Roger Federer brought up a century of wins at Wimbledon to set up a mouth-watering semi-final with Rafael Nadal.
The eight-time champion, who won his first game at SW19 as a 19-year-old in 2001, beat Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in the quarter-final on Centre Court.
He set up the 40th instalment of one of tennis’ great rivalries and their first here since the epic 2008 final.
And Federer is looking forward to ending the wait for a rematch.
“He has improved so much over the years on this surface,” Federer said. “He’s playing also very different than he used to.
“We haven’t played each other in a long, long time on this surface. He’s serving way different.
“I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he’s serving, how much faster he finishes points.
“It’s impressive to see how sort of healthy he’s stayed. A lot of them are saying, ‘Oh, it’s the end’, by 2008. Similar to me in 2009. We’re still here. So it’s nice to play each other again.”
It is the semi-final that everyone wanted and Nadal did his bit by beating Sam Querrey.
The third seed’s 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 win was not entirely straightforward but Nadal was more than good enough to continue the big three’s domination by following Federer and Novak Djokovic into the last four.
This is the first time since 2007 that the trio have all made the semi-finals here together, while before last month’s French Open it had not happened at any grand slam for seven years.
Nadal said: “First of all, it is a great feeling to be back in the semi-finals, to be able to be playing at this level of tennis is great news. Very happy the way that we managed to be in that round.
“Playing against Roger always is a unique situation. I am excited to be back on this court against him after 11 years.”
Djokovic dismantled David Goffin’s game to cruise into a ninth semi-final.
The defending champion was an early break down but from there was utterly ruthless, winning 10 games in a row across the three sets in a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 victory.
Djokovic will be a heavy favourite to make a sixth final when he takes on Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday.
Djokovic could not have been happier with his performance, saying: “I’ve been playing my best tennis in this tournament in the last two rounds.
“Especially today, second set and third set against Goffin, who was in form, I felt like I managed to dismantle his game and find always the right shots.”
Bautista Agut is happy to put his stag party on hold after reaching his first grand slam semi-final by beating Guido Pella 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Grass is not Bautista Agut’s strongest surface, so much to the point that he arranged his stag do to be held in the second week of the tournament.
The 31-year-old should be in Ibiza with his friends as he prepares for his November wedding, but is preferring life in London at the minute, ahead of his meeting with Djokovic.
He said: “I had planned to be in Ibiza right now. We had everything organised already. My friends, six of them, are all there. Well, it feels better to be here in London. I think they will fly on Friday.”
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Fifteen-year-old Cori Gauff’s fairytale Wimbledon continues on manic Monday when she faces former world number one Simona Halep.
Top seed Ashleigh Barty, Serena Williams and Britain’s last remaining singles hope Johanna Konta are all in action as well as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Here, we preview the seventh day of action.
Order of play
Joao Sousa v Rafael Nadal, Johanna Konta v Petra Kvitova, Matteo Berrettini v Roger Federer
Serena Williams v Carla Suarez Navarro, Simona Halep v Cori Gauff, Novak Djokovic v Ugo Humbert
Ashleigh Barty v Alison Riske, Karolina Muchova v Karolina Pliskova, David Goffin v Fernando Verdasco
Match of the day
Cori Gauff’s Wimbledon fairytale heads into the second week but her biggest test yet is waiting for her in the fourth round. The 15-year-old American has been the story of the Championships so far, having come through qualifying to beat Venus Williams, Magdalena Rybarikova and Polona Hercog in a magical few days that have seen her become a global star.
She has been left star-struck as the likes of Michelle Obama, Jaden Smith, Samuel L Jackson and Reese Witherspoon have all reached out to her on social media, admitting that her life has changed. It has been a week that she will remember forever, but her tennis will come under serious examination as she faces former world number one Simona Halep in the last 16 on Monday.
Petra Martic has steadily gone about her business at Wimbledon with deciding-set victories over Jennifer Brady, Anastasia Potapova and Danielle Collins. The Croatian has had a good season and won her first WTA title in Istanbul in April. Eighth seed Elina Svitolina has beaten her in their last three matches, including twice at the French Open, but this will be their first meeting on grass. The Ukrainian was going out until Margarita Gasparyan retired with injury in the second round and only just squeezed past Maria Sakkari in the last, meaning world number 24 Martic could pull off a shock.
Angelique Kerber started the defence of her Wimbledon title with a comfortable victory over Tatjana Maria.
Kicking off the action on Centre Court on day two, the German eased to a 6-4, 6-3 win over her compatriot in front of the watching Duchess of Cambridge in the Royal Box.
Despite not winning a tournament since beating Serena Williams in the final at SW19 last year, Kerber has shown some good recent form, including reaching the final in Eastbourne last week.
And the 31-year-old, who lost her only previous meeting with Maria, avoided becoming the first ladies’ champion to be defeated in the first round the following year since Steffi Graf in 1994.
Kerber said: “I was really nervous, to be honest, because of course going out there as the defending champion, it was really special.
“Walking on the Centre Court, playing there again, I mean, a lot of emotions, a lot of memories.
“But I was enjoying this. I was really enjoying the match. I was enjoying the points and the crowd. It was a really nice match, but of course with a lot of nerves at the beginning.”
World number one Ashleigh Barty eased into the second round courtesy of a 6-4 6-2 victory over Saisai Zheng.
The Australian, who won this year’s French Open, has fond memories of the All England Club after winning the girls’ singles title in 2011.
She is one of the favourites to make it back-to-back grand slams here and laid down an early marker on Court One.
Barty said: “Yeah, I think a very tricky opponent to start off with. I am very happy with the way we were able to work our way into the match.
“It took some time to adjust to conditions and a different court. It’s a beautiful court to play on.”
British number one Johanna Konta battled into the second round with a 7-5 6-2 victory over Romanian qualifier Ana Bogdan.
Former champion Garbine Muguruza was the victim of a big shock as she was beaten in straight sets by Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia.
The 2015 winner and former world number one, who has fallen down the rankings in the last two years, was beaten 6-4, 6-4.
Ex-US Open champion Sloane Stephens won her first match at the All England Club since 2016, beating Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-4 on Court 2.