Roger Federer saved three match points in a classic five set win, 6-7 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-3, over Croatian Marin Cilic. It was the 10th time in Federer’s decorated career that he has come from two sets to love down and today’s match has to go down as one of his best-ever comebacks.
In surely the match of the tournament so far, both players showcased quality tennis. Cilic actually beat Federer in straight sets on his way to winning the 2014 US Open and it was looking like a possible repeat when he took the first two sets. Cilic was clutch for the most part, taking huge risks by going for big second serves and nailing some fabulous passing shots.
The match climaxed with a scintillating fourth set. Cilic had match points when Federer was serving to stay in the match at 4-5, then again at 5-6, and once more in the tiebreak.
Although one of those match points was saved by a Federer ace, Cilic rued two missed returns off second serves on the other chances he had.
“I would say obviously in those situations, slight hesitation comes into your body,” Cilic said. “Legs start not to move. In those couple of occasions, I had pretty makeable returns on second serves. That was pretty much a shame.”
Federer, who has missed tennis this year with knee and back injuries, was savouring this win: “It was an emotional win, always when you come back from two sets to love down, but because of the season that I’ve had, it’s wonderful.”
Federer, winner of 17 majors, served brilliantly in the last two sets, hitting 15 aces. It was the 307th grand slam match win for the Swiss legend and advances him to an 11th Wimbledon semi-final, tying the Open era record with Jimmy Connors.
Turning 35 next month, Federer is the oldest man to reach the Wimbledon semis since Ken Rosewall in 1974. He next plays Canadian Milos Raonic, who has an even more potent serve than Cilic.
Raonic, seeded sixth and coached by McEnroe, ended the run of American Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 5-7 6-4. Querrey was the man responsible for knocking out Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Andy Murray got through in five sets as well, 7-6 6-1 3-6 4-6 6-1 over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman held set points when leading 6-4 in the opening set breaker but the Scot fought back to eventually take it 12-10. Murray exemplified his incredible speed by chasing down a Tsonga drop shot that left the Centre Court crowd in awe and had Murray fist-pumping the air.
Murray cruised through the second set and appeared to be heading to an easy win. But Tsonga produced an unforeseeable fight back, saving break points with two stunning backhands in a gripping fourth set. The backhand is usually Tsonga’s weakest shot.
Murray averted a break point early in the fifth and yelled, “no way I’m losing this match,” to his player’s box. And the rest was history. Murray will play Tomas Berdych in the last four after the Czech ousted first-time slam quarterfinalist Lucas Pouille in straight sets.