Raonic, Murray for Wimbledon title
Roger Federer's bid for a record eighth Wimbledon title was cut short in the semi-finals yesterday by Milos Raonic, a big-serving Canadian, who came from two-sets-to-one down to win in five and reach his first Grand Slam final.
Raonic beat the seven-time champion 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Centre Court, handing the Swiss great his first loss ever in the Wimbledon semi-finals after 10 straight wins.
"This one clearly hurts because I felt I could have had it," Federer said. "So close. It was really so, so close. It clearly hurts."
The 25-year-old Raonic became the first Canadian man in history to advance to the final of a Grand Slam tournament. The only other Canadian to get this far was Eugenie Bouchard, the women's runner-up at Wimbledon in 2014.
In tomorrow's final, Raonic will face 2013 champion Andy Murray, who swept Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in less than two hours to reach the championship match for the third time at Wimbledon and 11th time at a Grand Slam.
The second-seeded Murray has a 6-3 career record against Raonic, including a win in the final of the Wimbledon warm-up at Queen's Club last month.
The sixth-seeded Raonic, who served 23 aces among his 75 winners, avenged a Wimbledon semi-final loss to Federer in straight sets two years ago. The No. 3-seeded Federer broke serve only once, while Raonic managed three breaks.
"An incredible comeback for me, really," Raonic said. "I was struggling there through the third and fourth sets. He was playing some really good tennis. And just on the little, little opening, I managed to turn it around."
His serves reached 231kph and averaged 207 on first serves.
For Federer, the loss means he remains one title short of the all-time Wimbledon men's record. He's still tied with Pete Sampras and 1880s player William Renshaw with seven.
The match turned in the fourth set as Raonic saved three break points - two in one game to stay ahead 3-2, another with a service winner to hold for 5-4.
Then Federer went up 40-0 on serve at 6-5 but couldn't hold. He served two double-faults in a row to set up deuce. Federer saved two set points before Raonic hit a backhand passing shot down the line to send the match into a fifth.
After that break, Federer called for a trainer on the changeover and had his right thigh massaged.
Then, while serving at 2-1 down in the fifth, Federer lost his footing on a deuce point and fell on to his stomach on the turf while trying in vain to reach a passing shot. Federer went immediately to his chair and called for a trainer, who examined his left knee.
Federer, who had surgery on his left knee in February, resumed the game and didn't show any outward sign of injury. But he was broken in that game after another crucial double-fault at deuce. On the second break point, Raonic stroked a forehand cross-court passing-shot winner.
That break put Raonic in firm control. He stayed on top the rest of the set and served out the match at love.
It was a breakthrough victory for Raonic, who has had John McEnroe in his coaching corner since the Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Queen's Club.