Raonic Comes Back To Beat Federer At Wimbledon
Canadian will play in first Grand Slam final
The sixth seed came back 6-3, 6-7(3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in three hours and 24 minutes to knock out the third seed and seven-time Wimbledon champion, who had opportunities to seize momentum and the match in the fourth set. In Sunday's final, Raonic will face second seed and 2013 champion Andy Murray, who beat No. 10 seed Tomas Berdych, the 2010 finalist, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in under two hours.
“It's definitely a great feeling,” Raonic said.
Watch Match Highlights (not available in UK, USA, South America, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Australia)
The final will be a re-match of the Aegon Championships last month. Murray was down a set and a break before coming back to win a record fifth title there 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3. "I have a great opportunity," Raonic said.
The 25 year old becomes the first Canadian man to make a Grand Slam championship final. He also breaks a five-match losing streak against Top 3 opponents in the Emirates ATP Rankings and earns a bit of revenge against Federer, who swept Raonic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in their 2014 Wimbledon semi-final.
For a while on Friday, it looked like Raonic would add a third loss to his career Grand Slam semi-final record (also 2016 Australian Open). After a near-perfect start, Raonic fell behind two sets to one after Federer had worked his way back into their 12th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Raonic was unable to attack the net in light of Federer's brilliance from the baseline and on his serve.
Late in the fourth set, Raonic took advantage of some rare shaky serving from Federer. Federer served at 5-6, 40/0 and had held for 18 consecutive games, dating back to when Raonic broke at 1-2 in the first set.
But Raonic hit a forehand winner to get to 40/15 and Federer donated two double faults to bring the game to deuce. On his third set point, Raonic struck a backhand pass to force a decider. He celebrated with a scream and a fist pump to his team.
“I can't believe I served a double fault twice. Unexplainable for me really,” Federer said. “Very sad about that and angry at myself because never should I allow him to get out of that set that easily.”
Read More: Thank You, Not Farewell Federer Tells Wimbledon
Federer regrouped in the fifth set and held to love in the second game. But at 1-2, Federer slipped on the grass and briefly saw a trainer. At deuce, he hit another double fault and Raonic smacked a forehand winner for his third service break of the contest. Serving for the match, the 6'5” right-hander showed no nerves and held at love.
“I kept plugging away... I just kept trying to do the right things for me,” Raonic said.
The Canadian was under pressure the entire fourth set. He had to come back to hold in four of his six service games and save three break points.
He couldn't have asked for a better start to Friday's first semi-final, though. Raonic controlled the opener with his serve and forehand, successfully avoiding rallies with Federer. The Canadian won eight of his 12 net points. He also benefited from a Federer double fault on the set's lone break point and had a one-set lead after 35 minutes.
Raonic kept up his attacking tennis in the second set, but Federer squeaked out the tie-break after benefiting from a Raonic double fault at 3/3 in the tie-break.
The third set, however, was all Federer. He found his rhythm on his serve and kept Raonic behind the baseline. Federer landed 61 per cent of his first serves in the third set, up from 54 per cent in the first two sets. Raonic only saw seven net points in the third set after approaching 26 times in the first two sets with good success.
In the fourth set, Raonic returned to his aggressive play when he needed it most and just in time to achieve a lifelong dream and reach his first Grand Slam final.
"I'm by no means done," he said.