Nadal braced for 'complex' Djokovic in 52nd meeting


Their last final was again in France in 2014, Nadal winning an epic.

His confidence buoyed, Isner overwhelmed Milos Raonic on Wednesday to reach his maiden grand-slam semi-final. Isner also won their only meeting on grass, at Queen's Club in 2008.

With the increasingly physical nature of rallies, the advances in training and nutrition that help extend careers, and the dominance of a certain trio of all-time talents _ Federer has 20 Grand Slam titles, Nadal 17, Djokovic 12 _ it's been hard for any youngsters to elbow their way to the top. Historically, one dominates for a period of time, until the other finally wins an important match, shifts the psychological balance, and begins a run of his own.

"There is no other match in the history of tennis that has been played more than our matches", said Nadal.

Fast food chain Nandos, which originated from South Africa, has pledged to give away free meals to people who share names with the two players, until Anderson is knocked out of the tournament or wins the final.

While Nadal's rivalry with Roger Federer may be considered as the most engaging, it is the Spaniard's rivalry with Djokovic which is the most enduring.

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"A very emotional match".

Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, will now face three-time victor Djokovic for the 52nd time with the Serb holding a 26-25 edge.

"It is always a big challenge facing Novak", said Nadal.

But, for all that Isner is on a high, literally and figuratively, Anderson's win over Federer could be the key to this match.

"I've done a lot of things well since I am back from injury".

For his part, Djokovic is eyeing a 13th major after making the semi-finals of a Slam for the first time since finishing runner-up at the 2016 US Open. I'm really happy for you. You would hardly know that he had never been past the third round at Wimbledon in nine tries.

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The 32-year old Anderson defeated defending champion Federer in a five-set thriller that lasted slightly more than four hours.

After smoothly slicing through his first four matches the five-set struggle over four hours and 47 minutes, the longest of the tournament, was probably Nadal's ideal preparation for Djokovic, who will test his stamina and movement in entirely different ways, with swift changes of direction rather than raw power and, if it is singing, his serve. Sorry to Juan Martin, he's an wonderful opponent and unbelievable player.

Every single set was hard-earned, with Nadal taking the first 7-5 before Del Potro evened things up on a tiebreak in the second.

After seven weeks out with a serious knee injury, many doubted if Nadal would regain his crown as the "King of Clay". Earlier that Wednesday, on Centre Court at Wimbledon, the Argentinian had lost to Rafael Nadal after being up by two sets to one.

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However many times he's lost to Djokovic in the past-and that includes the 2011 Wimbledon final-he's now No. 1 and coming off a major title in Paris, while Djokovic is still climbing his way back up the charts.

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