World number 3 Roger Federer faces a tough challenge in big serving Milos Raonic in the semi-final, as he looks to win his 8th Wimbledon title.
Roger Federer entered the tournament with low expectations, after facing back and knee injuries for the majority of early 2016, and losing to Thiem and Zverev in the Wimbledon warm-up events. Federer’s movement looked poor in Halle, and his lack of match practice seemed to affect his serve, which was not close to his best.
However the green grass lawns of SW19 have given Federer a spark, and he has upped his game as the tournament has gone on. His run to the final included a easy but fun match against home player Marcus Willis, and straight set wins against Dan Evans and Steve Johnson in Rounds 3 and 4 respectively. His toughest match of the tournament so far was in the quarter finals against Marin Cilic.
Cilic had experience of beating Federer in a Grand Slam previously, having beaten him on course to his US Open title in 2014, and looked on the way to doing so after taking the first 2 sets 7-6 and 6-4. However Federer launched a stirring fightback, having to save match points in an epic set 4 tiebreaker, before coming back to win 6-7 4-6 6-4 7-6 6-4.
Milos Raonic, being coached by John McEnroe for Wimbledon this year, has caught the eye of tennis fans as a big threat to the big guns this fortnight. His 2016 has been a success so far, winning Brisbane in January, where he beat Federer in the final; and reaching the semi-final of the Australian Open where he beat Wawrinka and was 2 sets to 1 up against Murray before being struck by injury.
In his run up to Wimbledon, he reached the Queens final where he was a set and a break up against Murray before being eventually beaten in a decider. Nevertheless that performance gave him a lot of confidence, and he started off Wimbledon well, beating Busta, Seppi, and Sock in straight sets. In his round 4 match, he had to come back from 2 sets down against the talented David Goffin, but after sealing that he beat giant & giant killer Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 5-7 6-4 to advance to the semi-finals.
Raonic will have to do well on second serves to win the match, and look to come in during rallies to make life as tough for Federer as possible. Raonic’s volleying has been impressive so far this fortnight, and he needs to stick to an aggressive gameplan if he wants to have a chance against the 7 time Wimbledon Champion. For Federer’s part, he has to try and be more consistent on his groundstrokes than he was against Cilic, in particular off the backhand wing. Federer will also look to use his low slices to throw the tall Canadian off his game.
With Federer and Raonic both having the ability to serve big, this match may come down to tiebreakers, and the result of the match may depend on which player can do better under intense pressure.
Federer 7-5 4-6 7-6 6-3 Raonic