 since epic 2008 final that was longest in history 
  • Federer edged a gripping match, beating his longtime rival three sets to one after a series of incredible rallies
  • Nadal had saved four match points in the final set but eventually succumbed to his rival in the titanic contest 
  • Tickets for the Wimbledon men’s semi-finals were selling on several resale sites today for as much as £13,000
  • Novak Djokovic beat Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut earlier and will now face Federer in the final on Sunday

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Roger Federer has reached the Wimbledon final after beating rival Rafael Nadal in a thrilling semi-final, the latest chapter of one of the greatest rivalries in sport.

Nadal fought off four match points but eventually succumbed to his longtime adversary, with Federer winning 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Federer, who has won 20 Grand Slams, edged a tight first set, winning a tense tiebreaker before being thrashed by Nadal in the second.  But that set proved to be an outlier, as the Swiss star put on a clinic to take the third and fourth sets, despite a stirring fightback from Nadal. 

The most dramatic action came in the fourth and final set as Nadal desperately fought off match point after match point with a series of incredible shots before being beaten by his rival, who looked to be at the top of his game.

The pair thrilled fans at a packed Centre Court in their first clash on grass since the epic final of 2008, which Nadal won in five sets. At four hours and 48 minutes, it remains the longest, and some say greatest, Wimbledon final in history and although today’s epic struggle wasn’t as long, it was another titanic contest between the two greats – even though Nadal is now 33 and Federer is 37.

They showed no signs of age in a gripping contest, pushing each other all the way and flying all over the court in an engrossing battle. 

Fans on social media hailed the match, with one describing it as a ‘gift from the tennis gods’, while others pointed out how Federer appeared unruffled despite the three-hour epic. 

Roger Federer celebrates and the crowd at Centre Court jumps to their feet as the Swiss tennis legend books his place in the final of Wimbledon

Roger Federer celebrates and the crowd at Centre Court jumps to their feet as the Swiss tennis legend books his place in the final of Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal, Federer's longtime rival, shook his hand at the end of a gripping match between the two men with the most Grand Slam titles in men's tennis

Rafael Nadal, Federer’s longtime rival, shook his hand at the end of a gripping match between the two men with the most Grand Slam titles in men’s tennis

Roger Federer reached the Wimbledon final after he beat Rafael Nadal in an epic semi-final today, the latest chapter in their storied rivalry

Roger Federer reached the Wimbledon final after he beat Rafael Nadal in an epic semi-final today, the latest chapter in their storied rivalry

The game was filled with thrilling rallies and highlights, as Federer and Rafael Nadal pushed each other all the way in the latest installment of their rivalry at Wimbledon today

The game was filled with thrilling rallies and highlights, as Federer and Rafael Nadal pushed each other all the way in the latest installment of their rivalry at Wimbledon today

Mirka Federer celebrates in the stands during the semi-final match after watching her husband win the first set against Rafael Nadal

Mirka Federer celebrates in the stands during the semi-final match after watching her husband win the first set against Rafael Nadal

Federer's wife Mirka is in his box cheering him on today

Nadal's girlfriend Xisca Perello has been cheering on her partner today

Federer’s wife Mirka, left, and Nadal’s girlfriend Xisca Perello, right, are both at Centre Court cheering on their partners today

Royal box roll call! 1.Charles Delevingne, 2. David Linley, 3. Gill Brook, 4. Sir Joseph Hotung, 5. Duchess of Gloucester, 6. Philip Brook, 7. Prince Michael of Kent, 8. Princess Michael of Kent, 9. Mrs Simon Howard, 10. Aftab Jafferjee, 11. Sir William Worsely, 12. Isabella Worsely, 13. Tammy Galbraith, 14. Patrick Galbraith, 15. Catherine Wilson, 16. Pat Cash, 17. Susan Attenborough, 18. Sir David Attenborough, 19. David Haggerty, 20. Bernard Giudicelli, 21. Richard Hrdlicka, 22. Jayne Hrdlicka, 23. Dennis Jauch, 24. Leona Lewis, 25. Shara Grylls, 26. Bear Grylls, 27. Phillipa Coan, 28. Jude Law, 29. Anna Eberstein, 30.  Hugh Grant, 31. Kitty McIntyre, 32. Michael McIntyre, 33. Helen McCrory, 34. Damien Lewis, 35. Rebecca Gleeson, 36. Eric Bana, 37. Nick Faldo, 38. Lindsay De Marco, 39. Fiona Ferguson, 40. Alex Ferguson

