Federer fights past Wawrinka to reach Wimbledon semis

Roger Federer advanced to his 35th Grand Slam semi-final on Wednesday at The Championships as he fought from a set down to beat the Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4. It was the first all-Swiss quarter-final at Wimbledon.

Federer is bidding to win an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon crown and goes on to face Milos Raonic for a place in his ninth final at the All England Club.

“I’m just really pleased that I’m back strong this year at Wimbledon,” said Federer, who suffered a shock second-round exit at the hands of Sergiy Stakhovsky in 2013. “Last year was such a disappointment. I was very deflated leaving Wimbledon on that note. It’s good to be back in the semis. The prospect is very exciting.

"Here clearly on the grass with a serve like that it's never going to be an easy match against Raonic," said Federer. "That's where you then sort of go back to your own game and say, 'I'll take care of my own serves and see what I can do on the return'. That's my mindset right now."

The Basel native lifted the Wimbledon trophy in 2003-’07, ’09 and ’12; his only final defeat came in 2008 against Rafael Nadal. He has a 72-8 tournament record, the second best mark in the Open Era behind Jimmy Connors (84-18).

Wawrinka came out firing against Federer, striking 10 winners as he claimed the opener in 30 minutes. Federer's first-set loss was the first he'd dropped this tournament in five matches, and also marked the first time he'd had his service broken.

Both players hit top form in the second set, yielding no break point chances, but Federer came out on top in the subsequent tie-break to level the match.

A tiring Wawrinka appeared to be fading fast in the third set, surrendering his serve in the seventh game as Federer took the lead. But the Lausanne native found a second wind in the fourth set, after going down an early break. As Federer served for the match, Wawrinka frustrated his countryman, saving four match points and squandering one break back point before Federer closed out victory in two hours and 33 minutes.

“It's tough playing Stan,” said Federer. “I must say he played a great first two sets. He struggled with his fitness after that. He was hitting the ball too cleanly for me to do anything. I had to wait two and a half sets to get the first break. He's hard to get by because we know each other’s patterns really well. We both played at a high level. I wish him all the best for the rest of the season.”

It was Federer’s 14th win in 16 meetings with Wawrinka and avenged the loss he suffered against his countryman when they met in the final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in April. Prior to that defeat, Federer had recorded 11 straight wins against Wawrinka.

Wawrinka was contesting his first Wimbledon quarter-final after playing three matches in three days. Rain forced the Swiss’ third-round match to be cancelled on Saturday. After completing it Monday, he then returned Tuesday to beat the in-form Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round.

Wawrinka was bidding to win his second Grand Slam championship after a breakthrough victory at the Australian Open in January, where he beat both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

“It was tough to play three days in a row, especially when the third match is against Roger,” he agreed. “I was not feeling great, but nothing I want or need to talk about. It was nice to play a countryman and friend because I’m playing my best game, and we’re playing for the first time in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. It’s special that we have known each other so many years and we are good friends. But it’s never easy to deal with that.

“I think it’s okay to lose on grass here against Roger. It’s just that after the match it’s always tough. I hope he wins it again this year. For sure he’s playing well enough. When Roger is in the semi-final of a Grand Slam, he’s ready to win it.”

Date: 2nd July 2014, Source: ATP and Wimbledon


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