Milos Raonic rallied from two sets to one down to upset Roger Federer 6-3 6-7 4-6 7-5 6-3 in the semi-finals at Wimbledon. It was the first time Federer had lost a semi-final at SW19, having previously been a perfect 10-0. For the 6 foot 5 inch Canadian, he has finally cracked through to make his first grand slam final at the age of 25, where he’ll play Andy Murray.
Federer was playing his second five-setter in a row after saving three match points against Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals. And it appeared to take a toll on his body as he had to take two medical time outs, one for his right thigh at the end of the fourth set, and then after almost rolling his left ankle when slipping at 1-2 in the fifth.
Raonic’s booming serve was not firing on all cylinders because he served 11 double faults although some were probably because he was going for big second serves knowing how good Federer is at bunting returns back into play.
Looking back on the match, the fourth set was the key. Federer wasted chances to go up a break when Raonic was 15-40 at 2-2 and then 0-30 at 5-5. Then Federer inexplicably served two double faults at 5-6 and conceded the set when Raonic hit a fabulous backhand passing shot.
Raonic on his comeback: “Today I sort of persevered. I was sort of plugging away. I was struggling through many parts of the match. He gave me a little opening towards the end of the fourth. I made the most of it. The attitude kept me in the match. I think that’s what made the biggest difference.“
World no.2 Murray, who was already on the half of the draw not containing Novak Djokovic or Federer, will now not have to play either in the final. The Scot easily overcame 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-3 6-3. The straight sets win included seven aces, 20 winners and only nine unforced errors.
Murray leads Raonic 6-3 in their head to head record and the Scot will start favourite on Sunday. Their last meeting was the Queen’s Club final, also on grass, just three weeks ago and although Murray did win that match, he was in big trouble down a set and a break. Raonic is just the second Canadian after Eugenie Bouchard to make a grand slam singles final.
For Murray, who has a poor 2-8 record in grand slam finals, he simply must win on Sunday. At 29, the last three years were meant to be the peak years of his career yet he hasn’t won a single major since that 2013 Wimbledon title. Now is his golden chance to win his third major trophy.