Nadal sets up final with Federer
Friday 04 July 2008
Rafael Nadal steamrollered through the first set of his Wimbledon semi-final against Rainer Schuettler on Centre Court today, taking just 23 minutes to claim the advantage 6-1.
The irresistible Spaniard was simply too good for the German who had squeezed through to the last four after completing a five-hour epic against Arnaud Clement yesterday.
Nadal dropped only four points in the first four games and did not produce a single unforced error until the fifth game, by which point the set was already a foregone conclusion.
Having been double-broken, shell-shocked Schuettler finally rallied to clinch his first game at 1-4, but Nadal responded in irrepressible fashion, swiftly breaking again to wrap up a ridiculously one-sided set.
Since winning their first meeting four years ago, Schuettler had failed to win a single set from Nadal in three matches.
Improving that record looked a distant dream after the opening set but the 32-year-old stunned the Centre Court crowd by breaking Nadal for a 2-1 lead - only the fourth time in the championships Nadal had lost his serve.
Schuettler was unrecognisable from the nervous wreck who had capitulated in the early stages, wrong-footing Nadal on several occasions with winners on either wing.
But the nerves kicked in again as he tried to serve for the set at 5-4, two woeful forehands way over the baseline allowing Nadal to break back easily.
Nadal then raced into a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, aided by two more forehand errors from his opponent, and took it 7-3 for a two sets to love lead.
At 94th in the world, Schuettler is the lowest-ranked man to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals since Goran Ivanisevic, who was 125th when he won the title in 2001.
A repeat of Ivanisevic's fairytale victory was never on the cards however, Nadal quickly breaking serve in the third set to strengthen his stranglehold on the match.
Nadal was bleeding from a graze on his left knee but it was a self-inflicted wound rather than any damage inflicted by Schuettler, who was proving a game, but limited, opponent.
Even Nadal's Hawk-Eye challenges were unerringly accurate and the Spaniard could even afford to squander three match points on Schuettler's serve before wrapping up a 6-1 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 victory in a minute over two hours.
Chelsea 4 Tottenham 0 match report: Samuel Eto’o stoops to conquer sorry Spurs
West Brom 0 Manchester United 3 match report: Manchester United stick to the script as Robin Van Persie loses the plot
Chelsea 4 Tottenham Hotspur 0: Manager Tim Sherwood calls on Spurs to show guts following heavy defeat
Arsenal 4 Everton 1 match report: Revitalised Mesut Özil breathes life into Arsenal
Transfer news: Micah Richards could fill gap at Arsenal with Bacary Sagna's departure as Manchester City contract winds down
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’