Royal box roll call! 1.Charles Delevingne, 2. David Linley, 3. Gill Brook, 4. Sir Joseph Hotung, 5. Duchess of Gloucester, 6. Philip Brook, 7. Prince Michael of Kent, 8. Princess Michael of Kent, 9. Mrs Simon Howard, 10. Aftab Jafferjee, 11. Sir William Worsely, 12. Isabella Worsely, 13. Tammy Galbraith, 14. Patrick Galbraith, 15. Catherine Wilson, 16. Pat Cash, 17. Susan Attenborough, 18. Sir David Attenborough, 19. David Haggerty, 20. Bernard Giudicelli, 21. Richard Hrdlicka, 22. Jayne Hrdlicka, 23. Dennis Jauch, 24. Leona Lewis, 25. Shara Grylls, 26. Bear Grylls, 27. Phillipa Coan, 28. Jude Law, 29. Anna Eberstein, 30.  Hugh Grant, 31. Kitty McIntyre, 32. Michael McIntyre, 33. Helen McCrory, 34. Damien Lewis, 35. Rebecca Gleeson, 36. Eric Bana, 37. Nick Faldo, 38. Lindsay De Marco, 39. Fiona Ferguson, 40. Alex Ferguson 

David Beckham looked engrossed as he watched Federer and Nadal push each other all the way in a tense match from the Royal Box

David Beckham looked engrossed as he watched Federer and Nadal push each other all the way in a tense match from the Royal Box

The Duchess of Cambridge's younger sister teamed her outfit with a white beaded shoulder bag and the same sunglasses she wore earlier in the day - while James paid homage to her outfit with a yellow tie

The Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister teamed her outfit with a white beaded shoulder bag and the same sunglasses she wore earlier in the day – while James paid homage to her outfit with a yellow tie 

Pippa didn't seem to mind the breeze as it swept her brunette locks off her face while she watched the game

Pippa didn’t seem to mind the breeze as it swept her brunette locks off her face while she watched the game

Sporting a pair of polka dot jeans and a white collar-less shirt, James greeted Roger Federer's wife Mirka with a kiss on both cheeks

Sporting a pair of polka dot jeans and a white collar-less shirt, James greeted Roger Federer's wife Mirka with a kiss on both cheeks

Sporting a pair of polka dot jeans and a white collar-less shirt, James Middleton greeted Roger Federer’s wife Mirka with a kiss on both cheeks

Well-prepared: With a bucket in hand, Michael McIntyre seemed to be heading for the bar as his wife Kitty watched on

Well-prepared: With a bucket in hand, Michael McIntyre seemed to be heading for the bar as his wife Kitty watched on

Superstar: The sporting legend looked totally relaxed as he sat proudly in the box among the slew of stars watching the action unfold

Superstar: The sporting legend looked totally relaxed as he sat proudly in the box among the slew of stars watching the action unfold

Wow! Pixie Lott was commanding attention in a plunging white jumpsuit and matching strapped heels

To be wed: The Voice Kids judge held hands with fiancé Oliver Cheshire as they arrived for the day's action

Wow! Pixie Lott was commanding attention in a plunging white jumpsuit and matching strapped heels, as she held hands with fiancé Oliver Cheshire upon arrival

Jovial: The couple were deep in conversation, as Sir David Attenborough comfortably sat in front of them

Jovial: The couple were deep in conversation, as Sir David Attenborough comfortably sat in front of them

Couples trip: Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory were among the army of stars proudly sat in the royal box ahead of a day of drama on the centre court

Couples trip: Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory were among the army of stars proudly sat in the royal box ahead of a day of drama on the centre court

Former Manchester United football manager Alex Ferguson was among the famous faces in the Royal Box watching the titans clash today

Former Manchester United football manager Alex Ferguson was among the famous faces in the Royal Box watching the titans clash today

A host of famous faces were welcomed into the Royal Box to watch history happen including Sir David Attenborough, former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Hollywood actors Hugh Grant and Steve Carell and singer Leona Lewis.

