Federer into 11th Wimbledon final, faces Cilic for title

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer will play in his 11th final at The Championships after overcoming some big hitting from Czech Tomas Berdych 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4 on Friday. Federer still has not dropped a set at SW19 this fortnight and will be the favourite when he plays for his record eighth Wimbledon title and 19th Grand Slam crown on Sunday.

Federer will meet seventh seed Marin Cilic, who beat No. 24 seed Sam Querrey of the U.S. 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in Friday's first semi-final. Cilic, the 2014 US Open titlist, reaches his second Grand Slam final.

Federer leads their ATP Head to Head series 6-1, including a 2016 Wimbledon quarter-final win. But the Croatian held three match points during that match and has beaten Federer in the latter stages of a Grand Slam. The 6'6" right-hander upset Federer in the 2014 US Open semi-finals.

“I'm in for a tough one. We had a great one here last year. At the US Open, he played unreal there against me,” Federer said.

“I have to play offensive. If you give Marin time on the ball, he can finish points nicely. The court is still playing quite fast.

“It helps on my serve, but it also helps him. I'm sure it's going to be a close match.”

The Swiss star was tested by Berdych, who beat Federer and Novak Djokovic en route to the 2010 Wimbledon final. But Federer served himself out of holes and came through in clutch moments to beat Berdych for the eighth straight time and improve to 19-6 in their ATP Head to Head series.

“I thought it was close. I was able to come up with the goods when it mattered. I played good in the breakers. I never played with any sense of panic, which is so important when it gets to crunch time,” said Federer, who saved five of six break points.

Breaks were traded in a patchy first set from both before back-to-back shanked errors off the ground from Berdych ended the opening set tie-break after 53 minutes.

With neither player able to break in the second set, again it would be decided in a tie-break. And it was here Federer shone. Three straight crosscourt forehand winners saw him carve out a 4-1 lead. Barring a fourth double fault of the match, he punched his card with a two-set lead, 7-4, on a backhand error from the Czech.

Federer saved a pair of break points with back-to-back aces to hold for 3-3 in the third set and it would be his last serious test.

He broke the following game when Berdych pushed wide and went on to close it out on his second match point; a backhand dumped into the net consigning Berdych to a second straight Wimbledon semi-final defeat.

“I mean, he's playing barely with any mistakes. He was controlling the game pretty well. Even those two sets in the tiebreak, I was still the one facing more break points,” said Berdych.

“I don't see anything that would indicate really Roger is getting older or anything like that,” Berdych said about Federer's longitivity.

“I think he's just proving his greatness in our sport. So I think that's all I can say about that. That's very simple. This guy doesn't really seem like he's slowing down at all. He's doing things right way. You have to be a unique one for that.”

Victory makes Federer the oldest Wimbledon finalist since a 39-year-old Ken Rosewall finished runner-up to Jimmy Connors in 1974.

It’s one match to go as Federer looks to continue leaving his mark on history in a big way.

Cilic admitted he faces a tough challenge in the final if he has to beat 18-times grand slam champion Federer, who has yet to drop a set at this year's tournament.

“Over here in Wimbledon, I believe this is his home court, the place where he feels the best and knows that he can play his best game,” he said.

“It's a big mountain to climb. Roger is playing maybe the best tennis of his career at the moment, having a great season.”

Date: 14 July 2017, Source: Wimbledon, ATP, and Reuters


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