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Nadal in final after Djokovic retires
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July 07, 2007 20:28 IST

Second seed Rafael Nadal [Images] reached the Wimbledon final on Saturday after Serb Novak Djokovic retired hurt with the Spaniard leading their semi-final 3-6, 6-1, 4-1.

Nadal, who will play top seed Roger Federer [Images] on Sunday for the title, embraced his opponent afterwards and said he felt sorry for him.

"It is tough. In the semi-finals, playing good tennis, winning a match like yesterday. That's tough for everyone. So I am sorry for him," the Spaniard told a news conference.

Djokovic, the first person to retire from a Wimbledon semi-final, called the trainer at the end of the second set to receive treatment on his toe.

After being broken twice in the third set following a series of fluffed shots and looking increasingly uncomfortable, the Serb recalled the trainer but then decided he could not continue.

Djokovic came into the match after a gruelling schedule of long matches, compounded by many rain interruptions, and had called injury timeouts for a back problem during his last two matches against Lleyton Hewitt [Images] and Marcos Baghdatis.

It is unclear whether Saturday's retirement was because of the toe or the back.

He played a five-hour five-set quarter-final against Baghdatis on Friday and was also engaged in a tight four setter against Hewitt on Thursday. His total court time at this year's championships before Saturday's encounter had been approaching 17 hours.

Djokovic, a semi-finalist at the French Open last month, did not seem to be suffering in the first set although he needed to save three break points to hold his serve in the first game.

He then broke in the second and held on to the advantage to take the set with a smash.

The second set slipped away from Djokovic when drop shots repeatedly failed to come off and seemingly straightforward shots went out.

The errors continued into the third and Nadal kept getting the better of his off-colour opponent in the long rallies before Djokovic called an early end to the match.

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