It comes as tickets were being sold for as much as £13,000 on resale websites this morning as fans battled to get their hands on them. 

After today’s match, Federer and Nadal’s storied rivalry has seen them play against each other 40 times since 2004, including 24 finals.

Despite losing today, Nadal holds the edge overall, having beaten Federer 24 times and lost on 16 occasions.

Of the 24 finals they have played against each other, the Spaniard has won 14 and lost 10. However, Federer does hold the edge at Wimbledon, having beaten Nadal three times and lost once after today’s match. 

Despite the historic rivalry, there is genuine respect and affection between the two players, who have the most and second most Grand Slam titles in Men’s tennis.

Federer has 20 while Nadal has 18 and the Swiss star will be hoping to beat Novak Djokovic in the final and win Grand Slam 21.  

Rafael Nadal came back strongly in the second set against his rival Roger Federer, winning 6-1 to level the latest match between the tennis titans

Rafael Nadal came back strongly in the second set against his rival Roger Federer, winning 6-1 to level the latest match between the tennis titans

Fans reacted in shock after Roger Federer made a series of errors in the second set, losing serve twice and dropping the set 6-1

Fans reacted in shock after Roger Federer made a series of errors in the second set, losing serve twice and dropping the set 6-1

Roger Federer celebrates winning the first set against longtime rival Rafael Nadal during their men's singles semi-final match at Wimbledon today

Roger Federer celebrates winning the first set against longtime rival Rafael Nadal during their men’s singles semi-final match at Wimbledon today

Newlyweds: Jude Law was grinning from ear to ear, as he was seen taking a seat in the royal box with his new wife Philippa Coan

Newlyweds: Jude Law was grinning from ear to ear, as he was seen taking a seat in the royal box with his new wife Philippa Coan

Rafa is aiming to secure a third Wimbledon title but will have to find a way past his old foe

Roger Federer could win a ninth Wimbledon title if he gets past Nadal

Nadal, left, and Federer, right, have 10 Wimbledon titles between them and the winner will face Novak Djokovic in the final

Rafael Nadal pushed his rival all the way in the first set but was edged out by Federer in front of a packed Centre Court

Rafael Nadal pushed his rival all the way in the first set but was edged out by Federer in front of a packed Centre Court 

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal is one of the biggest rivalries in tennis and it is renewed today as the two clash in the Wimbledon semi-finals (pictured) - the first match they have played at SW19 since the 2008 final

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal is one of the biggest rivalries in tennis and it is renewed today as the two clash in the Wimbledon semi-finals (pictured) – the first match they have played at SW19 since the 2008 final

Entry to today’s match cost £185 for a standard ticket but those all quickly sold out – though owners of ‘debenture’ tickets were free to sell them on the open market.

Will Federer’s biggest fan be back in the house?

He’s known for his loud voice cutting through the chitter chatter of crowds.

And House of Commons speaker John Bercow has been no different at Wimbledon, where he has been pictured twice this week cheering on his hero Roger Federer.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow watches Roger Federer's match on Centre Court at Wimbledon today

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow watches Roger Federer’s match on Centre Court at Wimbledon today

Mr Bercow, 56, has been seen wearing Federer-branded t-shirts and celebrating wildly at the Swiss player’s third round and quarter-final matches.

The speaker – who paid for his entry – is a former tennis prodigy himself and even wrote a book on the top players of all time in 2014, listing Federer as number one.

Although he was taking time out from political life, Mr Bercow seemed more stressed than ever during the quarter-final on Wednesday, gritting his teeth and screaming in anguish as he watched Federer. 

Wimbledon debentures cost £50,000 and give the buyer five years of exclusive access, including a seat for every day of each tournament plus entry into private lounges and restaurants. 

There are only 2,500 debenture seats on Centre Court and 1,000 more on Court One – and they are the only ticket that is legally transferable. 

It means buyers can try to maximise their investment by selling them on for a huge profit – with stellar matches such as Federer vs Nadal today providing the incentive for punters to part with huge sums.   

