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story.lead_photo.caption Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates defeating Japan's Kei Nishikori during a men's quarterfinal match on day nine of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

WIMBLEDON, England -- All these years later, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet again at Wimbledon for the 40th installment of their 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's 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."

These are, after all, two of the greatest players in tennis history, winners of more Grand Slam titles than any other men. Of Federer's 20, a record eight have come at Wimbledon. Of Nadal's 18, 12 have come at the French Open, where he routed Federer in the semifinals last month.

That gave Nadal a 24-15 career edge head-to-head, including 10-3 at the Slams.

But that one was on the red clay Nadal rules. This one is on Federer's territory: grass.

This is their fourth matchup at Wimbledon -- and first that won't come in the final. Federer beat Nadal for the 2006 and 2007 titles, but Nadal won the championship 11 years ago in a 9-7 fifth set as dusk descended.

"Well, we have a lot of information on Rafa, and so does he about us," Federer said. "So you can either dive into tactics and all that stuff like mad for two days -- or you're just going to say: 'You know what? It's grass-court tennis, and I'm going to come out there and play attacking tennis.' And if he can defend that, that's too good. And if he can't, well, then, that's good for me."

It is the 13th time that the Big Three of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are in the semifinals at a major tournament together. On 11 of the previous occasions, one of them claimed the title.

There were some shaky moments for each Wednesday.

"The beginning," Federer said, "was brutal."

The eighth-seeded Nishikori jumped out to an early edge by breaking in the very first game, enough to give him that set.

But Federer turned things around in the second, conjuring up whatever he wanted, exactly when he wanted it.

His approach shots were beyond reproach. His volleys vibrant. His returns were timed so well, and struck so violently, that one knocked the net-rushing Nishikori's racket out of his hands.

And Federer's serve? Sure, he faced break points, but he never allowed the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Nishikori to convert another.

"Overall, I'm just very happy how I'm hitting the ball," Federer said. "Feel good off the baseline, too, which is clearly going to be important, maybe, for the next match."

Nadal is still a ball-retrieving, shot-whipping machine at the back of the court.

He did have some trouble closing out the first set against Querrey, an American ranked 65th who was trying to reach his second Wimbledon semifinal.

Nadal wasted three set points at 5-3, then another before getting broken when serving for it at 5-4. Again serving for that set at 6-5, he erased a trio of break points for Querrey before holding.

"I definitely think he's a guy that can win it again," Querrey said about the two-time Wimbledon champ Nadal.

Djokovic, eyeing a fifth trophy at the All England Club and 16th overall at Slams, used a 10-game run to transform what was shaping up as an even, entertaining quarterfinal into a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 romp against 21st-seeded David Goffin.

"I felt," Djokovic said, "like I managed to dismantle his game."

Down an early break, the defending champion grabbed control midway through the opening set and never let go.

"He was everywhere," Goffin said.

Djokovic did to Goffin exactly what he does to so many men on so many surfaces and at so many tournaments: He takes their best shot, deals with it and then wears them down.

"I sincerely hope," Djokovic said, "that my opponent feels like he's got to work twice as [hard as] against any other opponent to win a point."

Bautista Agut, a first-time Grand Slam semifinalist, is supposed to be on the island of Ibiza right now, having a bachelor party with a half-dozen pals ahead of his November wedding. Instead, he will play on after beating No. 26 Guido Pella of Argentina 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

"Well," the 31-year-old Bautista Agut said, "it feels better to be here in London."

Federer and Nadal are surely pleased to still be around, too. Everyone else will be thrilled to see them trade strokes on Centre Court once more.

"I know they haven't played here in a long time. It seems a little more exciting, more special, they are playing at Wimbledon, maybe, rather than outside of a Grand Slam," Querrey said. "I'll be watching on Friday."

Wednesday’s results

Men's Singles

Quarterfinals

Novak Djokovic (1), Serbia, def. David Goffin (21), Belgium, 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.

Roberto Bautista Agut (23), Spain, def. Guido Pella (26), Argentina, 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Rafael Nadal (3), Spain, def. Sam Querrey, United States, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.

Roger Federer (2), Switzerland, def. Kei Nishikori (8), Japan, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Men's Doubles

Quarterfinals

Raven Klaasen, South Africa, and Michael Venus (3), New Zealand, def. Henri Kontinen, Finland, and John Peers (8), Australia, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-3.

Women's Doubles

Third Round

Danielle Collins and Bethanie Mattek-Sands , United States, def. Victoria Azarenka, Belarus, and Ash Barty (10), Australia, walkover.

Quarterfinal

Hsieh Su-wei, Taiwan, and Barbora Strycova (3), Czech Republic, def. Elise Mertens, Belgium, and Aryna Sabalenka (6), Belarus, 6-4, 6-2.

Gabriela Dabrowski, Canada, and Xu Yifan (4), China, def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Danielle Collins, United States, 6-1, 6-3.

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (2), Czech Republic, def. Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Germany, and Demi Schuurs (8), Netherlands, 6-2, 7-6 (1).

Mixed Doubles

Third Round

Bruno Soares, Brazil, and Nicole Melichar (1), United States, def. Andy Murray, Britain, and Serena Williams, United States, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

Matwe Middelkoop, Netherlands, and Yang Zhaoxuan, China, def. Marcus Daniell, New Zealand, and Jennifer Brady, United States, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-4.

