London, July 2: Defending champion Rafael Nadal saw off a spirited challenge from Andy Murray 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to set up a Wimbledon title clash with Novak Djokovic.
Nadal, gunning for his third Wimbledon and 11th major title, was at the receiving end of a brilliant Murray. The British No.1 was at the top of his game in the first set.
But once the tough Spaniard got a foothold in the match, he raced through the next two sets even as Murray lost the ruthless streak that had raised visions of an upset.
‘It is always difficult against Andy and I have to be at my best,’ said Nadal.
He will next face Serbian Novak Djokovic, who reached his first Wimbledon final with a 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-7(9), 6-3 victory over France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The victory will move Djokovic to No.1 position in the world rankings Monday ahead of Nadal.
Djokovic thus continued his astonishing run this year that puts him to 47 wins against the only loss to Roger Federer in the French Open.
Djokovic has beaten Nadal four times this season and the Spaniard knows he will not have it easy. ‘He has been playing great this year. I have lost four times to Novak. I am just happy to make it to the final and I will give my best shot as always,’ said Nadal.
Djokovic gave a power packed performance to beat Tsonga, who caused the biggest upset of the tournament beating Federer in the semifinal. The only time he was in trouble when he was broken early in the very first game. But he soon tightened his service and came back hard on Tsonga.
Against someone who had dropped just four service games in five matches so far, Djokovic broke six times and only faltered in the third set tie-break when he missed two match points that would have given him a straight-sets win.
‘I’ve been working all my life for this,’ Djokovic said.
‘I’ve been dreaming about playing the finals of Wimbledon since I started playing tennis when I was 4. To be able to be there on Sunday will probably be the best feeling.
‘It’s hard to express your emotions in a very short time but hopefully some more celebrations are about to come,’ he said.