Claire-Estelle Bertrand, of with Wimbledon Debentures Holders website, said efforts were being made to convince owners to keep prices ‘reasonable’ but that interest was sky high.

She told The Times: ‘The surge for semi-final tickets came when we were in the last 16 and it looked more and more likely that Rafa and Roger would play each other. We have a relationship with our debenture holders and liaise with them to try to keep the prices as reasonable as possible, whereas on other sites the seller can be someone who has bought up a load of tickets and can push the prices much higher.’

She added: ‘We only sell tickets that we actually have. The other places take the money upfront, say you’ve got a seat in a good position and you might find that you’re right up in the gods. We tell the customer the block and location and only then is the transaction confirmed.’

It is not the first time debenture tickets have appeared on resale sites for exorbitant sums.

In 2013, when Andy Murray faced Novak Djokovic in the final, a pair of seats were being offered for £71,000.

The All England Club’s commercial manager Mick Desmond added he expects big crowds for the headline games.

‘I think people will be clamouring to come in here – not just to Centre Court but just to watch it on the hill and physically be part of it,’ he said.

He added: ‘We are blessed with a golden age.’

The club added it did not object to debenture tickets being sold on for a profit and added the sale of debentures helps keep down prices for regular tickets.   

Roger Federer, pictured at Wimbledon today, will renew his rivalry with Rafael Nadal when they face each other in the semi-final in their first meeting on grass for 11 years

Roger Federer, pictured at Wimbledon today, will renew his rivalry with Rafael Nadal when they face each other in the semi-final in their first meeting on grass for 11 years

Rafael Nadal, pictured, will face Roger Federer for the first time at Wimbledon since the epic 2008 final

Federer was out on the practice courts this morning warming up for the huge match

Nadal, left on Wednesday, and Federer, right earlier today, have not played each other at Wimbledon since the 2008 final which is often described as the greatest in the history of the tournament 

Federer was all smiles as he walked into the All England Club this morning, pictured, despite the huge pressure on him

Federer was all smiles as he walked into the All England Club this morning, pictured, despite the huge pressure on him

Tickets are being offered for vast sums of money on resale sites, including Viagogo, pictured, where a single ticket is on offer for more than £11,000

Tickets are being offered for vast sums of money on resale sites, including Viagogo, pictured, where a single ticket is on offer for more than £11,000

The pair battled in the longest Wimbledon final ever in 2008, pictured, at four hours and 48 minutes, won by Nadal

The pair battled in the longest Wimbledon final ever in 2008, pictured, at four hours and 48 minutes, won by Nadal

Tickets on Viagogo are selling from £7,000 to £12,000 today, pictured

Tickets on Viagogo are selling from £7,000 to £12,000 today, pictured 

A spokesman for the Met Office said Wimbledon attendees could expect some sunshine in the morning with a few showers later in the day.

‘The showers will continue into the first part of the afternoon with a 20% chance of it causing some disruption,’ he said.

‘It will clear away to the middle of the afternoon leaving the rest of the day dry and bright.

‘It will be slightly cooler and breezier day than the last few days with a maximum temperature of 24C (75.2F).’

Meanwhile, Hugh Grant was every inch the suave star as he and wife Anna Eberstein led the star-studded arrivals of day 11 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

The Bridget Jones star, 58, was suited and booted as he arrived with his gorgeous partner, 40, who oozed sartorial chic in a white shirt and black miniskirt, as they headed into the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in south-west London on Friday.

Hugh and Anna joined an army of arrivals including Jude Law, Declan Donnelly, David Beckham and Pixie Lott for day 11.

The stars put on an animated display as they watched Djokovic triumph and Federer best great rival Nadal. 

Sir David Attenborough is among those in the Royal Box today and spent time chatting to former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, pictured together

Sir David Attenborough is among those in the Royal Box today and spent time chatting to former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, pictured together

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was also in the Royal Box today, pictured

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was also in the Royal Box today, pictured

Jovial: Hugh Grant, 58, was every inch the suave star as he and wife Anna Eberstein, 40, arrived for day 11 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Looking good: The Bridget Jones star cut a dapper figure in a black suit while his wife oozed sartorial chic for the day of action

Jovial: Hugh Grant, 58, was every inch the suave star as he and wife Anna Eberstein, 40, led the star-studded arrivals on day 11 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in south-west London on Friday.

