Roger Federer and the Centre Court crowd celebrate the third seed moving into the Wimbledon semi-finals for the 11th time. © Getty Images
Seven-time champion will face Raonic in SF
Roger Federer performed one of his greatest escape acts of all-time on Wednesday, erasing three match points to come back from two-sets down and beat Marin Cilic 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3.
Federer moves into the Wimbledon semi-finals for the 11th time and will face Milos Raonic, who beat American Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4. The Swiss star leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 9-2, including a 2014 Wimbledon win. But Raonic took their most recent match-up 6-4, 6-4 at Brisbane earlier this season.
“The dream continues. I couldn’t be happier,” Federer told the BBC after the match. “I fought well and played super great at the end.”
The comeback win marks the 10th time Federer has overcome a two-set deficit in his career, and his quarter-final contest looked severely in doubt.
Cilic was dictating nearly everything during the first two sets. The 6’6” right-hander was landing booming first serves and seizing play with powerful groundstrokes. During the first two sets, Cilic won 87 per cent of his first-serve points. The 34 year old Swiss largely had to play defensive tennis and struggled to get into the biggest points. Federer was 0-3 on break points during the first two sets.
But serving at 0/40, 3-all in the third, Federer somehow reeled off five straight points to hear the roar of the Centre Court crowd, which had been waiting for moments to scream. During the next game, Cilic double faulted on break point and Federer had his first break. A game later, he had taken the third set and the match’s momentum.
In the fourth, Federer seemed to be moving better, serving and volleying and forcing the issue against Cilic. But the Croat regrouped and hung with the Swiss star. Cilic even earned three match points but failed to convert any of them. On two of the match points, he saw a Federer second serve but couldn’t put either ball in play.
The two played an enthralling tie-break that saw Federer erase one of those match points and witnessed Cilic save four set points. But the seven-time champion evened the contest on his serve after 20 points.
In the fifth, Federer broke Cilic at 4-3 and served out the set and the match, ending the memorable contest with two of his seven aces.