I think Bautista Agut gave a really good account of himself today against Nole. There were those few key moments in the third set, where Djokovic showed his class and upped his game and it was the telling difference. The Spaniard was in the ascendancy until that point, having levelled the match at one set apiece. There were some absolutely brutal rallies today, I think one was 45 strokes…..on the grass. WOW! RBA said after that he was dealing with the nerves and emotions of a first semi-final and I think he will be better for this long term. It has been a great six matches from him and his flat strokes again caused Novak a lot of problems.
Djokovic again went into lockdown mode today when he needed to, he really just does not miss when push comes to shove. He was losing a lot of the longer rallies initially but like any great player he reversed that and it started in the middle of that third set. The Serb once again played to the crowd at times gesturing and waving with his hands, he loves it. He will have been only too aware that a lot of the Centre Court crowd would have liked to see an upset here, hence improve Rafa or Rogers chances in the final. Nole said no!
The Fed-Express was ultra-aggressive against Rafa and it paid off. You could say this was a bit of a new skool grass-court lesson that he served up. For me, winning today has done a hell of a lot for exorcising the demons of eleven years ago. The backhand was a weapon, as it has been when they have played of late and he moved really well. This made for an uncomfortable afternoon for Rafa. It is not very often you see Nadal as vocal and as outwardly emotional when things aren’t going right like this.
Federer had turned the opening set tiebreak around really quickly, again by going after his shots. Rafa was *3-2 in the breaker only for Federer to rattle off five straight points. Nadal looked to have seized the initiative in the second as Federer went AWOL but it was short-lived. There were some edgy moments towards the end of the fourth, saving break points when serving for the match, having missed match points on the Rafa delivery. As you would expect Rafa made him work for it but his revival was too little too late.
The last time Federer beat Djokovic in a slam was at Wimbledon, back in 2012. I still think Nole will win this one but I am sure the crowd will be well up for it and they will be behind the Fed-Express.
Ladies Finals day tomorrow and I will be there. Come on Rena, one more!
Andy Del Potro