Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Archive for wimbledon

Federer vs Nadal as it happened

Wimbledon men’s singles final result:

R FEDERER (Swi) 1 v R NADAL (Sp) 2

7-6 4-6 7-6 2-6 6-2

FIFTH SET

Federer 6-2 Nadal
Nadal plops a forehand into the net and the Spaniard is reeling. Someone needs to have a word with Bjorn, he’s gone from battleship grey to chilli-red in the space of four hours. Nadal claws his way back into the game but makes it 15-30 with a mis-hit forehand that lands wide. Federer bunts a backhand long before Nadal shows a featherlite touch at the net, angling a backhand volley to leave Federer nailed to the turf. Federer, like a batsman anticipating a slower ball, runs round a Nadal second serve and clumps it straight back past the Spaniard. The umpire then overrules the line judge and Hawkeye makes the umpire right – Nadal’s advantage. Federer brings it back to deuce with a gun-barrel straight backhand down the line before Nadal gives Federer a Championship point with a ballooned forehand. Nadal saves! Federer gets a net cord that the Spaniard manages to pick up and the Swiss puts a forehand long. A second Championship point after Nadal finds the net with a forehand – and that’s that, Federer’s fifth successive title, sealed with a sizzling overhead. Down goes Roger and on come the waterworks – he really is a sensitive guy. Now that, my friends, was what you call a classic and it was a pleasure telling you all about it.

“There’s nothing as nail biting as reading your live report whilst on a train with an intermittent signal.”
Gary, on a train near Northampton, via text

Federer 5-2 Nadal
That’s a regulation hold for Federer, securing the game with his 24th ace.

Federer 4-2 Nadal
I wonder how Sir Cliff’s holding up – I, for one, am tensing up as the end draws near. That’s mesmerising tennis from Federer, chasing down a poor Nadal volley and whipping a forehand down the line. And that’s three break points, Federer ramming home a forehand winner. Rafa saves the first, Federer pushing a forehand long. But he can’t save the next – what a point. Nadal and Federer pepper the lines in a lengthy exchange before the reigning champion puts Nadal away with a disguised forehand winner. Big fist pump-roar combination from Federer, he knows he’s got Nadal on the ropes. How much dog as Nadal got in him? We’re about to find out.

Federer 3-2 Nadal
Roger’s timing is temporarily off and he frames a backhand wide. Nothing wrong with the next point though, sending a booming serve down the middle and finishing it off with a forehand winner. Federer goes long, and loses a challenge, to make it 15-30 and he hands Nadal another two break points by spooning a forehand wide. This is getting serious. Nadal blows the first, sending a forehand just long, and Roger shows his manliness with a thunderous serve straight down the middle. Federer is some scrapper – Nadal goes long to hand him the advantage before finding the net with a forehand to hand the Swiss the game. This is sport at its best, and certainly the best men’s final since Ivanisevic v Rafter in 2001.

Federer 2-2 Nadal
Solid backhand volley from Nadal takes him to 15-0 and he’s at the net again, this time dispatching an overhead. Nadal puts a tame backhand into the net before rearranging his smalls for the umpteenth time today. That’s one little tick he might want to iron out. Good scrambling from Nadal and eventually Federer mis-hits a forehand long and the Spaniard holds.

“If Nadal keeps reading Federer’s serve as well as he did in that last game, he has a fantastic chance to win here.”
Andy Murray on BBC Five Live

Federer 2-1 Nadal
Fabulous backhand volley from Federer but Nadal hits back with a fine backhand down the line. That’s classic Nadal, wrapping his racquet round the ball on the run and whipping it across Federer and he earns two break points when Federer balloons a backhand long. Nadal, however, blows both, missing the line with an attempted forehand winner on the second. Advantage Federer as Nadal finds the net with a forehand and Federer shows some serious grit to hold, whipping a forehand down the line. The defending champion dodges a bullet.

Federer 1-1 Nadal
Great scrapping from Federer at the back of the court but Nadal moves to 30-15 with a dreamy forehand pass. Federer fluffs a forehand but follows up with a doozy of a forehand that clips the sideline. The Swiss, however, hands Nadal the game with a backhand that lands wide.

Federer 1-0 Nadal
Nadal challenges again – he’s not making any friends in the Federer household – but this time he’s wrong and Federer wins the point. That’s a comfortable hold from Roger, but the crowd seem to be with the Spaniard here at Wimbledon, just as they were with Federer at the French.

“You have to think the momentum is with Nadal now. But we don’t know about his knee, he has cooled down a bit with this mid-set break and Federer has been able to think things over a bit. It’s a coin toss now, it really is.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

“There’s no tie-break in the fifth set. Federer could be in trouble.”
Mike from Poole via text

FOURTH SET

Federer 2-6 Nadal
Nadal finds the line with a backhand to move to 30-0 but Federer’s clinging on for dear life hear, manoeuvring Nadal around the court before winning the point with a surgeon’s touch, whipping a forehand down the line. But that’s a hold for Nadal and also the set, the Spaniard outlasting Federer from the back of the court. We have a decider and it’s official – we have a classic…Nadal’s off to powder his nose…

Federer 2-5 Nadal
Another ace from Rog…and another. Nadal gets a foothold in the game courtesy of some serious forehands and a cheeky drop-volley, but Federer holds quite comfortably. Borg and Santana are having a natter – that’s six Wimbledon titles wedged into just two seats.

Federer 1-5 Nadal
Minor repairs is all, it seems – Nadal is given the run-around, but he punches a backhand winner past the diving Federer. Federer finds the baseline with a backhand volley before Nadal comes up with a double-fault. Hope that injury isn’t affecting his serve…it’s not affecting his backhand – he makes it 30-30 with a clunk down the line. And Nadal holds, Federer sending a backhand return just wide.

“Roger isn’t enjoying the battle, whereas Rafa looks like he is having the best day of his life.”
Gary, Coventry via text

Federer 1-4 Nadal
Federer sends a backhand long as Nadal moves to 15-30 and Federer is a brooding presence at the moment, he makes Heathcliff look like Julian Clary when he’s a bit upset. A little exchange between Nadal and Federer – Roger made a snide remark after Nadal sent a forehand long and Nadal pats a little barb back his way. But Federer clings on, coming up with a couple of big serves at the right time. This is a bit of a concern – Nadal has got the physio on and he’s going to work on his right knee. Nadal would make a mighty fine poker player – not a flicker as the quack prods and pokes his kneecap, although I can hear the cracks from here. Here comes the magic spray and on goes a patella strap. Patch him up and get him back out there – I’m enjoying this.

Federer 0-4 Nadal
Easy hold for Nadal and the winners are spewing forth from his end of the court – he finishes that game with an ace.

Federer 0-3 Nadal
Brutal hitting from Nadal, fizzing a forehand down the line to move to 15-0 and Federer gives up another point, patting the ball tamely into the net. The lineslady takes one for the team as Federer makes it 30-30. Nadal challenges and Hawkeye makes him right – his forehand grazed the line. Then ensues a bizarre exchange between Federer and the umpire – I think he asked for Hawkeye to be turned off. And that’s the break, Federer clipping the top of the net with a forehand. Federer tottering, Nadal’s dander well and truly up. Federer has the raving hump and he has another chunter to the umpire at the end of the game – “it’s killing me” he says, referring to Hawkeye. Federer rattled, and you don’t see that very often.

Federer 0-2 Nadal
Nadal has the bit between his teeth and he moves to 30-0 with a forehand winner. Federer has been getting 81% of his service returns in, so he’s really making his opponent graft. Federer makes it 40-30 with a forehand winner down the middle, but Nadal holds courtesy of a deep first serve.

Federer 0-1 Nadal
Federer is quick out of the blocks in this fourth set but Nadal brings is back to 30-30 with a whipped cross-court pass. That’s a break point for Nadal, Federer spooning a forehand long, and Nadal draws blood, leaving Federer groping at the net with a dipping forehand winner. Roger’s been mugged.

THIRD SET

Federer 7-6 Nadal
A mini-break for Federer, the Swiss clipping the sideline with a forehand. Roger goes 2-0 with a beefy forehand that Nadal can only steer wide, but Nadal breaks back with a fizzing forehand return. These balls are going to need a good rub down and a weekend at a Champneys health resort after this match. Nadal goes long with a forehand, but rams home his 18th forehand winner to make it 3-2. Federer strikes back with an ace out wide before Nadal has a lengthy towel-down and the champion moves to 6-2 as Nadal blazes a backhand well long. Federer blows one set point with a tame backhand into the net but Nadal goes long with a backhand on the next point – that’s Federer’s set, and what a brutal set it was. Federer goes off to point Percy at the porcelain while Nadal collects his thoughts and gets some ‘energy’ down his neck.

“There’s a lot of gruelling rallies out there, with both players contesting every point and refusing to give an inch. Sooner or later, that will take it’s toll on one or both of them.”
BBC Sport pundit John Lloyd

Federer 6-6 Nadal
A couple of net cords and a well-constructed point for Nadal, bringing Federer in with the sliced backhand before whipping home the forehand. Nadal has a sniff, but blows it, crashing a forehand into the net. Big chance that. Federer slams home an ace, which Nadal challenges – it grazed the line, and I reckon Nadal knew it – and wins the game with another. We have another breaker…

Federer 5-6 Nadal
Federer challenges but loses – Nadal’s serve just grazed the line. Good defence from Federer at the back of the court but Nadal hammers home the overhead. Federer’s eyes widen at the sight of a very hittable second serve, but he blazes wide, before Nadal hits a forehand into the net to make it 40-30. Federer, whoever, goes long with a forehand and that’s a hold. This is Roger’s longest game of the tournament so far – how’s he going to hold up? Connors reckons he’d rather had had Nadal’s route to the final, and he knows a thing or two about tennis.

Federer 5-5 Nadal
Federer hammers home another ace to move to 30-0, and another to make it 40-0. That serve has been a serious weapon in this set. A woman’s touch from Nadal, caressing the ball over the net and leaving Federer floundering and Nadal brings it back to deuce. Federer wins the next point, however, Federer rising like a salmon and putting away the backhand smash. And that’s game Federer, the Swiss picking a ball up off his toes at the net after a frenetic exchange.

Federer 4-5 Nadal
Nadal ease 30-0 but Federer forces a mistake with some searching groundstrokes. Nadal uses up another challenge, the ball was correctly called out, and Federer has a little moan-up – Roger’s not a fan of Hawkeye. Federer is peering through the letter box, but Nadal slaps it shut, outlasting the Swiss in a lengthy rally before finding a big serve that Federer can only parry into the net. Haven’t seen an celebs on Centre Court – but there’s Sir Cliff, exchanging some Christian rhymes with a lady in a floral dress.

