Roger Federer came very close to beating Milos Raonic in the fourth set. He was just a touching distance away from reaching another final at Wimbledon but Raonic denied him at crunch time. The 7-time Wimbledon champion, however, played marvelous tennis against an inspired opponent. He had beaten Raonic in the 2014 semifinal but it was Raonic’s turn to reverse that loss on Friday. Once the set scores were tied at 2-2, Federer’s extinction from the coveted tournament came from his third double-fault in the entire match and it came on a break point. In that sense, it seemed like an easy give away on Federer’s part. That was also the only break that Raonic earned in the final set and from there, the Canadian cruised to a 6-3, 6-7, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory. Raonic has entered a Grand Slam final for the first time in his career and he has the game to give frightening moments to Andy Murray, who defeated Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych in the other semifinal.
As usual, the Swiss maestro Roger Federer had the entire center-court crowd on his side. They wanted him to win as much as the world no.3 wanted it himself. After he overcame Marin Cilic’s spirited challenge in the quarterfinal, he had gained in confidence. However, the match began with Milos Raonic taking the first set after breaking Federer in the fourth game. The second set went on serves and nothing happened until the 9th game. In the 10th, Federer earned three break points on Raonic’s service at 0-40. But the tenacious Canadian saved all three and with both players holding their service in the next two games, it was time for the tiebreak. They began well with the score reaching 3-3 at changeover. After that, Raonic didn’t win a single point and Federer took the second set.
The service holds continued in the third set until Federer found a chance to break Raonic in the seventh game. That became crucial in Federer taking a 2-1 sets lead by winning the third set 6-4. The fourth set was where Federer squandered his chances. In the ninth game, the big Swiss earned a break point at 30-40. If he hadn’t missed it, the current story could have been pretty different. But Raonic saved the break against him to make it 5-4 in his favor. That became 5-5 before Federer made it 0-30 on Raonic’s service in the 11th game. That was another time that Federer came close to making a decisive difference but with Raonic’s booming service delivery working for him, he managed to hold for a 6-5 lead. In the 12th game, Federer raced to 40-0 on his service and it looked like the tiebreak time. Precisely then, Milos Raonic changed the course of the match in his favor. He nullified the entire advantage that Federer had and won the set 7-5.
Going into the final set, Federer was not very positively disposed. However, the Swiss pushed Raonic in the first service game of the set. Raonic responded well and managed another hold. In the fourth game it was Federer’s service. 15-15 became 30-30 and when Federer stood at 40-30, Raonic brought the score to deuce. Then a 14-shot rally ensued with both players producing an electrifying game. Raonic extracted a break point, when Federer couldn’t reach one of the Canadian’s shot and tumbled on the court. Federer’s left knee was attended by his trainer before he played his next point. He saved the break point but Raonic got another very soon. Federer double-faulted on the break point and Raonic went up 3-1 and made it 4-1 on his own service next. Now Federer looked miles away from his cherished dream of 18 Grand Slam titles. The best he could do was to hold his next two service games but Raonic had all the cards now and finished in style by holding his serve at love for a 6-3, 6-7, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory.
In the other semifinal, Andy Murray scored a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 straight sets victory over Czech Tomas Berdych. It was a great semifinal, where Berdych did his very best and the score-line doesn’t tell the true story. The Czech tried to fight back in the second set but the Scot was too hot on Friday. Murray stands on the threshold of his second victory at Wimbledon after the one in 2013. But for that, he will have to deal with the lanky Canadian Milos Raonic, who earlier created a stir by seeing off the great Roger Federer.