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Third successive Nadal/Federer final

Latest update : 2008-07-04

Rafael Nadal won against German tennis veteran Rainer Schuettler in three sets 6-1, 7-6, 6-4 to reach Roger Federer in Wimbledon's final. It will be their third final together at the top English grass tournament.

Rafael Nadal set up a third successive Wimbledon final with five-time champion Roger Federer on Friday when he defeated Germany's Rainer Schuettler 6-1, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 in the semi-finals.

Federer had earlier defeated Russia's Marat Safin 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 to move to within one win of a record sixth consecutive Wimbledon title.

Nadal, who came close to taking the world number one's All England Club crown in 2007 and destroyed the top seed at Roland Garros just four weeks ago, will be bidding to become only the third man to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season.

Victory would also make the second seed the first Spanish winner of the Wimbledon men's singles title since Manuel Santana in 1966.

"I didn't play my best today not like the quarter-final and the second round," said Nadal.

"But I'm very happy to be in the final again and I'll be facing the best player in the world on the other side of the net."

Schuettler had spent three more hours than Nadal getting to the semi-final, including tying the record for the second longest men's match in Wimbledon history in getting past Arnaud Clement in the last eight.

That was five sets taking five hours and 12 minutes spread over two days.

On Friday, he was a set down in only 23 minutes with Nadal breaking in the first, third and seventh games to threaten a Centre Court rout.

But the 32-year-old German, giving away 10 years to the Spaniard, rallied and broke Nadal to take a 2-1 lead in the second set with a wrong-footing, cross-court forehand on his way to taking a 5-4 lead.

Nadal, however, broke in the 10th game as Schuettler served for the set and then dominated the tiebreak, taking the second set when the German watched a loose forehand drift wide.

The four-time French Open champion then illustrated his intimidating, all-court power by unleashing a 100mph forehand in the second game of the third set before breaking the dispirited German to lead 2-1.

Even a bloodied left knee, which he needed to gingerly ice, failed to disrupt the 22-year-old Mallorcan who comfortably stretched his lead to 5-3.

Schuettler saved three match points in the next game but Nadal carved out three more on his next service game which he converted to victory after two hours on court when the German went wide with a weak return.

Date created : 2008-07-04