Federer 4-4 Nadal
Federer dispatches a forehand volley before giving Nadal the run-around with some hefty groundstrokes – 40-0. Nadal slams a forehand return wide and that’s another easy hold. Nadal not keeping Federer honest on his serve at the moment, he needs to be making him graft.

Federer 3-4 Nadal
That almost defied belief from Nadal, wrapping his racquet around the ball on the run and whipping a cross-court winner past Federer. ‘Pop’ goes his racquet, and he opens up a new one. Nadal mis-hits a backhand wide but Federer comes up with an unforced error of his own, fluffing a backhand. Federer finds the net with another backhand and that’s a hold for Nadal. All very comfortable on serve for both men at the moment, but you get the impression it could to go off at any moment.

Federer 3-3 Nadal
Federer comes to the net and punches home a winner before coming up with his 13th ace. Nadal does manage to win a point on the Federer serve when the Swiss finds the net with a backhand. More acrobatics from Nadal, retrieving on the tumble, but Federer dinks the winner cross court to win the game. The line judge called it out, the umpire overruled.

Federer 2-3 Nadal
Awesome from Nadal, whip-cracking a forehand winner down the line, and more of the same, the Spaniard fizzing one past Federer on the other flank. Fairy Liquid hands from Nadal, dinking an angled drop-shot that leaves Federer rooted. This is a dog fight – who’s got more mongrel?

“While Nadal’s playing exquisite tennis, I’m a bit perplexed as to why Federer is choosing to duke it out on the baseline with the Spaniard.”
sports4ever07 on 606

Federer 2-2 Nadal
Federer sends down ace 11 and 12 and moves to 40-0 with another serve that Nadal can only parry. Cheap game for Federer, Nadal plonking a backhand into the net – that took about a minute.

Federer 1-2 Nadal
New balls and Federer switches to a new racquet, as is his habit. Some hearty groundstrokes from Nadal and he moves to 30-0. Beautifully-constructed point from Federer, luring Nadal in with a sliced backhand before whipping home the forehand winner. That’s a serious piece of low torque titanium mesh Nadal’s wielding, and that’s a hold, Nadal whipping home a forehand winner.

Federer 1-1- Nadal
Nadal is taking plenty of time between games, even when he’s not supposed to, and you can’t help thinking there are some mind games going on here – Roger doesn’t like to be kept waiting. Federer eases to 40-0 before Nadal pulls off a crackerjack shot, an angled backhand on the run. But Federer out-slugs Nadal from the baseline and that’s a hold.

Federer 0-1- Nadal
Backhand winner down the line from Federer before he gets a spot of chin music from Nadal, the ball rearing up off the sideline. Federer fends the ball off and puts away a classic cross-court backhand winner. Nadal levels things at 30-30 but Federer has a break point after Nadal goes long with a backhand. Federer is unable to punish a Nadal second serve, slicing a backhand long, and Nadal pulls out a plum of a serve to hold. Big cahones from Nadal.

“Federer is getting a little irritated over the last couple of games and I get the feeling he is a little off-kilter at the moment.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

SECOND SET

Federer 4-6 Nadal
Federer is getting a little testy out there – another net cord and Nadal puts away the forehand winner. Shades of Becker from Nadal, the Spaniard scrambling at the back of the court before clipping home a backhand winner while tumbling backwards. Federer has another little chunter – he thought his serve was out and wasn’t prepared for the return. Not clever. And that’s two break points, Federer unable to live with a beefy backhand, and Nadal only needs one, punching a backhand winner past the groping Swiss. Things are level – told you it would be a classic…

Federer 4-5 Nadal
Nadal gets a welcome net cord and makes the most of it, fizzing a top-spin forehand past a groping Federer. There is something almost sinister about the way Federer goes about his work – silently floating across the surface of the court, oblivious to the maternity ward gruntings coming down from the other end. Federer finds a break, but Nadal finds good length on his first serve to save. An unforced error from Federer, plopping a backhand into the base of the net, and Nadal holds, Federer sticking his return long. Federer had his head in the door, but Nadal managed to slam it closed.

Federer 4-4 Nadal
Nadal goes long with a forehand and misses the sideline with an attempted pass. Nadal getting some serious whip with that grip of his, but Federer gets the better of a baseline rally before winning the game with a forehand volley. Getting to the business end of the set now…

“Federer has only had his service broken four times in these Championships so far. When he serves at his quickest – around 130mph – his opponent has just 0.55 seconds to react, which is the equivalent of facing an Andrew Flintoff seamer. It is no wonder he is so hard to break.”
BBC Sport analyst Jason Goodall

Federer 3-4 Nadal
Federer has a grumble about a Nadal serve, but doesn’t challenge. Nadal moves easily to 40-30 but a couple of unforced errors gives Federer a whiff of a chance. Federer, however, does blow another challenge, Hawkeye deciding his forehand down the line was just out, and Nadal takes the game.

“It’s crucial that Nadal wins this set, you don’t want to go two sets down against Federer. And the Spaniard is hitting the ball outrageously hard in a bid to stay on top of the current champion.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 3-3 Nadal
Nadal has a sniff at 15-30, Federer punching a backhand long, but Federer dredges up a big first serve to make it 15-40 – no he doesn’t! Nadal challenges and Hawkeye says it just missed the line. Federer bristles. Nadal then outlasts Federer from the baseline to earn two break points, but Federer saves with two aces. Touche. This is savage serving from the Swiss – another ace, and Mirka screams “allez!” Fine hold from Federer as Nadal goes long with a forehand. Gutsy.

Federer 2-3 Nadal
Some meaty ground-strokes from Federer, and he moves to 30-30 with a searching forehand that leaves Nadal groping at thin air. Federer, however, balloons long from the rear of the court before Nadal outlasts Federer in a distinctly clay court rally. Nadal’s girlfriend is clinging onto her stress ball for dear life. What would I give to be that stress ball.

Federer 2-2 Nadal
It is difficult not to use boxing analogies when you’re writing about Nadal – a bold and bristling unit, he goes about his business like a welterweight brawler, bouncing from foot to foot and sending home the occasional clunking blow. That said, that’s a straightforward service hold for Roger.

Federer 1-2 Nadal
Nadal gets the better of a lengthy exchange, failing to put away the overhead but forcing Federer into a mistake on his backhand. Nadal in Road Runner mode, skipping across the baseline and just failing to put away an attempted forehand winner, but that’s a hold, Federer plopping the ball into the net on his forehand. It’s all strappy tops and flip-flops on Centre Court and there’s a couple of fragrant English peaches in the front row. Lovely stuff.

“That’s a continental quilt of a jacket that man’s got on – in fact, it’s a bet…”
BBC pundit Andrew Castle

Federer 1-1 Nadal
Cat and mouse at the net and Nadal wins the point, dredging up a backhand pass from nowhere. But that’s a safe hold for Federer, the Swiss sealing it with a forehand winner down the line.

Federer 0-1 Nadal
Federer puts away an overhead and there is something balletic about everything this man does, whether it’s displaying soft hands at the net or driving home a forehand smash. Federer challenges, but the shot from Nadal was in. Solid hold from Nadal and he seals it with a whipped forehand pass.

“This is tennis of the absolute highest quality we are seeing here.”
BBC Sport pundit John Lloyd

FIRST SET

Federer 7-6 Nadal
Federer holds on his serve before Nadal draws level with a scrambling backhand pass from the rear of the court. That’s the first mini-break, Nadal finding the net with a backhand. Federer moves 3-1 ahead after Nadal misses the sideline and 4-1 ahead courtesy of a sturdy serve. Nadal closes the gap but that’s another mini-break, the Spaniard missing with a forehand. Some welcome luck for Nadal as he benefits from a net cord, but Federer brings up three set-points with an easy forehand winner. Nadal shows some spunk, however, winning the next two points to make it 6-4, but he mis-hits a backhand wide…no he doesn’t! He’s challenged, and Hawkeye shows it clipped the line. Tremendous scrapping from Nadal, and he’s levelled, Federer sticking a forehand into the net. The Swiss edges ahead again, Nadal finding the net with a forehand, but that’s another unforced error from the reigning champion, Federer making the net billow with a backhand from the back of the court. This is very tense – another unforced error from Rafa and that’s the set to Federer, the Swiss hitting the lines before floating to the net and punching home a backhand volley. You get the feeling Nadal needed to draw first blood in this match, but one thing’s for sure – even when the fat lady’s singing, Rafa will still be swinging.

Federer 6-6 Nadal
Meaty forehand from Nadal leaves Federer floundering at the back of the court and Nadal moves to 40-0 with a big first serve. That’s class from Nadal, leaving Federer rooted the spot with a cleverly-disguised backhand winner. We have a tie-break…

Federer 6-5 Nadal
Federer all over the net and he moves to 30-0 with a forehand volley. Another ace from Roger, but he makes it 40-15 with a forehand that goes long. It’s another solid hold for the Swiss, however, and he finishes it off with a gentle forehand winner.

Federer 5-5 Nadal
Nadal just misses the line with an attempted backhand pass but makes it 15-15 with a change of pace, getting Federer scrambling with a cheeky drop-shot. Nadal has cranked the grunt up to 11 and he gets the better of the best rally of the match so far, recovering an attempted backhand pass from Federer before delivering the coup de grace, a pearler of a forehand pass from behind the baseline. We have a final, ladies and gents.

“What will be starting to prey on Federer’s mind is that he has generally hit good approach shots, but when they are not absolutely spot on, Nadal is whipping winners past him.”
BBC Sport pundit John Lloyd

Federer 5-4 Nadal
I suspect these Ralph Lauren shirts the ball boys and girls are wearing would go down a storm in the bars of Basildon – how big is that logo? No problems for Federer on his serve, a safe hold to 15.

Federer 4-4 Nadal
Nadal comes into the net but he’s not comfortable up there, dollying up a volley and Federer punishing him with a whipped cross-court forehand. Nadal retaliates, fizzing a forehand winner down the line before Federer misses with an attempted forehand winner. Roger goes long with a backhand before giving up the game with another unforced error. Solid hold from Nadal.

“The way Federer sweeps the ball around the court leads me to believe that he is a thoughtful and caring lover.”
Nozza on 606

Federer 4-3 Nadal
Straightforward hold from Federer, despite the double-fault, the Swiss hitting the lines and Nadal unable to cope.

Federer 3-3 Nadal
Nadal really giving Federer the run-around and he forces the Swiss into an error with a beefy forehand into the corner and Nadal burns Federer with a fizzing top-spin forehand down the line. Rafa’s hit a hot streak, although he could do with buying his shorts the next size up, they’re permanently riding up his jacksie. That’s a hold and Federer knows he’s got a game on.

