Federer Beats Berdych To Reach 11th Wimbledon Final
Swiss star will play for eighth title at SW19
Following his Wimbledon semi-final loss last season and his six-month layoff last year, Roger Federer had to doubt if he'd ever return to the Wimbledon final. He doesn't need to wonder any longer.
The seven-time champion will play in his 11th final at The Championships after overcoming some big hitting from Czech Tomas Berdych 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 on Friday during their semi-final. Federer still has not dropped a set at SW19 this fortnight and will be the favourite when he plays for his record eighth Wimbledon title and 19th Grand Slam crown on Sunday.
Federer will meet seventh seed Marin Cilic, who beat No. 24 seed Sam Querrey of the U.S. 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 in Friday's first semi-final. Cilic, the 2014 US Open titlist, reaches his second Grand Slam final.
Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 6-1, including a 2016 Wimbledon quarter-final win. But the Croatian held three match points during that match and has beaten Federer in the latter stages of a Grand Slam. The 6'6" right-hander upset Federer in the 2014 US Open semi-finals.
“I'm in for a tough one. We had a great one here last year. At the US Open, he played unreal there against me,” Federer said.
If Cilic celebrates his first Wimbledon crown, he'll jump to No. 5 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday when the new list is published. If Federer wins the title, he'll rise to No. 3.
The Swiss star was tested by Berdych, who beat Federer en route to the 2010 Wimbledon final. But Federer served himself out of holes and came through in clutch moments to beat Berdych for the eighth straight time and improve to 19-6 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
“I was able to come up with the goods when it mattered... I played good in the 'breakers... I never played with any sense of panic, which is so important when it gets to crunch time,” said Federer, who saved five of six break points.
How The Semi-Final Unfolded
Berdych erased a break point in his opening service game to start strong in his third Wimbledon semi-final. But Federer, who's playing in his 12th Wimbledon semi-final, came back at him at 2-2, smashing a jumping forehand before hitting a swinging volley for the break. He consolidated the break with a hold to love.
Federer used variety, including a steady diet of slice backhands, to keep the big-hitting Berdych off balance. The Swiss sought to stretch Berdych and not allow the 6'5” Czech time to setup on his lethal forehand.
But Berdych responded well, swinging freely from both sides while trying to attack Federer's serve. The Swiss double faulted twice at 4-3, including on break point, to give the break back. At 5-5, Berdych erased two break points with two aces. But his forehand let him down in the tie-break as he netted a sitter at 3/4 to give Federer the mini-break.
In the second set, Federer faced pressure on his serve at 3-3 when Berdych nailed a forehand winner to bring up a break point. But the 35-year-old Swiss crushed Berdych's hopes, hitting three consecutive winners – one forehand and two service – to hold.
In the tie-break, the 18-time Grand Slam champion brought more stellar shot-making, teeing off on a Berdych second serve to earn a mini-break at 2/1. Federer then struck back-to-back forehand winners to lead 4/1.
Berdych turned away a break point at 2-2 in the third set and had two break points during the very next service game to get himself back into the match. But Federer barely let him hit another ball in that game. From 15/40, Federer hit two aces, a service winner and another ace to hold. He'd break the next game.