Wimbledon: Federer and Nadal eyeing up semi-final battle
Both players will be tested by Sam Querry and Kei Nishikori on Wednesday
Roger Federer celebrates his win over Matteo Berrettini in their fourth round match at Wimbledon. Photogrraph: Epa/Nic Bothma
In his fourth round meeting with Matteo Berrettini, Roger Federer was averaging 14 seconds between points. One of the features the Italian was unable to adapt to was the pace at which the eight-times Wimbledon winner was playing on Centre Court.
“Yeah, the points were going, like, really fast. Just serve and first shot. I wasn’t tired, so I couldn’t, like, I couldn’t stop him,” said the 23-year-old from Rome.
Federer spoke about being dialled in, explaining it is not something he can explain but a feeling, a clearing of his mind.
“You almost start feeling whatever you’re going to do is somehow going to work out,” said Federer, who meets Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the quarter-final. “You almost can’t explain what it is. I have no other thoughts than maybe the next point. Everything is just sort of pink, it’s just happy out there.
“Then you rock up to a ball. You’re like, I know I’m not going to miss one. You hit a winner. Then you do the same again and again.”
Tacticians might say that Federer is anticipating a semi-final meeting with Rafa Nadal, who faces the high velocity game of Sam Querry – on top of the leader board with 100 aces and counting. Federer’s success has often been that he picks his battles and is judicious in how he plays tennis at 37-years-old.
Nadal was accused of slow play by Nick Kyrgios in the second round and as far back as 2008, Federer criticised Nadal for taking too long between points.
In grand slams, players are allowed a maximum of 20 seconds between points. In 2014 when Federer was told Nadal was averaging 25 seconds between points he said it was “not cool”.
“You cannot take 25 seconds,” he continued. “I mean, I know you need to focus. That you can do in 10 seconds. It just can’t be that we only see two points per minute.”
Federer first faces Nishikori who he has played 10 times and won seven. He lost to him last year at the ATP finals on hard court but the previous six times Federer has won. Just one of those have been on grass.
Nadal and Querry have also some history, with Nadal winning four from five meetings. Again Querry won the last meeting in Acapulco on hard, with Nadal beating him the previous four times none of the meetings on grass.
Novak Djokovic faces David Goffin and leads the head-to-heads 5-1. Again the two have never played on grass. Djokovic has dropped just one set so far and a win over Goffin would set him up against the winner of Guido Pella and Roberto Bautista Agut.
The grit in the ointment is that if it is Djokovic and Bautista Agut in the semi-final, the Spaniard has beaten the Serb in their last two matches, both of them this year.
But at this stage the cartel have 53 Grand Slams between them. They are all thinking ahead.