“No wonder Nadal’s been on court for fourteen hours. Half that time he’s preparing to serve.”
Greg, Tom and Jamie via text

Federer 3-2 Nadal
Gossamer touch from Federer, catching out Nadal with a peachy drop-shot at the end of a muscular exchange. Good retaliation from Nadal, whipping a cross-court forehand winner from behind the baseline. Another pass from Nadal, this time a double-fisted backhand, and he earns his first break with a forehand winner off a Federer second serve. Federer finds a big first serve to bring it back to deuce but goes long with a forehand. And Nadal’s broken back, clubbing a backhand down the line to leave Federer floundering. This is bubbling up rather nicely.

Federer 3-1 Nadal
Federer goes long with a forehand before Rafa sneaks into the net and puts away a volley. Nadal slugging away from the baseline and he forces Federer into an error on the backhand before dredging up a big serve to seal the game. Better from the Spaniard, he’s loosened up a touch.

“Rafa is a little over-anxious, while Federer is comfortable hitting the ball short in the court to bring the Spaniard into the net. It’s the perfect start for the Swiss.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 3-0 Nadal
Apologies to Mirka – she’s Roger’s girlfriend, not his wife. Although I’m sure she’d like to be. Another regulation hold from Federer – he gets a slice of luck with a net cord and seals the game with a dreamy cross-court backhand pass. Anxious start from the Spaniard, Roger looks as if he’s knocking up against his garage wall.

Federer 2-0 Nadal
Some robust serving from Nadal takes him to 40-0 and the Spaniard is stalking Centre Court like a baby bull. Nadal really is a fine physical specimen, like a load of snooker balls poured into a flesh-coloured stocking. Nadal comes up with his first double-fault of the match and makes it 40-30 with a forehand into the net from close range. Federer then unfurls his first winner of the day, a cross-court backhand that leaves Nadal nailed to the spot. Fine defence from Federer while Nadal fails to put away an overhead and ends up losing the point – break point. Federer, however, sticks a backhand into the net to make it deuce. Big serve down the middle from Nadal, but he follows up with another unforced error, slamming a forehand into the net. Nadal makes a rare foray to the net but fails to put away a forehand volley and Federer makes him pay, picking up a ball off his toes and fizzing a backhand winner down the line. Nadal saves, the Swiss plonking a forehand long, but Federer earns another break point, punishing a tame second serve. And that’s first blood to the defending champion, Nadal slapping a forehand into the net.

Federer 1-0 Nadal
Federer kicks off with an ace and moves to 30-0 after Nadal plops the ball tamely into the bottom of the net. Nadal does win his first point courtesy of a fluffed Federer forehand, but Federer holds after Nadal can only stick a return into the net. No dramas in the opening game.

1412: Shirt-sleeve weather at Wimbledon and it’s bordering on a miracle that we’re playing this final today after the Biblical weather we’ve been having. And here we go, Federer about to get play under way…

1407: Players are knocking up and the atmosphere is crackling on Centre Court. Federer, as ever, looks the more relaxed of the two, as if he’s having some hit and giggle at Centre Parcs. His girlfriend Mirka has plumped for the C3PO look today. That jacket’s actually made of gold…apparently.

“No doubt! Federer is going to please us by doing it for the fifth time. I found him to be decent and wonderful. May God bless him.”
Danny on 606

“Federer is so lovely and polite. Hope he equals Borg’s record.”
Donna via text

1403: Here’s the toss. Rafa keeps them all waiting, knees bouncing up and down in his chair, before bounding over to the net. The UK’s youngest guide dog owner flips the coin, Roger calls correctly and the Swiss will serve first.

1401: And here they come, Federer resplendent in white blazer and slacks (he’ll be handing out tie and blazer-badge combination packs after the game) and Nadal looking like he’s just flown in from an 18-30 in Benidorm. Not since Vere St Leger Goold back in 1879 has SW19 seen anyone as fly as Federer.

1358: Nadal and Federer have their little pointless chat before taking to the court – Nadal looks jittery, as if he’s just about to go over the top, Roger looks like he’s just walked off the set of The Great Gatsby.

“He is the most complete player on the tour. But if I have the chances in the final, I will believe more than I did last year. If I win here, it will be the best moment of my career…”
Rafael Nadal

“Federer is the complete tennis player – he has no weaknesses. To see him play is like watching an artist. If he continues the way he is doing, he’ll be the greatest player ever to play the game. Nadal needs to serve well, keep him at the back of the court and come in a little bit more.”
Five-time champion Bjorn Borg

1350: A big question is, how is Nadal’s body bearing up after a tortuous week? He’s been involved in every day of action since last Saturday. Federer, of course, had his feet up for five days so should be fresh as a daisy. He certainly looked as fresh as a daisy in his semi-final against Richard Gasquet, but has shown signs (Hallelujah!) of mortality in this tournament. A souped-up Nadal could take advantage.

1348: McEnroe, Connors and Borg are chewing the fat on Centre Court like three old soaks propping up a bar. All three have aged well, and I, for one, am stoked they all get on so handsomely.

“For anyone who plays tennis, this is the tournament to win…”
Five-time champion Bjorn Borg

1345: The suspicion is that the gap between Federer and Nadal on grass is larger than the gap between Nadal and Federer on clay, but if all our suspicions came true, Jimmy Connors wouldn’t have beaten John McEnroe in 1982 and Sue Barker and Cliff Richard would be married.

“If the courts were as slow as they are now when I was playing, Borg would have won 10 Wimbledon titles…”
Three-time champion John McEnroe

1340: So this is it, the final most people expected and the final most people wanted. In boxing terms, it’s a classic match-up – the stylist versus the slugger, the rapier versus the cudgel. Forget fast cars and Frenchmen on bikes, stick with this – it could be a vintage encounter

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Williams-Bartoli as it happened

Wimbledon women’s final result: V WILLIAMS (US) 23 v M BARTOLI (Fr) 18

6-4 6-11559: And that’s it – as the players parade the trophies around the ground and the press corp and crowd get their photos – I will bid you adieu and remind you to rejoin me tomorrow for the Federer-Nadal match. I’ve been predicting one all week, but THAT might just be a classic… Laters people.

1557: Venus, struggling to follow Bartoli’s Oscar-winning speech, dishes out a list of thank-yous as long as your arm and then thanks the All England club for bringing the women’s’ winnings in line with the men. Well, you would, wouldn’t you.

1554: Bartoli – the new darling of Centre Court – thanks the crowd, “the best grass-court player in the world” Venus and her father in the crowd, prompting huge cheers and tears from her dad in the stands. Wonderful stuff, I’m actually getting a bit choked – tart that I am.

1552: Marion Bartoli, eyes red with tears, comes up to collect her runner-up plate and is greeted by a wonderful, and deserved ovation. But the biggest cheer is saved for Venus, the new Wimbledon champion.

1550: As the Duke of Kent makes his way onto Centre Court in order to present Venus the trophy, Venus’s little sister Serena gets the camera out… ah, bless her.

SECOND SET

Williams 6-4 6-1 Bartoli
That’s it. A brave, brave effort from Bartoli, who certainly earned herself a few more fans on Centre Court, but Venus Williams’s power and accuracy always looked like it would prove too much for her. A 125mph service winner highlights the power of Venus’s strokeplay and she holds to 30 with a couple of forehand winners and a massive service winner. That’s the American’s fourth Wimbledon title and what an SW19 champion she is.

Williams 6-4 5-1 Bartoli
Oh dear, that is more than likely curtains for Bartoli as she goes down to deuce on serve. Venus continues to drill through the line of the ball with awesome power and Bartoli fails to cope, going long and then hitting the net to go down two break points. Somehow the Frenchwoman saves both with brilliant backhands but Venus brings up a third with a volley and forehands home to move to within four points of the Championship.

Williams 6-4 4-1 Bartoli
Impressive from Venus, who is nearing the finish line in this second set with some big hitting. Bartoli hangs tough with a couple of big backhands, but the American, with her left thigh heavily strapped now, is starting to hit the corners with awesome regularity and the end could be near…

“…obviously not.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

Williams 6-4 3-1 Bartoli
Bartoli may not win this match, but she has certainly won the crowd’s affection. First she joins in the Mexican wave, then she laughs and plays along good-naturedly when someone calls out to her just as she is about to serve, and then she serves out a love game with a big fat smile on her face. Go on girl.

“The break clearly favoured Bartoli more you have to say and you wonder if Venus has lost her edge right now.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

“She did the Mexican wave with the crowd, she’s was relaxed and laughing (during Venus’s injury break), and maybe it’s loosened her up a bit.”
Five Live’s Michael Stich on Bartoli

1530: And here comes the Mexican wave, which ordinarily I would find loathsome but as both the contents of the royal box and Bartoli herself join in, I guess it’s ok. And we’re back under way…

1527: Venus, not wanting to be out-done, responds by calling for a massage and a spot of treatment herself. It’s quite technical treatment, consisting of a woman waving a bunch of tissues at Venus’s groin – I kid you not. Is having a warm groin reason enough to call for a trainer?

1521: We have a trainer out on court as Bartoli calls for a change of bandages on her left foot, apparently because of blisters. Call me a woolly woofter, but I always find it icky when physios or trainers have to mess about with sportspeople’s feet – the smell alone would make me heave, let alone picking sock fluff out of blisters and what not. Eeewww.

Williams 6-4 3-0 Bartoli
A glimmer for Bartoli, who goes 30-0 up against the serve, but Venus takes a huge step towards the title with a series of brutal serves to win four points in a row and hold.

Williams 6-4 2-0 Bartoli
Venus has upped her game again and displays terrific athleticism to recover from a slip to bludgeon a forehand winner to move to 30-15 up. Bartoli somehow fends off brilliant Venus defence to level but then throws up another double fault – her fifth – to go break point down. The rally of the match ensues, Bartoli sending Williams all over the court before forcing the error on the 21st stroke to go to deuce, but a forehand error gifts Venus another break chance. It is saved again, but Venus brings up a third with a sensational overhead backhand winner and then sends a terrific forehand down the line to seal the game. Unbelievable quality from both players in that match, but you wonder if Bartoli’s hopes are fading here.

Williams 6-4 1-0 Bartoli
Venus holds to 30 to kick off the set, holding off renewed Bartoli aggression and producing a superb forehand slice into the corner to seal the game.

FIRST SET

Williams 6-4 Bartoli
Venus senses an opportunity and screams – literally and metaphorically – groundstroke after groundstroke back at Bartoli. Two massive backhands put her 30-0 up and Bartoli’s fourth double fault hands the American two break points. Bartoli digs in to save the first with a fine backhand crosscourt, but Venus makes the most of the second with a backhand volley and that’s the set.