The big match: Ahead of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer's long-awaited semi-final clash, the Royal Box was packed with plenty of stars ready to see the action

The big match: Ahead of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer’s long-awaited semi-final clash, the Royal Box was packed with plenty of stars ready to see the action

Delightful: Inside the Royal Box, Jude Law led an army of stars making their arrival for the day at the tennis, which would see the epic clash between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Delightful: Inside the Royal Box, Jude Law led an army of stars making their arrival for the day at the tennis, which would see the epic clash between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

We're here! Jude and Philipa were seen heading to their seat with the blonde beauty displaying her slender physique in the belted white ensemble

We're here! Jude and Philipa were seen heading to their seat with the blonde beauty displaying her slender physique in the belted white ensemble

We’re here! Jude and Philipa were seen heading to their seat with the blonde beauty displaying her slender physique in the belted white ensemble

Pals: The couple were joined by Homeland actor Damian Lewis who looked dapper in a light blue blazer with a black shirt and a steel grey tie

Pals: The couple were joined by Homeland actor Damian Lewis who looked dapper in a light blue blazer with a black shirt and a steel grey tie 

Looking good: Bridget Jones star Hugh cut a dapper figure in a simple black suit as he made a stylish arrival with his stunning wife Anna

Lovely: Anna oozed nautical chic in a white shirt and black skirt with gold button detailing

Looking good: Bridget Jones star Hugh cut a dapper figure in a simple black suit as he made a stylish arrival with his stunning wife Anna, who oozed nautical chic in a white shirt and black skirt with gold button detailing

Happy couple: Declan Donnelly was also enjoying the summer weather as he stepped out with wife Ali

Delightful: Homeland Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory were the picture of happiness as they made their arrival together

Happy couple: Declan Donnelly was also enjoying the summer weather as he stepped out with wife Ali (left) while Damian Lewis was also in attendance with wife Helen McCrory

Meeting of minds: In reality Hugh appeared to be having an animated conversation with Jude, who was sat on the other side of his wife Anna

Meeting of minds: In reality Hugh appeared to be having an animated conversation with Jude, who was sat on the other side of his wife Anna

Happy: Comedian Michael McIntyre beamed as he arrived alongside wife Kitty

Big day: Presenter Bear Grylls was also suited and booted as they headed into the tennis park with wife Shara

Happy: Comedian Michael McIntyre (left) and presenter Bear Grylls (right) were both beaming as they arrived for the tennis showcase with their respective wives

Gripping: Bear was transfixed by the drama with wife Shara, as they joined the slew of different stars inside the coveted Royal Box

Gripping: Bear was transfixed by the drama with wife Shara, as they joined the slew of different stars inside the coveted Royal Box

Big star: Also sat among the stars in the Royal Box was David Beckham, who looked dapper in a taupe blazer and dark blue trousers by Ralph Lauren

Big star: Also sat among the stars in the Royal Box was David Beckham, who looked dapper in a taupe blazer and dark blue trousers by Ralph Lauren 

Do you want one? David was also passing around sweets to some of the other guests in the royal box who were watching the tennis

Do you want one? David was also passing around sweets to some of the other guests in the royal box who were watching the tennis

Couples trip: Damian and Helen were among the army of stars proudly sat in the royal box ahead of a day of drama on the centre court

Couples trip: Damian and Helen were among the army of stars proudly sat in the royal box ahead of a day of drama on the centre court

Wow! Pixie Lott was commanding attention in a plunging white jumpsuit and matching strapped heels

To be wed: The Voice Kids judge held hands with fiancé Oliver Cheshire as they arrived for the day's action

Wow! Pixie Lott was commanding attention in a plunging white jumpsuit and matching strapped heels, as she held hands with fiancé Oliver Cheshire upon arrival

Having fun: The couple seemed to be having a whale of a time as they happily watched an afternoon of drama on the tennis court unfold

Having fun: The couple seemed to be having a whale of a time as they happily watched an afternoon of drama on the tennis court unfold

Having fun: The couple seemed to be having a whale of a time as they happily watched an afternoon of drama on the tennis court unfold

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