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Roger Federer knows he let an opportunity to win an 18th major title slip away.
Ahead two sets to one over Milos Raonic, Federer couldn’t close it out and with age 35 closing in, one would have to wonder how many more opportunities he has left.
“This one clearly hurts,” Federer said. “I could have had it. I was so, so close.”
The pair seemed destined for a fourth-set tiebreaker when Federer was serving at 5-6 with a 40-love lead, but two inexplicable double faults helped hand Raonic the set.
“It was a very disappointing end to the match for me,” Federer added. “Something I want to forget about, yeah.”
The stars appeared to be aligning for Federer at Wimbledon. Novak Djokovic, a constant thorn in Federer’s side, lost early in the tournament, clearing an easier path to the finals. Federer couldn’t take advantage, though, making this semifinal defeat sting even more.
There simply won’t be many more better opportunities left for Federer to add No. 18 to his collection, but fans can take solace in the fact that they can at least watch arguably the greatest ever play a little longer.
“Yes, I hope to be back on Centre Court, to be very clear,” Federer said.
Milos Raonic has made Canadian tennis history — and he beat one of the game’s best and most decorated players in the process.
The 25-year-old player from Thornhill, Ont., defeated Swiss superstar Roger Federer in a marathon Wimbledon semifinal to become the first Canadian man to play for a Grand Slam singles title.
Raonic edged the seven-time champion 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Raonic is showing he can compete with one of the game’s best ever. He beat the 34-year-old in straight sets in the Brisbane International final to kick off the 2016 season.
New coach John McEnroe has had a positive effect, Raonic said.
“What he told me today was ‘Go out there and leave it all out there.’ I showed a lot of emotion out there, always positive, and I think that’s what got me through mentally,” he said. “I had one of my best matches in my career and I think that’s what made the biggest difference.”
Federer, who had won all 10 previous semis at the All England Club, blew a chance to close out the match in the fourth set as Raonic broke him in the final game to force a fifth set.
There was a lot of history going against Raonic in this match. The Canadian had a 2-9 career head-to-head record against Federer coming in to the match. Federer had a 10-0 career record in Wimbledon semifinals. No Canadian man had ever reached the final of Wimbledon–or any Major, for that matter.
None of that mattered once the final set started. Raonic was holding his serve well early in the set and Raonic earned the break in a marathon fourth game, ending in an incredible point at net. Now Raonic was just three holds away from history, and the only thing in doubt was if he could keep his nerves in check for the duration of the match. Raonic showed no trouble and no hesitation, other than one shaky double-fault, and served out the last three games for an historic 6-3 win of the set and the match.
With this win, Raonic becomes the first Canadian man to reach a singles final in a Major. On Sunday, he will have the opportunity to become Canada’s first Grand Slam winner in singles, man or woman. It truly is the Golden Age of Canadian tennis, and the big-serving Yugoslavian-born Raonic, who grew up in Ontario, is fully leading the charge.
Raonic will face Andy Murray in the final on Sunday.
Murray beat Raonic at Queen’s just last month in their first ever meeting on grass – but it was a tricky match. Raonic won the first set in a tie-break before Murray took the second and third sets.
In total, they have played each other nine times, with Murray leading six wins to Raonic’s three. Crucially, Murray has won the last five in a row. Murray reached the final with a straight sets victory over Tomas Berdych on Friday, while Raonic ousted seven-time champion Roger Federer in five sets on Centre Court.
The match against Raonic will represent the first major final Murray has played in which hasn’t been against either Federer or Novak Djokovic.
Murray and Raonic met less than a month ago in the Queen’s final, with the Brit coming from a set down to win in three.
Will it be a similar story at SW19? Here’s all you need to know ahead of the match…
What rankings are the two players?
Brit Murray, 29, is the second-ranked player in the world, while Raonic is number seven.
In line with his ranking, Murray is seeded second at the Championships, while Raonic is seeded sixth.
The 25-year-old jumps up a place as Rafael Nadal, the world’s fourth-ranked player, sat out the tournament through injury.
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