“Venus was the overwhelming favourite coming in, and you’d have to think after that first set that she will relax even more. She can sense the finishing line now and, as much as a fighter as Bartoli is, I’m not sure Venus will crumble like Henin did yesterday.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

Williams 5-4 Bartoli
Just what the doctor ordered as far as Venus is concerned, holding to love without alarm. Daddy Richard looks unmoved in the cheering section. Daddy Bartoli is sat directly behind him, just about resisting the urge to make bunny ears behind Williams’s head every time the camera focuses on them.

Williams 4-4 Bartoli
Great work from Bartoli, bringing out the big berther on serve and forcing Venus long on her returns. The Frenchwoman holds to 15, sealing the game with a thumping backhand. Any thoughts that Venus would overpower her opponent have been utterly silenced out on Centre.

“Bartoli has found her game now, no doubt about that, and the confidence is rising in her.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

Williams 4-3 Bartoli
You can tell Venus is looking to get things pumping because she’s brought out the Williams grunt. It’s not yet hitting the heights on the Richter scale, but it’s getting there. Bartoli responds by going on the all-out attack to varying degrees of success, twice smashing winners, but more often than not either going long or seeing a Venus return fly by her feet. The American holds to 30.

Williams 3-3 Bartoli
Now we’re cooking baby. Bartoli sends a sensational forehand winner down the line to gain the early initiative before Venus responds with a fantastic crosscourt backhand of her own that grazes the line and pulls her back to 30-30. A couple of big Bartoli serves see out the match and there’s a sense that we’re in for some magic today.

Williams 3-2 Bartoli
A first glimmer of the match for Bartoli, twice forcing the error to move to 30-15 up on Venus’s serve and the American then double faulting to hand her two break points. Venus saves one but then sends a forehand long to hand Bartoli the break. We have a match ladies and gentlemen!

“Much better from Bartoli, who is sensing that Venus is a little vulnerable on the second serve and the forehand side. Venus doesn’t have the aura she did when she won in 2000 and Bartoli might sense an opportunity here.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Williams 3-1 Bartoli
With Johnny Mac and Tracy Austin rabbitting away like a couple of OAPs at a bus stop in the Comm box, poor old David Mercer can barely get a word in. I wonder if he’s asleep? If he is, the cheer of the Centre Court crowd ought to wake him as Bartoli gets her first game on the board. The Frenchwoman double faults twice and has to fend off another break point, but she pulls a couple of big forehands out of the bag on her way to a precious hold.

Williams 3-0 Bartoli
Venus consolidates with a good service game, Bartoli snatching the odd point with a couple of big groundstrokes but, otherwise, the American dominates. Venus’s serve is already ticking over nicely and that does not bode well for Bartoli.

“So often the nerves can hit, the feet don’t move and you start to struggle. Venus is such a big hitter that Bartoli can’t get away with that if she wants to get into this match.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Williams 2-0 Bartoli
Bartoli gets her first point on the board as Venus pushes a forehand long, but is fortunate to draw level at 30-30 when the American finds the net with a simple return of serve. The Frenchwoman comes out on top of the first rally of the match with a crosscourt winner, but Venus takes it to deuce with a forehand and goes on to break thanks to a Bartoli double fault. Whoopsie daisy Martin Hayesy as my good friend Mr Ben Dirs would say.

Williams 1-0 Bartoli
Bartoli, who lost the toss despite the tried-and-tested ‘tails never fails’ approach, receives first and Venus Williams holds to love, mixing powerful groundstrokes with the odd delicate drop-shot or slice. Judging by the cheers of the crowd, they’re backing Bartoli the underdog too – will the 18th seed be able to rise to the occasion?

“I’d love to be able to measure Bartoli’s heart-rate right now – it’s got to be tipping 250 bpm.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

1414: Rather amusingly, Bartoli seems to be getting somewhat annoyed that Venus keeps zipping groundstokes past her into the corners, rather than engaging in the usual easy-does-it knock-up. An early attempt to gain the mental edge from the American? That’s just not cricket. They say Britons love an underdog, well I’m going for Bartoli to produce one of the greatest stories of these magnificent Championships today…

“Bartoli has got to press her game early and try to get into the match as soon as possible. If she does, she’s got good hands and a good eye, and she might just cause an upset.”
BBC Sport pundit Martina Navratilova

1407: With plenty of the crowd grabbing a fresh Pimms, the two girls bounce onto court, bouquet of flowers in tow, and receive a decent ovation. Venus looks ridiculously mean and focused, like big Clint Eastwood in his prime, while Bartoli adopts the usual lost-dog nervy look. Just as she did before dispensing with Henin last night…

1404: Few people will have predicted this match-up at the start of the tournament but I reckon this might surprise a few people and turn out a classic. Venus Williams has been in supreme form all fortnight, but Marion Bartoli was unbelievable last night against Justine Henin. Picture desk Jez, who tipped Bartoli against the odds last night, thinks the Frenchwoman has had her day in the sun and Venus will win in straight sets. Blooming turncoat.

Federer vs Gasquet as it happened

 

Wimbledon semi-final result: R FEDERER (Swi) 1 v R GASQUET (Fra) 12

7-5 6-3 6-4

THIRD SET

Federer 7-5 6-3 6-4 Gasquet
That’s it, all over, bosh. Gasquet snatches the first point of the game with a neat return and brings it back to 30-30, after another Federer ace, when he forces the error on the backhand. A tremendous crosscourt backhand earns Federer match point, though, and the Swiss seals the victory with a forehand winner. Apparently Novak Djokovic has been forced to pull out of his semi-final against Rafael Nadal through injury, so it’ll be a repeat of last year’s final – Federer v Nadal – Sunday, Centre Court. Jubbly.

“Federer took care of business, no more, no less.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 7-5 6-3 5-4 Gasquet
Gasquet holds with a couple of big backhands – you can’t fault his tenacity, I guess – but Federer looks poised and ready at the change of ends.

Federer 7-5 6-3 5-3 Gasquet
And the break is consolidated by the big-serving Swiss, holding to 15 with Gasquet looking like he’s sat all the way through a tense horror, only to be told by his dad that he’s too young to watch the gruesome ending. In other words, miffed but with an air of resignation… What do you mean that metaphor didn’t work? Ah come on, it’s Saturday people, give me a break…

Federer 7-5 6-3 4-3 Gasquet
A glimmer for Federer as Gasquet plays a couple of loose strokes long to help the Swiss to 30-15 up, and a forehand into the open court at the net brings R-Fed break point. Unbelievably, and yet so predictably at the same time, it’s all the invitation Federer needs as he smashes a backhand down the line for the winner. After game after game of easy points, Federer knows just when to strike and Richard has blown a Gasquet out there….sorry.

“Federer cries out because he knows that’s the match. He won’t be broken here and this could be over pretty soon.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 7-5 6-3 3-3 Gasquet
Guess what? Game Federer. To 15 this time. Dum de dum.

Federer 7-5 6-3 2-3 Gasquet
A sense of inevitability hangs over Centre Court, despite Gasquet doing well on another service game. The Frenchman holds to 15, producing a couple of booming serves, but he still looks a little unnervy on that ankle and Federer just appears to be biding his time.

Federer 7-5 6-3 2-2 Gasquet
The third love service game in a row, with Gasquet barely making an effort on the Federer serve. Perhaps he is just looking to hold his serve time and again in the hope he can edge a tie-breaker? Oh I don’t know. For me, he’s making this a little too easy for R-Fed.

Federer 7-5 6-3 1-2 Gasquet
Fair play to Gasquet out there, he is refusing to buckle… just yet, anyway. He pulls off a miraculous forehand winner to go 30-0 up and then feels the benefit of a net cord to seal the game to love. Right back atcha Fedster.

“Gasquet should be totally relaxed now – he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 7-5 6-3 1-1 Gasquet
Federer is so comfortable he’s bringing out the whole bag of tricks – squash shots, backhand overhead volleys, the lot. He holds to love.

Federer 7-5 6-3 0-1 Gasquet
Federer goes for the kill early doors, bringing up deuce with a booming backhand to put real pressure on Gasquet, but the Frenchman launches a service winner and backhand across court to seal a crucial hold.

1322: Gasquet calls for the trainer, apparently looking to have his ankle strapped, but Michael Novotny clearly came by bus as it takes him five minutes just to get out on Court. When he eventually arrives he calls for the three-minute break to attend to the Frenchman. Gamesmanship or a genuine problem? Federer could not look less bothered if someone had told him they had forgotten to set his video recorder for the Tokyo version of the Live Earth concert. Seriously, it’s no wonder Sarah Brightman is such a big star out there – they’re homegrown ‘talent’ is… well, not good.

SECOND SET

Federer 7-5 6-3 Gasquet
It would appear Federer was just conserving his energy in the last game as he produces the consummate service game to hold to love and sink another nail into Gasquet’s coffin out on Centre Court.

“I keep going back to yesterday when Gasquet came back against Roddick. He just threw caution to the wind and it paid off brilliantly. It’s a little different for him today, though, I fear.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 7-5 5-3 Gasquet
Gasquet ensures Federer must serve out the set with an impressive service game of his own. The Swiss fails to get three back over the net and Gasquet holds with ease. Totty-watch springs into gear with a couple of lovelies spotted in the crowd – you gotta love those summer dresses. And I’m not even talking about RG’s piece.

Federer 7-5 5-2 Gasquet
I don’t know, you do your best for these people – sending out an almighty bok against Federer – and yet Gasquet cannot take advantage. A brilliant backhand winner aside, the Frenchman fails to cope with the Swiss’s serve and Federer looks comfortable on his way to a hold.

Federer 7-5 4-2 Gasquet
Gasquet survives as scare at 15-30 to produce a backhand winner on his way to a hold. It might not be all over just yet – as Jimmy Connors points out, Gasquet looked down and out after two sets against Roddick last night but found inspiration to come back, so why not again here? Well, for one Jimmy, because he’s facing arguably the best grass-court player ever. Secondly, he’s not playing nearly as well as last night. Thirdly, he looks cream-crackered. Fourthly…

“It’s hard to explain why Gasquet has lost his edge in this set. Federer has gone up a level, but he’s gone down a level and now he’s just hanging on for dear life.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 7-5 4-1 Gasquet
No sign of let-up on serve from Federer, though, bringing up another ace on his way to an alarm-free hold to 15.

Federer 7-5 3-1 Gasquet
Relief for Gasquet as he holds to 15 with Federer taking a breather. The Frenchman did get his forehand going again in that game, though, but RG’s piece looks unmoved.

Federer 7-5 3-0 Gasquet
Game Federer to love and it is one-way traffic out on Centre Court. It’s not all bad for Gasquet, though, as a quick glance up to the stands shows his missus is an absolute treat. The classic French beauty, she is almost certainly someone famous but I can’t place her. Therefore I shall be referring to her as “RG’s piece” for the remainder of this clockwatch.

