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Federer and Nadal set for Wimbledon showdown

Reaching for victory: Roger Federer is to defend his Wimbledon crown for the fourth time Keystone

Swiss world tennis number one Roger Federer will once again meet arch-rival, Spanish player Rafael Nadal, in the Wimbledon tennis final.

This content was published on July 7, 2007 - 16:09

Four-time defending Wimbledon champion Federer stormed past Frenchman Richard Gasquet in 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 in Saturday's semifinal on the grass courts of the All England Club.

A win for Federer in Sunday's final would allow him to equal Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg's five consecutive Wimbledon victories and 11 grand slam titles.

"It has become sort of a routine, but I'm still so excited to be back in the final," Federer said after the match.

Nadal, who lost to Federer in last year's final, set up a rematch when the injured number four Novak Djokovic retired while trailing 3-6, 6-1, 4-1 in the other semifinal.

The replay of last year's final comes shortly after the Spaniard beat the Swiss for a second time at the French Open, the only grand slam title to elude Federer. The Spaniard has won Roland Garros three times.

"I'm going to have a very difficult match tomorrow, but I'm going to try my best," said world number two Nadal.

Federer, whose game was watched by Borg, was never threatened by the 12th-seeded Gasquet after the Swiss edged a tight first set with a solitary break in game 12.

After unleashing 20 aces and a series of scorching passing shots, Federer ensured the match was over in just one hour and 44 minutes.

"The first set was crucial," Federer said. "He should have at least got to the tiebreaker. I came out somehow and played really well for ten minutes and was up a set and a break, and that was pretty much it after that."

Odds against Gasquet

The 25-year-old Federer went into the game with a 5-1 match record over the 21-year-old Gasquet, who was appearing in his first semifinal of a grand slam event.

The Swiss had been expected to meet old rival Andy Roddick, but the United States number three seed was surprised by Gasquet in the quarterfinals after the Frenchman staged a dramatic fightback.

Gasquet did say before facing Federer that he was tired.

It has been a long road to the Wimbledon finals for Federer. It has been one of the wettest tournaments on record and play has been delayed many times by rain.

Federer had to wait five days to play his quarterfinal against Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero, where he dropped his first set of the tournament. His fourth-round opponent, the German Tommy Haas, withdrew because of injury.

After Saturday's win, Federer could now be on target to realise five consecutive Wimbledon titles. Borg won Wimbledon from 1976 to 1980.

Pete Sampras, who won half his record 14 grand slam titles at Wimbledon, was stopped at four in a row – by Federer in 2001.

The Ladies' event already has a winner. The US player Venus Williams won her fourth Wimbledon title on Saturday after she beat surprise finalist Marion Bartoli from France 6-4, 6-1 for her sixth grand slam title. She also won Wimbledon in 2000, 2001 and 2005.

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Key facts

In 2001 Federer ended Pete Sampras's 31-match winning streak at Wimbledon in the fourth round of the tournament.
By winning Wimbledon in 2003, Federer joined Stefan Edberg, Pat Cash and Björn Borg as the only players to win both the juniors' and men's Wimbledon championships.
Federer has won four consecutive men's singles titles at Wimbledon (2003-2006), a feat accomplished only by Borg and Sampras in the open era (post-1968). During those years at Wimbledon he dropped just five sets. Borg and Sampras lost 15 and 14 sets respectively over a similar four-year period.

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In brief

This year at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which has hosted Wimbledon since 1877, men and women will earn equal prize money and there will be instant replay on giant video screens.

Centre Court and No. 1 Court will be equipped with technology for the Hawk-Eye challenge system, allowing electronic reviews of close calls.

At the US Open and Australian Open, players were allowed two incorrect challenges per set – if a call is overturned, the player keeps that challenge – plus an extra one if there's a tiebreaker. At Wimbledon, players will be given three per set, plus an extra one for a tiebreaker.

This year the men's and ladies' singles champions will each receive £700,000 (SFr1.73 million). The male purse has increased by 6.9% (£655,000 in 2006), while that of the ladies by 12% (£625,000 in 2006).

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