Nadal: Novak will be a tough opponent

Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in action during the fourth round match against France's Gilles Simon. Toby Melville Reuters

There's no doubt Djokovic will be the fresher of the two when they meet on Friday, after Del Potro took a lot out of Nadal.

But just as a record-extending 44th grand slam semi-final appearance beckoned, Federer blinked - and eighth-seeded Anderson seized the moment.

But in a spectacular showing, the 2017 US Open runner-up reeled off three in a row to surge to within a match of a second grand slam final in 10 months.

After all, those were broad details of the mesmerising 2008 final when the Spaniard ended Roger Federer's five-year Wimbledon reign and hoisted the Challenge Cup for the first time.

"I'm sorry for him, of course", said Nadal.

"We always played in important stages, important places".

Strokes of Genius is a world-class documentary capturing the historic 13-year rivalry between tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Nadal and Djokovic will be meeting for the 52nd time in their career, with Djokovic leading their head-to-head 26-25.

Meanwhile, Djokovic, a 12-time Major victor has warned Nadal that he is playing his best tennis this year.

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Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his quarter final match against Japan's Kei Nishikori. Defeats against Taro Daniel and Benoit Paire left him nursing three straight defeats on the tour for the first time since 2007.

He showed signs of recovering at the French Open before a shock loss in the quarter-finals against unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato, then reached the Queen's final where more mental fragility proved his undoing against Marin Cilic.

"I'm really not thinking about being an underdog or being a favourite", he said.

"I will try to hold my service games most of the time".

But Nadal was first to break in the deciding set and he built a 5-3 advantage with a looped forehand victor before confirming his final four place with a volley after four hours and 48 minutes.

Only problem was that on Wednesday nobody was rushing out to roll out the green carpet and hand over the trophy as the Spaniard's 7-5 6-7 (7) 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory over Juan Martin del Potro had merely secured him a semi-final with Novak Djokovic. "After nearly five hours, I fell down". Playing Djokovic was the sternest test and he came through a dramatic five-setter dubbed the greatest clay-court match of all-time by Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

Del Potro was in danger of being dragged into a fifth set when he squandered four match points, one with a double-fault, at 5-4 having hit back from 1-3 down.

Anderson is the first South African to make the last-four since Kevin Curren in 1983.

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