Relieved Nadal drawn to meet Federer in Wimbledon semis
Rafael Nadal breathed a sigh of relief Friday after he was slated to meet eight-time champion Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semi-finals.
Nadal’s fears that he would be drawn in top-seeded favourite and defending champion Novak Djokovic’s half of the draw — and face him in the semis — proved unfounded despite Wimbledon promoting Federer above him in the seedings.
The Spaniard, seeded third behind Federer, had complained earlier this week that Wimbledon’s unique formula for seeding that combines ranking points with form in grass-court competitions was disrespectful.
World number one Djokovic will in theory face South African fourth seed and last year’s beaten finalist Kevin Anderson — who was promoted from eighth in the world — in the last four.
Nadal, who comes in on the back of his 18th Grand Slam singles title after winning his 12th French Open which included beating Federer in the semi-finals, will do well to reach the last four as he has a tough looking draw.
He should have little trouble with his first round opponent, Yuichi Sugita of Japan, but after that things become more perilous.
Moody but talented Australian Nick Kyrgios is a potential second round opponent and highly-rated Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov could await in the third round.
If he emerges from those tussles he could face Croatia’s 2017 Wimbledon singles finalist Marin Cilic in the last 16.
His great rivals Djokovic and Federer begin their campaigns against 35-year-old German Philipp Kohlschreiber and Lloyd Harris of South Africa respectively.
Kohlschreiber beat Djokovic earlier this year in the third round at Indian Wells.