Rafael Nadal will clash against long-time rival Novak Djokovic for the 52nd time on Friday with a Wimbledon 2018 final spot at stake. World number one Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion at the All England Club, trails Djokovic, the 2011, 2014 and 2015 winner, 26-25 in a rivalry which began at Roland Garros 12 years ago. Along the way, they have fought out a series of classic and epic battles including Djokovic’s 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5 Australian Open final victory in 2012. At five hours and 53 minutes, it was the longest final ever at a Slam. The following year, Nadal downed the Serb, who was world number one at the time, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7 in the semi-finals in Paris, this time in four hours and 37 minutes.
Nadal is chasing an 18th Grand Slam title which would put him just two behind Roger Federer who was sensationally knocked out in the quarter-finals by Kevin Anderson. For his part, Djokovic is eyeing a 13th major after making the semi-finals of a Slam for the first time since finishing runner-up at the 2016 US Open. The two true giants of the game share five Wimbledon and 29 Grand Slam singles titles between them. In their last Wimbledon meeting, back in 2011, Djokovic had won the match in four sets. While Nadal is chasing his 18th Grand Slam title at 32, Djokovic is eyeing a sensational comeback at 31.
Live Tennis Match Updates Between Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon Men’s Singles Semi Final
18:00 IST: Kevin Anderson leads John Isner 2-1 in the first set.
17:40 IST: The first semi-final will see Kevin Anderson take on John Isner, while the second semi-final will see Novak Djokovic face Rafael Nadal.
17:30 IST: Hello and welcome to the live blog of Wimbledon 2018 men’s single semi-finals.
Djokovic is eyeing a 13th major after making the semi-finals of a Slam for the first time since finishing runner-up at the 2016 US Open. This time last year, few would have expected to see either man back in the last-four at the All England Club. Nadal was knocked out in the fourth round, losing 13-11 in the final set to Luxembourg journeyman Gilles Muller. On four of his previous five visits to south-west London, he had been defeated by players outside the top 100. Djokovic’s 2017 Wimbledon campaign ended in a quarter-final retirement with an elbow injury which led to surgery and precipitated a worrying dip in form and confidence. When he lost in the French Open quarter-finals to world number 72 Marco Cecchinato last month, he even suggested he was ready to skip Wimbledon this year as his ranking slipped to 22, his lowest since August 2006.