“Federer is just ruthless; seemingly indominatable on the big points and solid in defence at all other times. It’s scary.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 7-5 2-0 Gasquet
And all of a sudden, Federer is making it all look remarkably easy, breaking Gasquet to 15 with a brilliant backhand down the line. He’s not yet roaring at full speed, the Swiss, but he’s definitely up a gear.

Federer 7-5 1-0 Gasquet
Federer does what he does best – turns the knife. He holds to 15 with a few booming serves and a couple of decent groundstrokes. Bjorn Borg looks on from the stands having, quite clearly, let one rip, because there is not a soul sat near him. Either he’s trumped or his new “Eau de Shagwar” after-shave is doing him no favours.

FIRST SET

Federer 7-5 Gasquet
Unbelievable! I can only apologise to Gasquet because, having built him up all set, I clearly put the mockers on him and Federer breaks to take the set. I really do have a quite remarkable knack for that – I can’t wait til I’m clockwatching on an England football match so I can bok the opponents time and again. From 40-15 down, Federer finds his length on his backhand to move to break point and Gasquet nets a volley at the net to concede the set. That has to be heartbreaking for the Frenchman.

“The key to Grand Slam tennis is taking your chances when you get them. Gasquet has had them, going to 30-30 against serve time and again, and not taken them, while Federer gets a sniff and that’s it, set over.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 6-5 Gasquet
Genius from Gasquet, out-hitting the master hitter and bringing up two set points with a fabulous forehand on the run. Federer saves one with an ace and the next with a brutal forehand, though, and the Swiss produces two more sizzling forehands to hold. Cries from around the office of “Federer’s gone!” and “spent force!” might be a tad on the premature side, but Gasquet is by far the better player at the moment.

Federer 5-5 Gasquet
The first sign of nerves on the Gasquet serve, producing a couple of unforced errors to let Federer back in at 40-30, but a wide forehand from the Swiss gifts the Frenchman the game. Federer really does not look at all settled, it’s all a little strange.

Federer 5-4 Gasquet
Gasquet takes Federer to 30-30 yet again, but the Swiss again digs deep and finds a way out with the hold. Gasquet must now serve to stay in the set.

“What impresses me so much about Federer is that even though he’s not playing well, and even though Gasquet is firing early, he is still winning.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 4-4 Gasquet
A host of “stars” are out in force on Centre Court – Terry Wogan and Maggie Thatcher to name but two. Unfortunately, it would appear they are not sitting together – what banter those two would have. Especially as Wogan looks half cut already. Gasquet continues to look comfortable on serve, holding to 15 and Federer still struggling to make his returns.

“Gasquet will be delighted to have settled into his game so early.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 4-3 Gasquet
Gasquet is still making enough returns to give Federer the odd problem on serve, but the Swiss always finds a big serve to pull the game out of the bag. The Swiss holds to 30, but eight unforced errors tell you all you need to know about how rusty Federer has been at the start of this match.

Federer 3-3 Gasquet
Gasquet’s second challenge of the match is successful – as was his first – and he holds to love with a series of decent groundstrokes. The only downside of the challenge system, of course, is that all tension and arguments are nipped in the bud immediately – where’s the drama in that? Player: “You can not be serious, the ball was in!” Umpire: “Erm, no it wasn’t – look at the computer”. Player: “Oh”. Johnny McEnroe wouldn’t have known what to do with himself.

Federer 3-2 Gasquet
R-Fed is still looking a little rusty – just as he did early on in his quarter-final against JC Ferrero – and a backhand pass down the line puts Gasquet 30-0 up. A back-to-basics serve-and-volley game draws Federer level, but another forehand error hands Gasquet break point. Out comes the trusty serve, though, and the Swiss holds. This match has yet to really find it’s rhythm yet.

“I like the patience Gasquet is showing, while Federer is mixing it up quite well. The quality and aggression isn’t quite there yet, but it’s coming.”
BBC Sport pundit Jimmy Connors

Federer 2-2 Gasquet
The first meaningful exchange of the match sees the pair share 12 strokes before Federer forces the forehand error to move to 30-30, and the Swiss nets his first break point thanks to a volleyed error from Gasquet. He pushes a backhand wide to give it away, though, and Gasquet pulls off a terrific crosscourt forehand on the run on his way to a hold.

Federer 2-1 Gasquet
His groundstrokes might not yet be ticking – neither are Gasquet’s to be fair – but Federer has certainly found some early rhythm on his serve as he holds to love.

“Federer has dominated the head-to-head with Gasquet despite losing their first meeting, and it only goes to show that he will always find a way to beat a player. Gasquet is much improved of late, though, and his performance against Roddick last night shows he is hitting the top of his game. This could be close.”
BBC Sport pundit Greg Rusedski

Federer 1-1 Gasquet
A rather sedate opening to this match, as if both players have spent the morning watching Live Earth as opposed to warming up. I caught a few of the performances from the Tokyo gig earlier as it happens – what a strange old bunch of “musicians” that was, almost all of whom were dressed in school uniforms. Weird. Anyway, Gasquet holds to 30 without too much alarm, Federer still to get his groundstrokes going.

Federer 1-0 Gasquet
Mixed start from Federer, sending down an ace and a couple of big forehands along with a couple of unforced errors, and a Gasquet backhand overhead brings the Frenchman to deuce. An ace and service winner seal the hold for the reigning champ, though.

1210: The warm-ups are complete, and we’re about to get under way under bright sunshine…

1204: Gary Richardson grabs, although not literally, the players just before they step onto court (that always seems terribly intrusive and quite probably annoying) and Federer says he is “excited but a bit nervous”, while Gasquet is “a little tired”. Asked his gameplan against the world number one, the Frenchman says: “Nothing. Just to enjoy it.” Federer in straight sets then…

1159: Oh yes, and the all-important weather update – it’s sunny, with barely a cloud in the sky. Yes, seriously.

1157: A quick look at the head-to-head between these two and, unsurprisingly, Federer has the edge. The pair have met six times, with Federer winning the last five and Gasquet’s only success coming on clay in Monte Carlo in 2005. The Swiss has also beaten Gasquet twice in a final – in Hamburg in 2005 and the Masters Series in Canada last year – so the Frenchman will be desperate for revenge you would think.

1153: As one colleague put it this morning, I am a one-man e-commentating machine. Football? No problem. F1? Let me at it. Wimbledon? Bring it on. And I’m on for The Open golf championships in a couple of weeks too – loving it, loving it, loving it. No you can’t have a job swap.

Anyway, today is all about the tennis – and what a Saturday we have in store. First up is Roger Federer against Richard Gasquet, whose stunning comeback victory over Andy Roddick last night almost went unnoticed thanks to compatriot Marion Bartoli’s even more impressive win over Justine Henin. R-Fed is of course the odds-on favourite, but after the way Gasquet played last night, you never know…

Nadal v Djokovic as it happened

 

Wimbledon semi-final result: R NADAL (Spa) 2 v N DJOKOVIC (Ser) 4

3-6 6-1 4-1

DJOKOVIC CONCEDES THE MATCH THIRD SET

Nadal 3-6 6-1 4-1 Djokovic
Nadal breaks again as Djokovic looks to be struggling. The Serb calls for the trainer a second time but decides he can’t continue and concedes the match. Surely there must be more troubling him than a blistered little toe? All will be revealed, I’m sure.

Nadal 3-6 6-1 3-1 Djokovic
Nadal hits the fastest serve of the match so far – an unplayable 130mph effort – and closes out with his fourth ace. Djokovic is looking a little stiff and deflated again.

Nadal 3-6 6-1 2-1 Djokovic
Djokovic hits a wild forehand way out of court to gift Nadal break point at 30-40, and the Mallorcan snaps it up. Surely nothing can stop him now.

Nadal 3-6 6-1 1-1 Djokovic
Nadal hits a blistering down-the-line winner at full stretch for 40-0 as he levels, but Djokovic looks more mobile now, more committed to longer rallies.

Nadal 3-6 6-1 0-1 Djokovic
Djokovic survives two break points at 15-40. Maybe that nice long sit down while he was receiving treatment has done him the world of good.

1328: The trainer duly arrives and the NoDjo right sock is removed to reveal a nasty looking wound on the little toe. Our Boris reckons if that’s the only problem, Djokovic should pull himself together and get on with it.

“Nadal is the man in charge, he’s the captain of the boat now.”
BBC Sport analyst Boris Becker comes over all nautical

SECOND SET

Nadal 3-6 6-1 Djokovic
Nadal is playing the winning drop shots now as he closes out the set. Djokovic calls for the trainer at the changeover, but he’s currently attending to Richard Gasquet on Centre Court, apparently. A brief intermission ensues.

Nadal 3-6 5-1 Djokovic
The belief is draining from Djokovic’s game as Nadal breaks him again. The Serb is increasingly playing hit-and-hope shots against an increasingly confident Nadal.

Nadal 3-6 4-1 Djokovic
This set is heading the Spaniard’s way, but he still finds time to have a go at Swiss umpire Andreas Egli at the changeover over his performance in the chair. I told you not to make him angry…

Nadal 3-6 3-1 Djokovic
Limping and feeling his back (also troublesome), Djokovic is relying on his serve to get him through, but surely it’s not going to be enough, even against a Nadal who is still not completely in the zone.

“I’m afraid to say that Djokovic is thinking about quitting. He’s shaking his head and just moving forward anymore.”
BBC Sport analyst Boris Becker

Nadal 3-6 3-0 Djokovic
It looks like Nadal’s time has come in this semi-final as he wins 40-15 to go 3-0 up. He’s still making the odd unforced error but the force is surely with him now.

Nadal 3-6 2-0 Djokovic
The turning point. Djokovic thinks he has the game won but Nadal challenges a baseline call and this time Hawk-Eye is on his side. He earns breakpoint and converts it with a smash at the net. Boy is he pumped up now.

Nadal 3-6 1-0 Djokovic
Nadal looks be stepping up a gear as he belts a double-handed cross-court winner to take the opening game on his own serve. What he needs to do is make Djokovic chase around a bit more as he clearly doesn’t want to.

FIRST SET

Nadal 3-6 Djokovic
With his serve working well, Djokovic closes out the set. An ace is challenged by Nadal but Hawk-Eye favours the Serb. Don’t make Rafa cross, whatever you do – have you seen the size of those arms?

Nadal 3-5 Djokovic
Nadal is definitely finding form as he cruises through his latest service game, hitting one powerful forehand winner that even a fully mobile Djokovic wouldn’t have got anywhere near.

Nadal 2-5 Djokovic
Djokovic seals the game with a fantastic backhand drop shot that just clears the net. BBC commentator Simon Reed detects an “old-fashioned” look from Nadal at the changeover which suggests he feels the Serb might not be as injured as he’s making out…

Nadal 2-4 Djokovic
Nadal is gradually feeling his way into the match as he holds comfortably, but it may be too late to save the set.

