Federer eyes 8th Wimby championship
LONDON (AFP) – Seven-time champion Roger Federer reached his 11th Wimbledon final on Friday, downing 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
The 35-year-old, bidding to win a record eighth title and become the oldest champion at the All England Club in the Open era, will face Croatia’s Marin Cilic in Sunday’s final.
Seventh seeded Cilic reached his first Wimbledon title match at the 11th attempt with a 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 win over America's Sam Querrey.
“I feel very privileged to be in another final and get the pleasure to play on Centre Court another time,” said Federer who was playing in his 42nd Grand Slam semi-final.
He is the second oldest man to make the Wimbledon final after 39-year-old Ken Rosewall finished runner-up in 1974.
With Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic suffering injury-hit exits in the quarter-finals and Rafael Nadal losing in the last 16, Federer will be the favourite to become Wimbledon’s oldest champion, succeeding Arthur Ashe who was almost 32 when he won in 1975.
But despite leading Cilic 6-1 in career meetings, Federer will be wary of a man who was two sets to love up on him in the quarterfinals last year and held match points.
“We had a brutal quarter-final last year here and he crushed me in straight sets at the US Open in 2014,” said Federer.
“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.”
Federer had defeated 2010 runner-up Berdych 18 times in 24 matches before Friday and he was quickly in the ascendancy, breaking for 3-2.
But an uncharacteristic double fault handed the break back in the eighth game before the 18-time major winner played a more composed tiebreak.
He pocketed the opener when Berdych miss-hit and ballooned the ball wide.
Berdych kept pressing but had to fend off more break points in the fourth game of the second set before Federer again swept through the breaker on the back of a 5/1 lead.
The big Czech would have to win from two sets down at the Slams for the first time in 38 matches if he were to return to the final.
CROATIAN Marin Cilic celebrates after beating American Sam Querrey, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, in the semis.