And we’re back. In episode 52 of the ongoing saga of the lives of everyday tennis legends, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are in the semi-finals.

By way of a spoiler, we can announce that the next instalment will be shown on Sunday when Djokovic will face Kevin Anderson in the final having beaten Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9) 3-6, 10-8. But don’t let that ruin what is to come.

The story so far: for a dozen years, the two Grand Slam champions (they hold 29 singles trophies between them) have been chasing each other around the globe for the most important titles in the game. For all that, they have only met twice at Wimbledon, the last time being in the 2011 final. And Djokovic won that one.

As they squared up to each other this summer, Nadal had not played this well in SW19 since that final while Djokovic had not played this well anywhere since he was winning Roland-Garros in 2016. As for their rivalry, it was as finely balanced as it could be: 26 wins to Djokovic, 25 wins to Nadal.

Before the break, that moment at 11.02pm on Friday night when we were all sent home for cocoa and bed (other evening beverages are available), Djokovic led Nadal by two sets to one.

He had come racing off the blocks in the first set, piling the pressure on Nadal’s service games and finally getting his reward with the break. That was the first set wrapped up.



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