Nadal 1-4 Djokovic
Djokovic holds serve with relative ease – you get the feeling he really needs to win this first set to stand a chance of reaching the final. If Nadal recovers to take it, I fear it could be over in three.

Nadal 1-3 Djokovic
Nadal is still not firing on all cylinders but manages to hold. Djokovic is clearly in some discomfort but is coming up with some delightful drop shots as Nadal stays back. I predict this will not be another five-set marathon.

Nadal 0-3 Djokovic
Nadal is making a slow start, as he does sometimes, hitting three errors on his returns and then watching a Djokovic ace whistle past him.

Nadal 0-2 Djokovic
Then again… Nadal is broken at the first time of asking as Djokovic races to 0-40 before the Spaniard wins a point. The Serb wins it on the next.

Nadal 0-1 Djokovic
Oh, dear. Djokovic holds his opening serve but only after saving three break points and is clearly troubled by his sore foot. He’s trying not to get drawn in to long rallies with Nadal, who can sense his opponent is struggling.

1210: Nadal, 21, has a 4-1 head-to-head record against his 20-year-old opponent, including a straight-sets victory in this year’s French Open semi-finals, but this is their first encounter on grass.

1205: The players are knocking up on Court One in conditions which are dry, sunny and far less windy than on Friday. Pre-match gossip has it that Djokovic may be nursing a foot injury, but we’ll see…

“Djokovic is super fit and mentally as tough as they come, but he’ll need to be at 150% against Nadal.”
BBC Sport analyst John McEnroe

This mouth-watering match-up between two of the hottest young guns in men’s tennis has to be the pick of Saturday’s semi-finals at Wimbledon.

Despite his moans about this week’s rain-hit schedule, Spanish second seed Nadal will be fresher after easing past Tomas Berdych 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-2.

Djovokic also looked to be cruising into the final four at two sets to love up against Marcos Baghdatis, but the Serb fourth seed eventually needed five hours to see off the Cypriot 7-6 7-6 6-7 4-6 7-5.

Ivanovic vs Williams as it happened

Wimbledon semi-final result:

A IVANOVIC (Ser) 6 v V WILLIAMS (US) 23

2-6 4-6

SECOND SET

“Venus came out of the blocks so fast and Ivanovic was overwhelmed early on. She did recover to make it a match but Williams dominated and had 16 break points in total.”
BBC Sport pundit Martina Navratilova

Ivanovic 2-6 4-6 Williams
Venus charges into a 30-0 lead but a fine forehand service return and a Williams mis-read of a drop shot keeps Ana in the contest. The end is soon coming though and a wide backhand from Ivanovic puts Venus in her sixth Wimbledon final. It was an impressive performance from the 27-year-old while the “Catherine Zeta Jones of tennis” (as the commentator describes Ivanovic) will have to wait for another year.

Ivanovic 2-6 4-5 Williams
Venus takes control of the game with the help of a stunning forehand winner from mid-court. Williams claims three match points but Ivanovic impressively holds her nerve to save them all which forces Venus to serve for the match.

Ivanovic 2-6 3-5 Williams
A glimmer of hope for Ana as she goes 30-0 up. But Venus is like a dog with a bone and battles back to deuce before two unforced errors from Ivanovic gives the American the game.

Ivanovic 2-6 3-4 Williams
Williams claims two break points thanks to a couple of fine winners. Ivanovic then meekly fires into the net and Venus is back in charge of this set. I am not going to say how decisive that is though as my boss sitting next to me has just pointed out my woeful prediction from earlier.

Ivanovic 2-6 3-3 Williams
Venus holds serve with a wonderful cross-court forehand winner as she scampers to a deep Ivanovic shot into the corner. What a way to win a game.

Ivanovic 2-6 3-2 Williams
Ivanovic looks to be slowly getting her game together as she holds again. Williams comes to the net twice and is punished. Once with a drive to the body that she can only put into the net and the next with a cute Ivanovic lob that the lanky Williams cannot reach.

Ivanovic 2-6 2-2 Williams
You know when I said this could be over pretty soon? Well forget that. Ivanovic claims her first break with a forehand winner after Williams produces her sloppiest service game of the match so far. The crowd respond, they really want to see a contest.

Ivanovic 2-6 1-2 Williams
This could be over pretty soon folks. Ana just cannot cope with Venus’ groundstrokes and, combined with a poor first serve percentage, it is not looking too good for the sixth seed. Williams claims three break points and another double fault from Ivanovic gives the three-time Wimbledon winner a real stranglehold of the match.

Ivanovic 2-6 1-1 Williams
Some great stuff from Williams as she takes a 40-15 lead with a superb forehand winner as well as some more brutal backhands which leave Ivanovic scrambling. Ivanovic is battling just to keep in every point and lets out a desperate yelp of anguish as she skies a backhand which gives Williams the game.

Ivanovic 2-6 1-0 Williams
A vital game for Ivanovic to win, especially as she goes 0-30 down. She shows her fighting qualities and even issues her first celebration scream on the way to holding.

“Venus is keeping Ana so deep that when there is a short ball, Ivanovic cannot take advantage as she is six feet behind the baseline.”
BBC Sport pundit Martina Navratilova

FIRST SET

Ivanovic 2-6 Williams
Ruthless, powerful and precise – that’s Venus all over as she claims three sets points. She then double faults but Ana cannot hang on as she loses the first set in just 35 minutes.

Ivanovic 2-5 Williams
Ana keeps the set alive despite some wayward serving. Some funky telly graphics show that she has only won 51% of points on serve so far today. Even I realise that is not good.

Ivanovic 1-5 Williams
Williams looks rattled for the first time as she goes 0-30 down. Normal service is resumed though as she rattles off four straight points courtesy of some typically powerful strokes. The Centre Court crowd seem not to be taken by this semi yet and there is not a lot of noise from the fans.

Ivanovic 1-4 Williams
What a weird game. Venus claims three break points with the help of a mis-hit service return that also gets caught up in the wind to limp over the net. Ana shows signs of life to get the game back to deuce but two double faults and a couple of wayward forehands hands Venus a further four break points. The American fails to take any of them, Ana gets on the board for the first time and receives a warm reception as she returns to her seat.

Ivanovic 0-4 Williams
Better from Ana as for the first time so far, Venus is placed under pressure on her serve. The Serb claims two break points but Venus ups her game, as well as the screaming, to fight back. I reckon Ivanovic is being distracted by the bright luminous pink plasters on her knee. Just a thought.

“She has looked ready to go right from the start, Venus has imposed herself physically and stroke-wise.”
BBC Sport pundit Martina Navratilova

Ivanovic 0-3 Williams
Ana is having what is commonly described as a nightmare. She looks completely lost out here on Centre Court and is powerless to stop Williams in this mood. Venus claims two break points, sealing the break on the second as Ivanovic fires a backhand wide.

Ivanovic 0-2 Williams
It really is a perfect start for the three-time Wimbledon champion as she holds to love with little difficulty. Venus gets all of her first serves in and seals the game with a powerful mid-court backhand winner

Ivanovic 0-1 Williams
Venus immediately seizes the initiative as she takes advantage of a nervy start from the Serb. Ivanovic elects to serve first but is shaky, double faulting early on while a lucky net chord for the American puts her in charge of the game. Ana saves one break point but can’t stop Venus breaking on the next.

1523: While the duo are warming up, let’s have a look at how they got to the last four.

Venus has overcome Alla Kudryavtseva, Hana Sromova, Akiko Morigami, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova while Ivanovic defeated Melinda Czink, Meilen Tu, Aravane Rezai, Nadia Petrova and Nicole Vaidisova to reach the Wimbledon last four for the first time.

They have met twice before, in 2004 in Zurich and Luxembourg in 2006, with Williams winning both in straight sets.

1521 BST: Here we go then for the first women’s semi-final. The two players are interviewed for the telly before taking to the Centre Court stage. They look remarkably chipper and relaxed, they are hiding the nerves well.

Henin vs Bartoli as it happened

Wimbledon semi-final result: J HENIN (Bel) 1 v M BARTOLI (Fra) 18

6-1 5-7 1-6

THIRD SET

Henin 6-1 5-7 1-6 Bartoli
And that’s it! Henin throws in the towel with a couple of rubbish returns and Bartoli sinks to her knees in absolutely stunned delight after holding to love. The Frenchwoman does her best to look calm and collected but the wobbly chin and wobbly knees betray her. Justine Henin scoots off Centre Court in a hurry, Bartoli stays to soak up the standing ovation having decked herself out in her player’s badge – an indication of just how big a shock it is for this relative unknown to dump out the favourite in the semi-final. To quote David Coleman….eeerrrr, quite remarkable!

Henin 6-1 5-7 1-5 Bartoli
Henin interrupts the losing streak and it’s the first sign of nerves and tension from Bartoli as she fires into the net a couple of times on her way to a loss to 15. She has four other games to get it right, though…

“Either way, whether Bartoli wins of Henin makes a remarkable comeback, this will go down as an unbelievable match.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Henin 6-1 5-7 0-5 Bartoli
Make that seven games on the trot! Henin gets her backhand ticking again with a couple of passing winners to draw back to 30-40, but Bartoli keeps up the pressure and holds to put her on the brink of the upset of the year. Henin looks bemused, but then so does Bartoli to be fair.

Henin 6-1 5-7 0-4 Bartoli
And it’s six games in a row for Bartoli and a double break in the decider! Henin crumbles in the face of yet more unbelievable accuracy and power from the Frenchwoman and sends a forehand long to lose the game to 15.

“You talk about players being ‘in the zone’, well Bartoli is a fully paid up member right now.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Henin 6-1 5-7 0-3 Bartoli
The Bartoli fist-pump, which is far more threatening than Tim Henman’s girly swish, is out in full force with the Frenchwoman producing some quite remarkable tennis on Centre Court. It may be her first Grand Slam semi, but she is playing like a seasoned pro against a stunned Henin out there. Even when Henin forces two break points Bartoli plums the depths of her tenacity and saves the longest game of the match with some stunning resistance. Is there a way back for Henin? I’ll be honest, those of us hoping for some semblance of a Friday night out wouldn’t mind if there wasn’t…

Henin 6-1 5-7 0-2 Bartoli
Unbelievably, Henin looks like she is suffering from a crisis in confidence at the moment. Bartoli’s all-or-nothing approach is paying dividends and she brings up yet another break point with a tenacious volleyed winner at the net. It’s all the opening she needs as she slams a brilliant backhand down the line and Centre Court is looking on in disbelief…

“Are we witnessing what would be one almighty shock developing here? I’ve seen Bartoli play many times before, but never at such a high level as this.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Henin 6-1 5-7 0-1 Bartoli
Bartoli is certainly not going to do this the easy way if she wins through to the final, as she is forced to save two break points for the second service game running. She does just that, though, and a couple of Henin errors hand the game to her on a plate after that.

