Fed­erer eyes 8th Wimby cham­pi­onship

Tempo - - Front Page -

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.

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