Roger Federer reached a ninth Wimbledon final after suppressing bullet-serving giant Milos Raonic 6-4 6-4 6-4 with a masterful display of the grasscourt arts on Friday.
Chasing a record eighth title at the All England Club, Federer set up a final against top seed and 2011 champion Novak Djokovic with an almost casual demolition of the 23-year-old Canadian.
The 17-times grand slam champion broke in the opening game and then comfortably saw out the first set before breaking decisively in the ninth games of both the second and third sets, with his opponent unable to gain a foothold in the match.
‘I had to focus on every point’
The Swiss had a 4-0 career advantage over the 23-year-old going into Friday's encounter and once the seven-time champion broke in the first game, the tone was set for a semi-final which had none of the drama of the earlier tie between Djokovic and Dimitrov.
The 32-year-old Swiss played most of the match at walking pace and finished off his opponent in one hour 41 minutes, clenching his fist in a restrained celebration when Raonic hit a backhand return wide on match point.
Still, Federer said he had to focus to win.
"It was down to big concentration really," said Federer. "I had to focus on every point. You always say that but today especially I had to be careful on my serve and there were only a few chances when he served. I took those chances and I'm unbelievably happy. I've played some great tennis this week, under pressure at times as well."
Raonic came into his first Grand Slam semi-final having fired a tournament-leading 148 aces, but that crude, one-dimensional approach was never likely to be enough against a man of Federer's class.
Federer, 32, who becomes the oldest man to make a Grand Slam final since Andre Agassi reached the 2005 Australian Open final at the age of 33, will take an 18-16 career lead over Djokovic into Sunday's championship match.
Federer has beaten Djokovic in two out of three meetings in 2014 and was looking forward to renewing their rivalry which stretches back to 2006.
"Novak and myself always play good matches. We've played a lot in the last six months. It's gone back and forth a bit," he said.
"He is a great champion and is used to these occasions. He's got the trophy here in the past and knows how it's done.
"I know I don't have 10 years left, so I'm going to try and enjoy it as much as I can. That I get another chance to go through these kinds of emotions is great."
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)
Date created : 2014-07-04