Nadal sees off Querrey to set up semi-final against Federer

For a man whose pace between points can usually be timed with a sun dial, the speed at which Rafael Nadal is racing towards his marvellous reunion with Roger Federer is really quite something.
He is a blur. A brilliant, shuffling, fidgeting blur, such is the momentum he has acquired on his run to the semi-finals.
He isn't just beating opponents, he is mauling them, and this match was no different, which is impressive because Sam Querrey was no empty vessel in the draw or in this tie. Sure, a ranking of 65 tells a tale, but so does a Wimbledon semi-final in 2017 and a career-high placing of 11th last year. He loves grass. His serve loves the grass. And Nadal doesn't. Not truly. 
But what a misconception, that old myth that it was a weak surface for him. Everything is relative and nothing is like clay, so weaker? Yes. Weak? Goodness no, never was, not for the guy who won the greatest final in tennis history when he beat Federer here in 2008 and whose attempt for a third Wimbledon crown – and first since 2010 - has seen him get tantalisingly close to his wonderful best.
This match, for the large part, showcased just that. Consider how Nadal fronted up the missiles of the Querrey serve, a delivery best assessed by its effectiveness in the ninth game of the first set. 
Querrey was 15-40 down and turned it around with a 131mph ace, a 138mph ace, a 136mph ace and a 132mph ace. Monstrous, that, and just about indicative of how he had won 71 out of 72 service games in his previous four rounds.
Then along came Nadal. He broke him six times, twice per set, which is a feat way beyond the obvious because Querrey is not a one-tool workman. He can rally and he can scrap and the first set was a genuine fight, not least because the American recovered from an early break to reach 5-5 and briefly took Nadal into deep water.
But Nadal, with 18 Slams to his name, has the gears to take matches away in those circumstances and the way he blitzed through the second and third sets was a warning for all, even Federer. 
By the time he was done with Querrey, he had made only 12 unforced errors across three sets, 22 if you combine his tallies for the past two rounds. More impressively, of the 15 sets he has won to reach the semi-finals, 12 were taken for the loss of three games or less.
The surface might be slower than usual, which works in his favour, but there is no questioning how well he is capitalising.
If there is a gripe, as ever, it is about the pace of his play. He was given a time violation at 5-4 up on his serve in the first set and the mystery is how he doesn't get more. He is a one-man argument for shot clocks to enforce the 25-second rule at Wimbledon.
But for now, no law or man is getting in the 33-year-old's way. Again, he is running into Federer at speed and an otherwise sedate Championships can brace itself for the first Wimbledon showdown between these two titans since that 2008 masterpiece.
'To be back on this court against him after 11 years, that means a lot for me and probably for him, too,' Nadal said. 'I am excited about this match, excited about this opportunity. Always I say the same - the opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we are still here. '
Every sports fan should be thankful for that.   

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