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Roger Federer needs a quick kill in entrancing duel with Rafael Nadal | Kevin Mitchell

The 37-year-old’s knees may not be up to Rafael Nadal’s ploy of taking Friday’s Wimbledon semi-final to five gruelling sets

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have not met at Wimbledon since 2008, when the Spaniard prevailed in a five-set final stretched over four hours and 48 minutes of almost unbearable magnificence. Eleven years on, they meet again in Friday’s semi-final, and, whatever Federer’s millions of adoring fans think, Nadal should win again.

They are not the players they were. But neither are those around them, young and old. The teenagers and other young pretenders left long ago; still lurking, are familiar foes, most threateningly Novak Djokovic, less so Roberto Bautista Agut, in the other semi-final. But this is the match that will entrance Centre Court, the 40th of their rivalry, and – who knows? – maybe their last. It is one to savour.

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