Comeback king: Roger Federer saves three match points to reach 11th Wimbledon semi-final
Swiss master battles back to beat Marin Cilic in five sets to set up showdown with Milos Raonic, who ends the giant-killing run of Sam Querrey
Roger Federer saved three match points to beat Marin Cilic 6-7 (4-7), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (11-9), 6-3 and reach a record-equalling 11th Wimbledon semi-final on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old seven-time champion also claimed a new record for grand slam match wins of 307 as he made a 40th semi-final at the majors.
His dramatic triumph was his 84th win at Wimbledon – taking him level with Jimmy Connors – and gave him a semi-final against Canada’s Milos Raonic as he continues his pursuit of an 18th grand slam title and a record eighth All England Club crown.
In a thrilling Centre Court confrontation, it was Federer’s 10th career comeback from two sets down.
It was a tie which saw him save three match points in a titanic fourth set as Federer became the oldest Wimbledon semi-finalist since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974.
Federer fired 27 aces and 67 winners to avenge his semi-final loss to ninth seed Cilic in the semi-finals of the 2014 US Open.
“Marin is such a wonderful player and I knew I was in so much trouble in the third set and in the fourth,” said Federer.
“I wasn’t seeing his serves, he had one chance and took it and then I was down 2-0. He was playing very well and reading my serve and I couldn’t read his.
“I just tried to stay in the match and hoped for his level to drop and get a bit lucky. That happened and obviously the breaker was crazy.
“My legs and back were there and serving was key, plus mentally this will give me a hell of a boost.”
Raonic advanced to his second Wimbledon semi-final as the big server ended Sam Querrey’s surprise run to the last eight with a 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 victory.
Raonic is the first Canadian to make the last four at the All England Club more than once.
The 25-year-old will hope it is third time lucky after losing his previous two grand slam semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2014 and in the Australian Open earlier this year.
Now coached by former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe, Raonic blitzed Querrey who had knocked out Novak Djokovic in the third round.
He hit 58 winners and served 13 aces and finally looks capable of fulfilling the potential that saw him earmarked as a future star several years ago.
“There were some momentum shifts there. I’m glad I was able to get back on the right path after he won the third,” Raonic said after tying Eugenie Bouchard’s Canadian record of reaching three Slam semis.
“I was able to get things back on my terms. It’s a well deserved chance to be in the semi-finals.
“It’s exciting, but also humbling because you have to get the win. I hope to do better than last time.”
Querrey’s exit was a low-key conclusion to a memorable campaign for the American 28th seed.
But playing his first grand slam quarter-final at the 38th attempt, Querrey was unable to reproduce the bold play that shattered Djokovic’s bid for a calendar grand slam.
“Kudos to Milos for playing a very clean match. He didn’t miss a volley. I was always playing catch-up and in the end he got me,” Querrey said.