Basking in title glow
OVERSHADOWED by Gilles Muller’s epic upset of nemesis Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer continues to feed off January’s miracle Australian Open win as he chases an eighth Wimbledon title.
In cruise control during a routine 6- 4 6- 2 6- 4 victory over Grigor Dimitrov, Federer will tonight play Milos Raonic for a place in Friday’s semi- finals.
But while the Swiss champion prefers to look to the future, the glory of Melbourne Park is stoking growing confidence.
“It ( Melbourne Park victory) was one of the most special ones,” Federer said. “I definitely put it in the top five at least, if not top three, of my best feelings I ever had after winning, what it meant to me, under the circumstances on the comeback.
“In the finals against Rafa, having had the five- setters throughout the tournaments as well, against Kei ( Nishikori), Stan ( Wawrinka), then also against Rafa.
“I had some tough battles against Rafa over the years, but that came totally unexpected I think for both of us to make the finals.
“Every match after, even with the ( Tomas) Berdych match, from the third round on, was like a super bonus. I really just had a wonderful time in Melbourne. It felt, yeah, I was on this amazing journey. I was happy to bring it all the way home.”
With Nadal removed from contention 6- 3 6- 4 3- 6 4- 6 15- 13 by Muller, Federer senses a 19th major in the offing.
“I can look at this quarter- final in a totally relaxed fashion,” he said. “Physically I’m not fighting anything like last year with my knee.
“Then again, the best players are left in the draw.
“I got to bring the intensity, the focus that I’ve shown throughout this tournament, the mentality on the serve, first and second serve.
“Very few wrong decision- making. Understanding what to do at what stage. Then on the return, keep going for it, keep staying aggressive. Positive attitude. I do believe good things can happen.”
Federer has also effectively stolen a march on probable semi- final opponent Novak Djokovic.
The Serb wasn’t able to get on court after Nadal and Muller duelled for almost five hours, meaning Djokovic was rescheduled to play Adrian Mannarino overnight. If successful, Djokovic will have to back up and play Tomas Berdych tonight.