SECOND SET

Henin 6-1 5-7 Bartoli
Unbelievable from Bartoli, who takes this semi-final into a decider with some brilliant groundstrokes on her way to a love game on the Henin serve. Henin’s own game crumbled there and she will have to get back on track fast if she is to keep her bid for a first Wimbledon title on track here.

Henin 6-1 5-6 Bartoli
Sacre bleu! Henin secures two break points out of nowhere but Bartoli focuses and forces the errors that bring her back to deuce. A massive serve out wide brings the Frenchwoman game point and Henin can do nothing about a low bounce on the next point. We could be looking at a tie-break here and who knows what after that…

“Huge credit has to go to Bartoli. There were several moments in this set that she could have crumbled and disappeared, but she has dug deep and is treating the crowd to some fantastic strokeplay.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Henin 6-1 5-5 Bartoli
Bartoli moves to 30-0 up with a couple of fantastic forehand winners down the line, but Henin somehow battles back to game point with blistering efforts of her own. Bartoli forces the error again to move to deuce but Henin digs deep into her see out the game and keep herself in the set.

Henin 6-1 4-5 Bartoli
Fabulous work again from Bartoli, who holds to 15 with some brilliant winners. She has Henin dashing all over the court and seals it when the Belgian can only find the net with a forehand.

Henin 6-1 4-4 Bartoli
She’s nothing if not a fighter, Bartoli! All of a sudden, Henin’s accuracy abandons her and a couple of unforced errors hand Bartoli break point. The Frenchwoman clinches it with a fabulous crosscourt backhand winner and we’re back on serve again.

Henin 6-1 4-3 Bartoli
Oh dear – just when you thought Bartoli was making a match of this, Henin finds her range brilliantly on her passing strokes and breaks to 15. The Belgian’s coach, Carlos Rodrigues, has his kids in the crowd, but they are less concerned with cheering on Henin than they are watching a film on a portable DVD player. “Anything that keeps them quiet” says the rather unsympathetic Tracy Austin.

“Awesome strokeplay from Henin there, who has gone up a gear just when she needed to.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Henin 6-1 3-3 Bartoli
Rather cruelly, picture desk Jez has suggested Henin resembles the Wicked Wicket of the West from the Wizard of Oz film (I’m thinking more that mouse thing in American Tail), but the Belgian is hardly casting a spell (geddit?) over Bartoli at the moment. Whereas she had Bartoli struggling to make any returns earlier in the match, Henin is now having to battle just to hang onto her own serve. She is helped by a beautiful drop-shot at the net and holds to 30 with a backhand winner, but it’s certainly not all one-way traffic anymore.

Henin 6-1 2-3 Bartoli
A topsy-turvy game sees Bartoli stroll to 40-15 up with more punishing passing strokes, but Henin greets a backhand down the line of her own with “ooh that’s a good thing ya”, and Bartoli sends a forehand long to bring it back to deuce. Two crunching Henin forehands see her break back and you wonder if the pendulum has swung back towards the Belgian.

Henin 6-1 1-3 Bartoli
Well well well, more signs that the Bartoli groundstrokes are causing Henin problems as the Frenchwoman drills her way to 40-15 up on her opponent’s serve again. Frustratingly she sends a couple of returns into the net to see them slip away but she earns another break point with a bludgeoned backhand and Henin sends a return long to hand the Frenchwoman the game.

“Bartoli is looking so much better than she did 10 minutes ago, she’s barely recognisable.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Henin 6-1 1-2 Bartoli
And the 18th seed backs up her first break with an impressive hold to 15, finding a succession of impressive groundstrokes that bring her old man in the crowd to his feet.

Henin 6-1 1-1 Bartoli
Bartoli’s two-handed approach on both sides – apparently pressed upon her by her doctor-come-tennis coach father – is receiving a bit of a lambasting from Barry Davies and Tracy Austin in the comm box but, when she gets it right, it’s a formidable weapon. Twice she has Henin scrambling unsuccessfully across the court and she brings up two break points with another stinging backhand. Henin saves both, the second with a sublime drop-shot volley, but Bartoli wins through following another brilliant exchange at the net. Game on?

“The crowd are certainly appreciating the effort being put in by Bartoli. They’re rooting for the Frenchwoman to make a contest of this.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Henin 6-1 1-0 Bartoli
You can almost hear the sympathetic cringes written across the crowd’s faces as Bartoli mixes the sublime with the ridiculous. The Frenchwoman comes out best from an exchange at the net, but can only watch as a couple of short passing efforts are whipped back past her feet by the number one seed. Another brilliant backhand pass down the line seals the game for Henin and it’s another early break.

FIRST SET

Henin 6-1 Bartoli
Easy does it for Henin, who takes the set with a love service game and, even though she looks likely to miss Shaun the Sheep – which will undoubtedly devastate her – she should be done before the News at 1800. So just in time to watch herself hit the headlines, then. Nice.

Henin 5-1 Bartoli
I can’t profess to have seen Bartoli in action a huge amount, but she is a regular old jitterbug out on Centre Court. I can’t tell if it’s excitement, the nerves or she has a set of earpieces tuned into Dance FM, but it’s doing her no favours as she lets a 30-0 lead slip to hand Henin another break. Two magnificent backhand winners suggest Henin is finding her rhythm.

“Henin is looking even more relaxed now. You get the feeling that Bartoli needed to get her nose ahead as early as possible in this match to stand any chance, but now Henin might just steam-roller her.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Henin 4-1 Bartoli
A couple of superb passing strokes put Henin 30-0 up, but Bartoli finds a forehand return winner of her own to reduce her deficit before an Henin double fault makes it 30-30. Henin holds her nerve, and her serve, in the swirling wind though to keep her nose in front.

Henin 3-1 Bartoli
None of this sports drink and water nonsense for Henin in the mid-game break, the Belgian chomping into a slab of chewy sweet and supping on a chocolate drink – this is sports professionalism Rab C Nesbit style. It doesn’t do the trick this time around, though, as Bartoli gets her serve going nicely in holding to 30 – crucial hold that, you feel.

Henin 3-0 Bartoli
Bartoli finds a nice backhand down the line on the run to help settle her nerves, but Henin goes on to hold to 30, sealing the game with a service winner.

Henin 2-0 Bartoli
With the wind really kicking up, Bartoli’s hair flailing in the wind like a cheap shampoo advert, you really feel for the players trying to keep control on their serve. And it’s a tough old start for Bartoli, who sends a couple of groundstrokes long either side of a Henin forehand winner, and the Belgian breaks to love.

“Just get the feeling that the longer these points go on, the more likely it is that Henin will win them. She’s a much better mover, a much better athlete and she’s got all the shots.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Henin 1-0 Bartoli
After the shortest warm-up ever, Henin kicks things off with a typically ruthless opening service game, holding to 15 without Bartoli managing to get much of a racket on any of her serves.

1709 BST: Justine Henin, sporting the smallest ears in showbiz, looks so relaxed coming out onto court she could just have stepped out of the Jacuzzi and helped herself to a choc ice in SW19. Bartoli, on the other hand, looks like a wigwam and a teepee – two tents. Ba dom boom boom. Sorry… it’s been a long day…

1706 BST: Let’s have a look at the formbook – these two have met just twice before, with Henin coming through in straight sets on both occasions. Henin, who has dropped just one set all tournament, has played under five and a half hours of tennis to reach this stage – it is fair to day only Serena taxed her.

Bartoli, the daughter of a doctor (though not moi, Doctor Love, of course) has also enjoyed a reasonably safe passage through the quarter-finals, dropping just two sets. Still, if you are anything like the vast majority of the office here – picture desk Jez aside – you’ll be expecting Henin to finish off the Frenchwoman, possibly even in time for “Shaun the Sheep” on BBC2. Which, as if you didn’t all know, is on at 1735 BST.

1700 BST: What a day to have had tickets on Centre Court huh? Nadal-Berdych, Federer-Ferrero, Venus Williams-Ivanovic (spontaneous dribble) and now Justine Henin against Marion Bartoli. Witnessing that lot live in SW19 could surely have only been bettered than being stuck at work on a Friday and having to read some random’s drivel all day on the interwobble. For that, you are welcome people!

Federer vs Ferrero as it happened

 

Wimbledon quarter-final result: R FEDERER (Sw) 1 v JC FERRERO (Sp) 20

7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 6-3

FOURTH SET

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 6-3 Ferrero
What a way to finish! Federer deigns to smile for the first time as he brings up match point against the serve with a brilliant crosscourt forehand winner and he wraps it up with a replica shot next up. Superb performance, in my eyes anyway, from both players in difficult conditions and five-in-a-row is still very much on for Federer.

“I don’t think anyone can live with him in that form.”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 5-3 Ferrero
More mesmerising tennis from both these players, as Federer holds to 30 following a couple of terrific rallies. Andrew Castle is in the process of insisting that these players are producing “workmanlike” tennis in the blustery conditions but, frankly, he’s talking baloney. I mean what does he know about tennis anyway, he’s a GMTV presenter! This is blooming marvellous thank you very much AC.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 4-3 Ferrero
JC – apparently nicknamed the Mosquito on the tour according to Andrew Castle because “he keeps buzzing around” – does just that, keeping himself in the set with a hold to love, sealed with a booming ace.

“Ferrero is battling brilliantly and, at the moment, he looks every inch a part of this set.”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 4-2 Ferrero
More good work from Ferrero (which Becker has taken to pronouncing Fawewwo annoyingly), the Spaniard looking to get onto Federer’s second serve and moving to 30-15 up on the Swiss’s serve, but he can’t maintain the momentum as Federer moves to game point. Another forehand error brings a sharp self-rebuke from the champion, and it does its jobs as he goes on to hold.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 3-2 Ferrero
Tremendous steel from Ferrero, who holds to 30 in the face of some brilliant Federer offensive. The Swiss curses a couple of missed passing attempts, if only to prove his standards remain ridiculously high, and the Spaniard is hanging on in there.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 3-1 Ferrero
Ferrero finds some remarkable shots to eke out break point but Federer responds with a huge serve to save it. The Spaniard repeats the trick next up, moving Federer around the court and forcing the error, but once again the Swiss saves it, thanks in the main to a stunning volley at the net. Ferrero comes back a third time compliments of a super drop shot but Federer saves it again before producing two winners to hold. Ferrero must be wondering what on earth he has to do to break here.

