Tennis·Wimbledon

Federer-Nadal clash set as 'Big 3' cruise into Wimbledon semifinals

Down an early break, defending Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic grabbed control midway through the opening set Wednesday and never let go, overwhelming the 21st-seeded David Goffin 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 to reach his ninth semifinal at the All England Club.

Novak Djokovic dominates Goffin, reaches 9th semis at All England Club

Novak Djokovic celebrates match point in his quarter-final match at the All England Club on Wednesday. The top-ranked Djokovic posted a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 win over 21st-seeded David Goffin to reach his ninth semifinal at Wimbledon. (Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

For the first time since their classic 2008 final, Rafael Nadal will face Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

Nadal set up a much-anticipated rematch by beating Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in the quarter-finals. Nadal and Federer will play each other in Friday's semifinals.

The two met in three straight finals between 2006-08, with Federer winning the first two before Nadal triumphed in a five-set epic widely considered one of the best matches of all time.

Against Querrey, Nadal was broken when serving for the first set at 5-4. But he converted his fourth break point in the next game, then saved three break points at 6-5 before finally clinching the set. The next two sets weren't nearly as competitive as Nadal broke twice in each and converted his first match point with a forehand winner.

WATCH | Rafael Nadal books ticket to semifinals:

Rafael Nadal eliminated Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the Wimbledon semifinals where he will meet Roger Federer. 0:45

Federer made his way off Centre Court after moving into the Wimbledon semifinals for the 13th time, a spectator reminded him of yet another milestone.

A 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Kei Nishikori gave Federer his 100th match win at the All England Club, the first man to reach that total at any Grand Slam tournament.

"The fan told me, 'Congratulations, Roger, on your 100th," Federer said. "I'm like, 'Oh, yeah, that's right."'

Just another mark among many for the guy who is trying to add to his totals of eight Wimbledon championships and 20 Grand Slam trophies, both already unprecedented among men.

WATCH | Roger Federer earns 100th win:

Roger Federer won his 100th match at Wimbledon over Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, sending him to his 13th career semifinal at the All England Club. 0:45

Djoikovic continues domination

Novak Djokovic took what was shaping up as an entertaining, well-played matchup in the Wimbledon quarter-finals and quickly turned it into a lopsided romp with a 10-game run.

Down an early break, the defending champion grabbed control midway through the opening set Wednesday and never let go, overwhelming the 21st-seeded David Goffin 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 to reach his ninth semifinal at the All England Club.

"Obviously things could have gone a different way," Djokovic said. "Who knows what the match would look like if I lost the first set?"

The No. 1-seeded Djokovic will face No. 23 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain or No. 26 Guido Pella of Argentina on Friday.

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."

WATCH | Top-ranked Novak Djokovic disposes of David Goffin in quarter-finals:

Top seed Novak Djokovic beat David Goffin in straight sets 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 to advance to the Wimbledon semifinals. 1:13

Djokovic is seeking his fifth Wimbledon championship and 17th Grand Slam trophy overall.

Hot start at humid Centre Court

The 21st-seeded Goffin started well enough against Djokovic at Centre Court on an afternoon that was humid and sunny but not too hot, with the temperature around 25C.

Hoping to reach his first major semifinal, Goffin claimed three of the first four points that lasted at least 10 strokes. He won the pair's most recent encounter, on clay in 2017, and this looked a bit like it was being contested on that slower surface, too.

Goffin was able to hang in there at the baseline and his on-the-run passing shots were dialed in. He nosed ahead after 33 minutes by breaking to go up 4-3, then jogged to the sideline with a raised fist.

Until then, Goffin was playing crisply and cleanly. He hadn't faced so much as one break point against Djokovic, generally considered the top returner in the game.

WATCH | Bautista Agut reaches 1st Wimbledon semis: 

Roberto Bautista Agut reached his first Grand Slam semifinal by beating Guido Pella 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 at Wimbledon. 0:47

Wearing down opponent

"He was dictating the play from the baseline," Djokovic said afterward. "Most of the rallies went his way."

But that's when everything changed.

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

Serving at 30-love in the very next game, Goffin double-faulted. Then he flubbed a forehand. After limiting himself to three unforced errors through the match's initial 49 points, the Belgian made two in a row. The next point was an odd one involving a late line call and a challenge by Goffin, who lost it and faced his first break point.

Djokovic couldn't convert that one, but moments later, Goffin sent a forehand wide to set up a second. This time, Djokovic ended a 20-stroke exchange with a drop volley winner. And soon enough, he was on his way, sliding or doing the splits along the baseline to get to balls few others would, bending his body this way and that to repeatedly force Goffin to hit an extra shot.

It's a dispiriting brand of tennis, and it was too much for Goffin. He would wind up going about 50 minutes until he managed to win another game.

Serena Williams, Murray ousted in doubles

Serena Williams and Andy Murray are out of the Wimbledon mixed doubles tournament.

The high-profile duo lost to top-seeded Bruno Soares and Nicole Melichar 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the third round, ending Murray's return to the All England Club after missing last year with a hip injury.

The pair was broken twice to fall behind 4-0 in the third set on No. 2 Court and lost when Murray netted a forehand return on match point.

Williams still has a chance to win her eighth Wimbledon singles trophy, though, as she takes on Barbora Strycova in the semifinals on Thursday. Murray, a two-time men's champion who hasn't played singles since having hip surgery in January, lost in the second round of the men's doubles tournament.

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