Wesley Koolhof, Netherlands, and Kveta Peschke (5), Czech Republic, def. Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, Pakistan, and Nadiia Kichenok, Ukraine, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Artem Sitak, New Zealand, and Laura Siegemund, Germany, def. Mate Pavic, Croatia, and Gabriela Dabrowski (3), Canada, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 13-12 (5).

Ivan Dodig, Croatia, and Latisha Chan (8), Taiwan, def. Edouard Roger-Vasselin, France, and Andreja Klepac (11), Slovenia, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Juniors Men's Singles

Third Round

Anton Matusevich, Britain, def. Holger Rune (1), Denmark, 6-4, 7-5.

Shintaro Mochizuki (8), Japan, def. Arthur Fery, Britain, 6-3, 6-3.

Martin Damm (4), United States, def. Taha Baadi, Canada, 6-2, 6-3.

Carlos Alcaraz Garfia (10), Spain, def. William Grant, United States, 6-4, 5-7, 8-6.

Dalibor Svrcina, Czech Republic, def. Tristan Schoolkate, Australia, 6-4, 6-2.

Carlos Gimeno Valero, Spain, def. Filip Cristian Jianu (13), Romania, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2.

Harold Mayot, France, def. Brandon Nakashima (6), United States, 6-4, 6-4.

Illya Beloborodko, Ukraine, def. Nicolas Alvarez Varona, Spain, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

Juniors Women's Singles

Third Round

Emma Navarro (1), United States, def. Katrina Scott, United States, 0-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Natsumi Kawaguchi (6), Japan, def. Elizabeth Mandlik, United States, 3-6, 6-4 retired.

Polina Kudermetova, Russia, def. Zheng Qinwen (3), China, 6-2, 6-1.

Daria Snigur, Ukraine, def. Robin Montgomery, United States, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-2.

Elsa Jacquemot, France, def. Mai Napatt Nirundorn, Thailand, 7-5, 6-0.

Diane Parry (4), France, def. Wong Hong yi Cody, Hong Kong, 6-2, 6-3.

Alexa Noel (10), United States, def. Matilda Mutavdzic, Britain, 6-4, 6-4.

Priska Madelyn Nugroho, Indonesia, def. Linda Fruhvirtova, Czech Republic, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Juniors Men's Doubles

First Round

Jonas Forejtek and Jiri Lehecka (1), Czech Republic, def. Andrew Dale and Andres Martin, United States, 6-4, 6-4.

Martin Damm and Toby Alex Kodat (3), United States, def. Roman Andres Burruchaga, Argentina, and Natan Rodrigues, Brazil, 7-6 (7), 6-4.

Andrew Paulson, Czech Republic, and Eric Vanshelboim, Ukraine, def. Kevin Chahoud, Sweden, and Phuong van Nguyen, Vietnam, 6-1, 6-1.

Eliot Spizzirri and Tyler Zink, United States, def. Alejo Lorenzo Lingua Lavallen, Argentina, and Harold Mayot, France, 7-6 (1), 6-1.

Taha Baadi, Canada, and Filip Cristian Jianu, Romania, def. Alan Riedi, Switzerland, and Dalibor Svrcina, Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-1.

Flavio Cobolli, Italy, and Dominic Stephan Stricker, Switzerland, def. Carlos Gimeno Valero and Pablo Llamas Ruiz, Spain, 7-6 (7), 6-1.

Liam Draxl, Canada, and Govind Nanda (7), United States, def. Nicholas David Ionel, Romania, and Wojciech Marek, Poland, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5).

Baptiste Anselmo and Loris Pourroy, France, def. Illya Beloborodko, Ukraine, and Peter Makk, Hungary, 7-5, 6-3.

Juniors Women's Doubles

First Round

Kamilla Bartone, Latvia, and Oksana Selekhmeteva, Russia, def. Diane Parry, France, and Zheng Qinwen (1), China, 7-5, 6-4.

Robin Montgomery, United States, and Maria Camila Osorio, Colombia, def. Elina Avanesyan, Russia, and Elsa Jacquemot, France, 6-2, 6-4.

Holly Fischer and Matilda Mutavdzic, Britain, def. Daria Frayman, Russia, and Darja Semenistaja, Latvia, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Chloe Beck and Emma Navarro (7), United States, def. Pia Lovric, Slovenia, and Mai Napatt Nirundorn, Thailand, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Polina Kudermetova, Russia, and Giulia Morlet, France, def. Sonay Kartal and Erin Richardson, Britain, 6-1, 6-4.

Carlota Martinez Cirez and Ane Mintegi del Olmo, Spain, def. Michaela Kadleckova, Slovakia, and Katrina Scott, United States, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Aubane Droguet and Selena Janicijevic, France, def. Priska Madelyn Nugroho, Indonesia, and Annerly Poulos, Australia, 6-2, 6-4.

Joanna Garland, Taiwan, and Park Sohyun (4), South Korea, def. Charlotte Owensby and Alexandra Yepifanova, United States, 6-3, 6-2.

Photo by AP/ALASTAIR GRANT
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Portugal's Joao Sousa in a Men's singles match during day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday, July 8, 2019.
Photo by AP/ALASTAIR GRANT
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Portugal's Joao Sousa in a Men's singles match during day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday, July 8, 2019.

Sports on 07/11/2019

Print Headline: Federer, Nadal set for 40th matchup

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