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Raonic ends 106-year Canadian wait at Wimbledon in setting up semi-final with Federer

On the other side of the draw Novak Djokovic needed all five sets to overcome Marin Cilic.

MILOS RAONIC BECAME the first Canadian man to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in 106 years today when he ended the giantkilling run of Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios.

The eighth-seeded Raonic will tackle seven-time champion Roger Federer for a place in Sunday’s final after seeing off world number 144 Kyrgios, who beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

Robert Powell in 1908 was the last Canadian man to make the last-four at the All England Club.

Tennis - 2014 Wimbledon Championships - Day Ten - The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club Source: EMPICS Sport

Raonic fired 39 aces and 73 winners past Kyrgios. He allowed just 20 points off his own serve and only three in the fourth set.

“It hasn’t really sunk it yet. It’s great to have this kind of win, especially at a tournament where I always wanted to play so well and haven’t in previous years. To turn it around is pretty special,” said Raonic.

“It’s another step forward. The goal is to be the best player in the world and this is one of those steps you have to take to achieve those goals. To do it on this stage is really special.”

Federer enjoys a 4-0 career lead over the Canadian going into the semi-finals.

“I’ve got to take care of my serve against Roger. It’s a great challenge and one I’m going to relish,” he said.

“I wanted to put myself in this situation so I’m going to compete hard and who knows what can happen.”

Source: Wimbledon/YouTube

Federer joins the Canadian in the final four having avoided joining Wimbledon’s Centre Court casualty list as the Swiss star hit back to reach his  ninth semi-final with a 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-4 victory over compatriot Stan Wawrinka.

Federer dropped a set for the first time in this year’s tournament, but eventually emerged unscathed on Wimbledon’s showpiece arena just hours after defending champion Andy Murray had walked off stunned by his quarter-final defeat against Grigor Dimitrov.

Murray’s loss was the latest in a long line of shocks on Centre Court over the last nine days, with world number one Rafael Nadal and former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova also among those bowing out. But fourth seed Federer ensured his name wasn’t added to the list with a come from behind victory in the last eight to secure his 35th Grand Slam semi-final appearance.

It was also the 17-time Grand Slam champion’s 72nd match victory at the All England Club, which moved him into second place on the all-time list ahead of Boris Becker and behind only Jimmy Connors.

“It’s always nice to play on Centre Court and in England, I have had amazing support since I first came in 1998,” says the man bidding to become the first male to win eight Wimbledon singles titles.

“Stan played great in the first two sets but maybe he struggled with his fitness a little. “We know our patterns so well so it’s hard to get by.”

Wawrinka represented a significantly tougher test than the likes of Gilles Muller and Santiago Giraldo who were among Federer’s challengers as he swept through four rounds without dropping his serve.

The 29-year-old had already replaced Federer as the Swiss number one earlier this year and defeated his close friend in the Monte Carlo final in April.

That was only his second win against Federer in 15 attempts, but any inferiority complex about facing him had long disappeared and Wawrinka was quickly into his stride on Centre Court as he broke for a 4-1 lead.

With Federer unable to make any impact on the Wawrinka serve, that was enough to take the first set. But Federer turned the tide, keeping his cool in a tight second set tie-break to level the match.

Britain Wimbledon Tennis Source: Pavel Golovkin

Federer was beginning to hit peak form and Wawrinka, showing signs of fatigue in his third match in three days at the rain-hit tournament, couldn’t muster a response when Federer broke in the third set.

Regardless of the gradual decline which has seen him win only one Grand Slam title in his last 17 attempts, Federer with the bit between his teeth at Wimbledon remains a formidable force.

He easily finished off the third set and kept the pressure on Wawrinka, drawing a crucial error to break for a 2-1 lead at the start of the fourth.

Wawrinka kept fighting and saved four match points at 4-5, but Federer finally delivered the knockout blow at the fifth attempt.

Tennis - 2014 Wimbledon Championships - Day Ten - The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club Source: EMPICS Sport

Six-time major winner Djokovic went level with Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal by making the last-four at a major for the 23rd time at the expense of Marin Cilic.

“It was a tough five-setter. I knew that Marin would be aggressive. I took the first set and had chances to break in the second but didn’t take them,” said Djokovic.

Source: Wimbledon/YouTube

“I dropped serve and the momentum shifted but in the last two sets I regained control, swung through the ball, had more stability on the ground and I was getting my returns back.

“Even though I allowed him back in, I am happy that I managed to find the right pace.”

- © AFP, 2014

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