“Ferrero threw literally everything at Federer there in a desperate attempt to straight back, but the Swiss swallowed it all and sent it back in kind. Remarkable.”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 2-1 Ferrero
Another brilliant rally, containing 15 strokes, again goes Ferrero’s way when Federer sends a return long, but it can’t stop the Spaniard falling break point down. It’s all the opening Federer needs as he bullies a rally and forces a Ferrero error and the Swiss is looking in complete and utter control.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 1-1 Ferrero
Anything you can do, I can do better, says Federer, as the champion holds to love with yet more indominatable tennis.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 0-1 Ferrero
Nicely done by Ferrero, who lays down a marker early in the set with a tremendous volleyed lob that gives Federer no chance, and he goes on to hold impressively to 15.

THIRD SET

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 Ferrero
And that is how it’s done. Federer stares down his opponent, pauses briefly, and then smashes four winners to hold to love and secure the set. Complete and utter one-way traffic in that set, which lasted just 19 minutes, and that was a display of hugely impressive tennis. Blimey, I’ve gone all John Inman here haven’t I?! That can’t be right. I’m just glad Ana Ivanovic is up next, I’ll be reaffirming my masculinity in that one, I tell you.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 5-1 Ferrero
More stunning work from Federer, who bludgeons his way to 40-0 up on the Ferrero serve with a series of passing winners. The Swiss is operating at such a pace now it’s frightening, as he sends a superb backhand winner down the line to seal a second break.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 4-1 Ferrero
Do not mess with the Fed man in this mood. He nearly takes a line judge’s head off with a vicious serve on his way to a hold to 30. Sheer aggression, power and accuracy from the champion so far and girlfriend Mirka is looking excited in the crowd. She loves it when he does that dominance thing.

“Once again Federer just proves he always has another gear. The way he is hitting it in this set is unbelievable.”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 3-1 Ferrero
Ferrero buckles for the first time today, sending down a double fault and twice finding the net with a drilled forehand. Federer makes no mistake whatsoever, keeping the ball alive well and forcing a backhand error to break to love.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 2-1 Ferrero
Federer races through another game, holding to 15 with a superb forehand indicative of how well he is striking the ball right now. I would like to tell you more, but games on the Swiss’s serve are lasting about as long as it takes Boris Becker to manage a fashion faux pas of a morning.

“There’s a different face for Federer now. He’s steely-eyed, ruthless – he wants this third set badly.”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 1-1 Ferrero
A cry of anguish from Federer – which in itself tells its own story – as the Swiss misses a simple backhand at 15-30 to let Ferrero back in to the game. JC pulls out an ace and a service winner on the next two points to hold and the 20th seed is using all his guile and experience to stave off Federer.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 1-0 Ferrero
That break in the second set aside, Federer is looking brilliant out there. The Swiss holds to love without giving Ferrero the hint of a sniff.

SECOND SET

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 Ferrero
Centre Court is finally packed to the rafters and they’re being treated to an exhibition of hitting from both players. A sensational sliced backhand down the line brings Federer to 15-30 up, but Ferrero bludgeons his way back into the point with a couple of big forehands. A cracking Federer backhand brings him back to deuce, but Ferrero brings out a superb service winner to hold and level the match. That is only the sixth set Federer has lost in a 31-match winning streak at Wimbledon and this could go either way on current evidence.

“I expected this to be a tough match. Ferrero has been getting better and better with each match in this tournament and he has the heart of a champion.”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-5 Ferrero
Apparently the Fedster is human, the Swiss finding the net with two forehands to go 0-30 down having not missed a trick all day. Another forehand error brings JC break point, but Federer bullies his way back to deuce with a few crunching groundstrokes. However, yet another error gives Ferrero another break and the Spaniard forces home the advantage to break against the run of play.

“This is some of the best ball-striking I’ve seen in this tournament, from both players.”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-4 Ferrero
Federer latches on to a couple of Ferrero second serves to move to 30-15 up, but once again the Spaniard digs deep to battle back into the game, showing real poise to volley home and then forehand pass his way to the hold.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 3-3 Ferrero
There’s always one isn’t there – a glance around the Centre Court crowd shows one gentleman reading a broadsheet newspaper, completely oblivious to both the tennis and the fact that it’s blocking a young lady’s view behind him. I’d that rolled up and wrapped round his head in no time, I tell you. Anyway, he’s missing some quality work from Federer, who serves up his 11th ace in between a couple of magnificent passing winners to hold easily.

“Federer is making all the running here, these are dangerous times for Ferrero.”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 2-3 Ferrero
Federer really is putting pressure on the JC serve now, coming in on the back of good approaches to twice force the error and move to 30-30. Fair play to Ferrero, though, as the Spaniard produces two unreturnable serves to secure the hold. Lest we forget, JC was once ranked number one in the world and is certainly no gimme here for the Fedster.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 2-2 Ferrero
Nice work from JC, who spoons an attempted forehand high into the sky and then cries “Catch it!” – which a gentleman duly does in the first row. Nice work sir. Anyway, before you can blink Federer wraps up the game to 15 with yet another ace.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 1-2 Ferrero
Ferrero heeds Becker’s advice and holds well. After the at-times laboriously slow Nadal-Berdych match, this is racing along at Roadrunner pace. Jubbly.

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 1-1 Ferrero
Apparently the prospect of watching a couple of intriguing men’s quarter-finals is not enough for all my colleagues – some have turned their attention to the doubles match on Court Two between Jo Durie and Annabel Croft and Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova. If you’re interested, only AC has aged anywhere approaching nicely there. Federer continues apace on Centre, mixing huge serves with blistering ground strokes to hold to 15.

“Ferrero has no choice but to be patient, keep holding serve, and then hope Federer starts making mistakes because the Swiss is looking in prime shape at the moment.”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

Federer 7-6 (7-2) 0-1 Ferrero
Important hold to start the set for Ferrero, who is having to hang onto Federer’s coat tails a touch. Federer bludgeons the odd passing shot to keep JC stretching, and the Spaniard falters on a forehand to slip from 40-0 up to deuce. However, he recovers well to win the next two points and hold.

FIRST SET

Federer 7-6 (7-2) Ferrero
Federer, who really does look up for it out there, kicks off with an ace and earns the first mini break with a backhand winner. Ferrero sends another return long before the turn to go 5-1 down, and Federer goes on to seal the breaker with a sizzling ace. Fed’s girlfriend Mirka does not celebrate, preferring instead to take a call on her mobile – the phone, shockingly, is not logo-ed up. An opportunity missed for Team Federer I reckon.

Federer 6-6 Ferrero
What a rally! JC comes out on top of a 27-stroke masterpiece, with the mics on Centre Court picking up the “swish” of every stroke beautifully, to move to 30-30, but a brilliant backhand winner down the line earns R-Fed break point immediately after. It is saved when the champion sends a return long, and Ferrero goes on to hold to send the first set into a breaker.

Federer 6-5 Ferrero
Disappointingly, Federer sheds the white trousers and immediately gifts Ferrero break point when he can only find the net with a forehand return. No alarm, though, as he sends down two aces on his way through the next three points to hold.

1334 BST: Rather amusingly, Federer is sporting white slacks as he goes through his routine. All he’s missing is a peaked cap, navy jacket and pipe to complete the full nautical look – I really hope he keeps those on all match. At least he’s not gone the whole nine yards and smeared his poncey gold ‘RF’ logo over them, as he has everything else he brings with him onto court. Logos should be the exclusive boast of superheroes, I’m sorry…

1329 BST: While the burgeoning crowd quench their thirst with a Pimms and nibble on a few strawberries, Roger Federer and Juan-Carlos Ferrero stroll on Centre Court to knock up in the unusual surrounding of bright sunshine.

By Jonathan Stevenson


Federer 5-5 Ferrero (40-40)
A worrying moment as JC slips nastily, but he’s back up after a quick stretch and then sends a belter down the line to get us to deuce. Just as this match threatens to take off and with Federer in trouble, the heavens open and the covers are back on. For the love of tennis.

“The match really starts now. There is no comfort zone for Federer anymore, he’s got to raise his game and he knows it.”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

Federer 5-5 Ferrero
The Spaniard is buzzing now, humming his forehand at Fed. The Swiss is playing second-fiddle at the back of the court and Ferrero, for the first time in the match, is level.

Federer 5-4 Ferrero
Fed miles off target with a routine forehand, then nets twice from similarly simple positions. At 0-40, he slams a forehand a couple of foot beyond the baseline and it’s a ridiculously easy break-back for JC.

Federer 5-3 Ferrero
Cor blimey, that’s gonna hurt. JC’s first serve rears up and crashes into the head of one of the line judges, the sound of the ball hitting his bald pate echoing around Centre. He’s OK though, no drama. JC gets his first serve working and holds. Fed to serve for the set.

Federer 5-2 Ferrero
It must be pretty frustrating to have so much trouble holding on to your own serve, only then to see your opponent hold to love with the minimum of fuss. Fed in cruise control at the minute.

Federer 4-2 Ferrero
A cross-court forehand leaves JC reeling at the net before two big approaches set Fed up for a simple put-away volley. JC recovers well with a fine forehand of his own after manoeuvring Fed across the court and he takes the game after a bit of a wobble to deuce.

Federer 4-1 Ferrero
What I love about Fed is that sometimes he hits a shot that you can barely believe is possible, let alone one that you would ever try yourself. A backhand volley that just keeps fading away from JC is one such precious effort and the champion holds to love. It looks so easy it’s laughable.

Federer 3-1 Ferrero
Good hitting from Fed, clearly not short of match fitness despite his prolonged absence from the tournament. JC does well to stay with him and then Fed goes long and nets to hand the Spaniard his first notch of the day.

Federer 3-0 Ferrero
Fed finds his range on the first serve and JC barely gets a look in. So far, it’s got all the passion and atmosphere of a practice match, and not a very important practice match at that.

Federer 2-0 Ferrero
Fed’s turn to put the pressure on. A dipping forehand opens proceedings and two errors from JC hand the Swiss an early break point. A big JC forehand saves the day, but the Spaniard then nets two straightforward backhands and Fed has his two-game lead.

Federer 1-0 Ferrero
What a start. Ferrero hits two of the sweetest shots you could wish for to put the champion under immediate pressure at 0-30, before Fed replies with two consecutive aces. A double fault gets us to deuce, before another ace and a class volley wrap it up. Good early work from the Spaniard though. Lively.

“It’s very important for me to be in the quarter-finals. It is always difficult for me on the grass, but I have felt good at this Wimbledon. I have the experience to play against Roger, but it’s a difficult game, sure.”
Juan Carlos Ferrero

“Is Roger even still in London? Has anyone seen him the past week?!”
BBC Sport pundit Boris Becker

1458 BST: So Ana Ivanovic scrapes past Nicole Vaidisova and Centre Court holds its breath for the return of Roger Federer to Wimbledon. Six days after seeing off Marat Safin, the four-time champion is back in the mixer against Spain’s number 20 seed Juan Carlos Ferrero.