Rafael Nadal stormed to his fourth Wimbledon semifinal from six appearances Wednesday hours after longtime rival Roger Federer fell to his earliest loss on the grass since 2002.

2008 winner Nadal reached the final four with a repeat of the recent French Open final, defeating Swedish sixth seed Robin Soderling 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.

Six—times champion Federer crashed to Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 with the Swiss revealing that he had been suffering with back and leg injuries for several weeks.

Novak Djokovic will play Berdych after dispatching Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Nadal will take on Andy Murray for the fifth time in a major after the Scot thrilled his home public with a comeback over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-2.

Wednesday was the first time Federer had exited prior to the final since losing in the first round eight years ago to Mario Ancic. The loss postponed a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon trophy for another year. Nadal, who remains friendly with his rival Federer, said the Swiss knew that “one day you have to lose.” “Berdych is a very difficult opponent, he hits hard from the baseline. It (the loss) can happen. I don’t feel there is any favourite for the tournament,” said Nadal.

Nadal’s win in two and three quarters hours was his 27th at Wimbledon against just four losses. “I started so-so. Robin was playing very powerful shots and taking control of the points.

“I’m feeling great, to reach the semis against is a dream for me.

This is a very important moment of my season after my great clay season. I’m playing better and better every day.” Federer complained of not being 100 percent fit after his loss to Berdych, second to the Czech Miami three months ago. “I don’t think I played poorly, but he really went for it. He was more consistent and I was not able to defend well enough,” said Federer. “I didn’t produce when I had to and it was disappointing.

“I had some small back and leg issues. They didn’t allow me to play the way I wanted. It was frustrating to say the least.

“I’m looking forward to some rest. When you’re hurting you don’t feel as comfortable, you can’t concentrate on each point because you do feel the pain.” The loss to Berdych leaves Federer stalled on the all-time best mark of 16 Grand Slam titles after beating Murray for the Australian Open crown.

Federer’s defeat was only his sixth at Wimbledon against 55 wins.

“I’m very happy that with my performance today, I was playing really well,” said Berdych.

Djokovic said his game has lifted after an indifferent six months, with a single title from Dubai in February to show.

“It’s really refreshing to perform this way. I’ve been struggling with the level, it was a lot of ups and downs. Right now I’m playing great, it definitely makes me happy.” Murray’s defeat of Tsonga marked the Scot’s 21st consecutive victory over a French opponent dating to 2008 and kept alive the dream of the first British men’s champion since 1936.

“It was a really tough first couple of sets” said the winner. “We both had first—set chances, but I couldn’t take mine in the tie-breaker.

“He was going for huge shots, and I was defending a lot. I’m plying well now and today was another good match.”

Keywords: Wimbledon 2010

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