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  • Associated Press Rafael Nadal, left, greets Roger Federer after Nadal won the 2008 Wimbledon final, the last time they faced each other at the All England Club. They'll meet today in the Wimbledon semifinal.

Friday, July 12, 2019 1:00 am

10 years later, Nadal, Federer meet

HOWARD FENDRICH | Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England – After going more than 11/2 years without playing each other anywhere, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be meeting at a second consecutive Grand Slam tournament when they face off in Wimbledon's semifinals.

Last month, Nadal got his shot at Federer on red clay, winning their wind-whipped French Open semifinal in straight sets on the way to a 12th title there.

“We had some brutal conditions to play (in) there. But it was a joy to play against Rafa there, on his court,” Federer said. “And, of course, I'd love to play against him here at Wimbledon.”

Today, Federer gets his shot at Nadal on grass and hopes to prolong his pursuit of a ninth championship at the All England Club.

“Means a lot for me,” Nadal said, “and probably for him, too.”

This is their 40th showdown on tour; Nadal leads 25-14. It's their 14th match at a major; Nadal leads 10-3. And it's the fourth time they'll play at Centre Court; Federer leads 2-1.

But Nadal did win the last one, edging Federer 9-7 in the fifth set of the 2008 final – considered by many the greatest match in tennis' lengthy history – as daylight dwindled to nothing.

That would never again be an issue, because a retractable roof and artificial lights have been in place at the tournament's main stadium since the following year.

What hasn't changed? Federer and Nadal are still at the top of the game.

If it's hard to believe more than a decade has passed since these two rivals last shared a court at Wimbledon, it's also tough to fathom how it is that they have dominated their sport as long as they have. Federer ranks first among men with 20 career Grand Slam titles.

Nadal is next with 18. Add in the third-place count of 15 trophies belonging to Novak Djokovic, who is seeded No. 1 and plays No. 23 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in today's other semifinal, and this terrific trio has won 53 of the last 64 major championships.

That includes 14 of the last 16 at Wimbledon. Also: 10 in a row everywhere over the past 21/2 seasons.

Djokovic is seeking his fifth trophy, and second straight, at the All England Club, while Bautista Agut is making his Grand Slam semifinal debut.

Djokovic leads 7-3 head-to-head, but Bautista Agut won their two matchups this season, both on hard courts.

“Going to try to use my experience in being in these kind of matches, get myself tactically prepared,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully I can execute everything I intend to do.”