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By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Nadal was pleased with his performance

Rafael Nadal will meet world number one Roger Federer in Sunday's Wimbledon final after seeing off Rainer Schuettler 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

A humiliation seemed on the cards when Nadal wrapped up the first set against the unseeded German in just 23 minutes.

But Schuettler hit back impressively, breaking the formidable Spaniard's serve in game three of the second set.

Nadal stepped up a gear to break back at 5-3 before taking it on a tie-break and one break was enough in the third.

"I'm very happy to be in the final. I'll try my best to play my best tennis in the final and go all the way," Nadal told BBC Sport.

"Today wasn't my best match but I won in three sets and that's very important. I'm very confident for the final - but I know I'll face the best player in the world so I'll have to play very well to have a chance.


"I know he's playing well - but I am too."

Nadal's astonishing form on grass has led many to tip him to end Federer's domination at Wimbledon.

But the Spaniard, despite making a perfect start, was not at his absolute best on Friday.

Schuettler came into his first semi-final at Wimbledon just a day after completing an epic five-hour win over Arnaud Clement.

It was hardly the best preparation for facing the world number two and not surprisingly the 32-year-old made a slow start, a huge mistake against Nadal.

Schuettler served first and was quickly 0-40 down and though he delivered an ace on the first break point, there was no stopping Nadal.

Make it snappy: Nadal zooms in on title

His domination left the crowd fearing an embarrassingly one-sided encounter but Schuettler at least played his part in an entertaining second set.

The German, an Australian Open finalist in 2003, earned his first two break points at 1-1 and snatched the second when he chased down a drop shot and whipped it back past a stranded Nadal.

It was gutsy from Schuettler but Nadal's level had dropped below the dizzy heights he had hit in his quarter-final against Andy Murray.

The Spaniard picked it up again when it counted, taking advantage of a tentative Schuettler at 5-3 before coming through the tie-break with ease.

And once Nadal had broken to take a 2-1 lead, there was no way back for Schuettler.

The French Open champion was held up briefly when he squandered a 0-40 lead and three match points at 5-3 but raced through his final service game to seal victory in just over two hours.

He will face Federer in the final for the third straight year, having lost in four sets in 2006 and a five-set classic 12 months ago.

see also
Wimbledon photos
04 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Federer battles to fourth crown
09 Jul 06 |  Tennis

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