Federer fights back from 2 sets down to book semis spot

Roger Federer saved three match points to beat Marin Cilic 6-7 (4/7), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (11/9), 6-3 and reach a record-equalling 11th Wimbledon semifinal on Wednesday.

It was a tie which saw him save three match points in a titanic fourth set as Roger Federer became the oldest Wimbledon semifinalist since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974.   -  Getty Images

Milos Raonic is the first Canadian to make the last four at the All England Club more than once and the sixth seed plays seven-time champion Roger Federer on Friday for a place in the final.   -  AP

Roger Federer saved three match points to beat Marin Cilic 6-7 (4/7), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (11/9), 6-3 and reach a record-equalling 11th Wimbledon semifinal on Wednesday.

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The 34-year-old seven-time champion also claimed a new record for Grand Slam match wins of 307 as he made a 40th semifinal at the majors.

His dramatic triumph was his 84th win at Wimbledon — taking him level with Jimmy Connors — and gave him a semifinal against Canada's Milos Raonic as he continues his pursuit of an 18th Grand Slam title and a record eighth All England Club crown.

In a thrilling Centre Court confrontation, it was Federer's 10th career comeback from two sets down.

It was a tie which saw him save three match points in a titanic fourth set as Federer became the oldest Wimbledon semifinalist since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974.

Federer fired 27 aces and 67 winners to avenge his semi-final loss to ninth seed Cilic in the semi-finals of the 2014 US Open.

"Marin is such a wonderful player and I knew I was in so much trouble in the third set and in the fourth," said Federer.

"I wasn't seeing his serves, he had one chance and took it and then I was down 2-0. He was playing very well and reading my serve and I couldn't read his.

"I just tried to stay in the match and hoped for his level to drop and get a bit lucky. That happened and obviously the breaker was crazy.

"My legs and back were there and serving was key, plus mentally this will give me a hell of a boost."

Federer carved out the only break points of the first set in the fifth game, both of which were saved by the giant Croatian.

Serve dominated with the 27-year-old Cilic racing to a 5/0 lead in the tiebreaker and four set points soon after.

Federer saved one but Cilic held his nerve to snatch the opener, leaving the Swiss facing the grim statistic that he'd only taken one point off his opponent's first serve.

His mood would have darkened knowing that he lost a set in which he had not faced a single break point.

Cilic then showed him the way, breaking for a 2-1 lead and saving a break point in the fourth game when Federer dumped a return off a second serve into the net.

Centre Court groaned when sentimental favourite Federer netted another routine backhand volley in the ninth game before two further uncharacteristic errors off the same wing in the 10th helped Cilic to a two sets lead.

With his coach and 2001 champion Goran Ivanisevic looking on, Cilic looked to have Federer on the ropes, forcing the 17-time major champion into saving three break points in the seventh game of the third set.

Text-book backhand

But Federer grabbed the lifeline when a fifth double fault by Cilic gave him a first break of the contest before the Swiss star unleashed a text-book backhand drive to secure the set in the next game.

The fourth set, lasting just under an hour, veered from one drama to another.

Cilic sent down his 19th and 20th aces of the afternoon to save break points in the fifth game.

Federer then saved match point in the 10th game thanks to Cilic meekly going long on a return and another with his 18th ace in the 12th.

The Swiss squandered two set points in the tiebreaker, the first with a ballooned forehand with the court at his mercy before he saved a third match point when Cilic netted a forehand of his own.

Then it was Federer's turn to feel the pressure as two more set points came and went before Cilic played one loose forehand too many into the net and the semifinal was level.

Federer had the momentum and broke for a 5-3 lead in the decider, racing to a famous victory with back-to-back aces.

Raonic powers into Wimbledon semifinals

Milos Raonic advanced to his second Wimbledon semifinal as the big-serving Canadian ended Sam Querrey’s surprise run to the last eight with a 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 victory on Wednesday.

Raonic is the first Canadian to make the last four at the All England Club more than once and the sixth seed plays seven-time champion Roger Federer on Friday for a place in the final.

The 25-year-old will hope it is third time lucky after losing his previous two Grand Slam semifinals at Wimbledon in 2014 and in the Australian Open earlier this year.

Now coached by former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe, Raonic blitzed Querrey who had knocked out Novak Djokovic in the third round.

He hit 58 winners and served 13 aces and finally looks capable of fulfilling the potential that saw his ear-marked as a future star several years ago.

“There were some momentum shifts there. I’m glad I was able to get back on the right path after he won the third,” Raonic said after tying Eugenie Bouchard’s Canadian record reaching of three Slam semis.

“I was able to get things back on my terms. It’s a well deserved chance to be in the semifinals.

“It’s exciting, but also humbling because you have to get the win. I hope to do better than last time.”

Querrey’s exit was a low-key conclusion to a memorable campaign for the American 28th seed, who caused one of the great Wimbledon upsets when he knocked out defending champion Djokovic.

But playing his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 38th attempt, Querrey was unable to reproduce the bold play that shattered Djokovic’s bid for a calendar Grand Slam.

Raonic possesses a best-ever serve of 143mph which is especially potent on grass and carried him to the Wimbledon semifinals two years ago and the Queen’s Club final last month.

Querrey has a ferocious serve of his own and, having hammered their way into the quarterfinals with a combined 198 aces, it was no surprise to see few prolonged rallies in a Court One slug-fest.

Brute force was the name of the game and, heeding McEnroe’s call to be even more aggressive in his mindset, it was Raonic who seized the initiative with a solitary break to take the first set.

Given the dominance of his serve, Raonic needed only one chance to break and win the second set as well.

Querrey kept plugging away and finally got his reward in the 11th game of third set when he converted his first break point of the match with a cool backhand volley.

But Raonic wouldn’t be denied and he sealed a deserved victory with a clinical break in the fourth set.

Berdych strolls through

Tomas Berdych cruised into the Wimbledon semifinals as the Czech 10th seed crushed France's Lucas Pouille 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday. Berdych is one win away from reaching his second Grand Slam final six years after losing to Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon title match.

The 30-year-old, who blasted Pouille off Court One with 35 winners and 10 aces, will play former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray or French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Friday's semifinals.

Berdych, the world number nine, is the third Czech man to reach multiple Wimbledon semifinals after Ivan Lendl and Jan Kodes. He has now made it to six Grand Slam semifinals, losing in four of his previous five appearances. "On paper it looks pretty easy, but really I had to work hard for that," Berdych said.

"I had to find my rhythm and when I did in the first set tie-break I felt much better. After that it was more straightforward. It's a great feeling. I hoped one day I would have the chance to use the experience from my Wimbledon final and I'm going to go for it again."

Berdych was playing in his 15th Grand Slam quarterfinal, while Pouille had reached the last eight of a major for the first time and the gulf in experience and class quickly became apparent.

Pouille started last year as the world number 133 and arrived at Wimbledon never having won a tour-level match on grass or made it past the second round of a Grand Slam. Having seen off young guns Alexander Zverev and Jiri Vesely in the previous two rounds to reach his third successive Grand Slam quarterfinal, Berdych was in fine form and he had no trouble maintaining that momentum.

After an early exchange of breaks, Pouille called for a treatment on a finger on his right hand at 3-4 in the first set.

The 22-year-old held on to force a tie-break, but Berdych played the big points flawlessly to take a lead that quickly became two sets to love as he surged through the second. An early break in the third set was all the incentive Berdych needed to seal his drama-free progress to the last four.

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