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Roger Federer crushes Milos Raonic to reach his ninth Wimbledon final

Roger Federer will face Novak Djokovic for an unprecedented ninth Wimbledon title. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Roger Federer will face Novak Djokovic for an unprecedented ninth Wimbledon title.

LONDON -- Roger Federer will get a chance to win a record eighth Wimbledon title after defeating first-time semifinalist Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Friday.

In a potentially tricky match against the big-serving Canadian, Federer secured a break in each set and continued to serve well to seal the match in just an hour and 41 minutes. The 17-time Grand Slam champion has been broken just once in the tournament and faced only one break point against Raonic.​ 

"That was a big victory," Federer told the BBC. "I really had to focus on every point. I know that is always the case at this stage, but it was hard. I had to be very careful on my service games and I knew there were only going to be a few chances on his serve, but I am very, very happy."

Federer will meet top-seeded Novak Djokovic on Sunday, the 32-year-old Swiss' first major final since winning Wimbledon in 2012. Federer, who lost in the second round last year amid a poor season, has bounced back to become the oldest Slam finalist since Andre Agassi at the 2005 U.S. Open. He is 7-1 in Wimbledon finals.

"I must say I'm unbelievably proud every time I can walk the grounds here and keep on playing this tournament. I know I don't have 10 left, so I'll try to enjoy it as much as I can. Clearly, the first one was unbelievably special, in 2003.

"And that I was able to play so successful for so many years here at Wimbledon has been an unbelievable thrill and that I get another chance to go through these kind of emotions is great."

Game-by-game analysis of Federer's victory below. 

Third set

1:19 p.m. ET | Roger Federer defeats Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to his ninth Wimbledon final. 

It wasn't the cleanest close, but who cares? Federer holds at 30 to seal the match. He's still been broken only once in the tournament and will go into Sunday's final against Novak Djokovic having lost just one set. Great focus and execution today against Raonic, who was outclassed.

1:13 p.m. ET | Federer breaks, leads *5-4.

Another one of those poor service games for Raonic. Not that his serve failed him, but he made too many unforced errors in the rallies to fall behind 0-40. The midcourt backhand slice into the middle of the net really sealed his fate there. Two points later, he sends a forehand well long and Federer breaks.  

1:08 p.m. ET | Raonic holds, leads 4-3*. 

This match reminds me of the old Wimbledon days of massive servers and zero rallies. It's a great combination when it creates suspense and razor-thin margins, but Federer seems to have this so in control that there's little drama. Pure inevitability.

1:00 p.m. ET | Raonic holds, leads 3-2*. 

Holds, holds, holds. Much of the same in this third set. 

Quick stat check: Federer is winning 71 percent of his second-serve points. That's insane, even against a subpar returner.

Second set

12:45 p.m. ET | Roger Federer wins the second set, leads 6-4, 6-4. 

Federer closes at 30 in another 34-minute set. One set away from his first major final since 2012 Wimbledon. Federer would be the oldest Grand Slam finalist since Andre Agassi at the 2005 U.S. Open. 

12:41 p.m. ET | Federer breaks, leads *5-4.

Trouble for Raonic. He falls behind 0-30 on his service game at 4-all and then sails an overhead long. Horrible miss. Two points later, Federer laces a backhand down the line and Raonic doesn't make a move for it. 

This has the vibe of a light afternoon stroll for Federer. He'll serve for a two-set lead.

 

Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images
12:35 p.m. ET | Raonic holds, leads 4-3*.

More holds. No break points. Raonic has done well to just hold his serve and keep the pressure on. He just needs to get these sets to a tiebreaker and roll the dice from there. 

12:27 p.m. ET | Raonic holds, leads 3-2*.

Holding steady. Federer is serving well and putting as many balls as possible to the Raonic backhand, the Canadian's weaker side. BBC just put up a stat showing that if the majority of the rally is on Raonic's backhand, his opponent is more likely to win the point. 

12:21 p.m. ET | Raonic holds, leads 2-1*.

Raonic under the gun again early in this set and has to save another break point, which he does. He gets the hold and they're on serve. 

As I wrote in my preview, Federer is already doing a great job of chipping back returns and making Raonic get into the rallies. Against most other opposition, Raonic probably expects his 130 mph bombs to be unreturned. That's not the case against Federer, putting Raonic under pressure in his service games. 

First set

12:11 p.m. ET | Roger Federer wins the first set 6-4.

No problems closing for Federer. He holds at 30 and the first set is over in just 34 minutes. Perfect start for the seven-time champion, who has never lost at the semifinal stage at Wimbledon.

12:07 p.m. ET | Raonic holds, trails *5-4.

Raonic actually earns a break point at 30-40, hitting a nice backhand return winner. But Federer saves it easily with some good serving and he holds.

No big deal, but Raonic holds with a 132 mph second-serve ace. 

12:00 p.m. ET | Raonic holds, trails *4-3.

Raonic earns a racket clap from Federer on a running pick-up backhand that zips right by Federer at the net. Even the intense Canadian could smile about that. 

Here's what Raonic said the other day when asked about the excitement of playing Federer on Centre Court:

"I'm going to step out there, and I'm not playing the seven-time Wimbledon champion. I'm not playing a 32-year-old man. I'm not playing father of two sets of twins, which is a very low possibility I bet to do. I'm not playing the guy that's won whatever he's won, which I could probably list quite vividly. I'm playing a guy that is standing in my way of what I want to achieve, and I've got to focus on everything that's there, on the situation, how best to deal with it to give myself the best possibilities to achieve what I want."

All the right words. But can he really ignore the occasion and the player today?

 

Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images
11:53 a.m. ET | Raonic holds, trails *3-2.

Should we just forward to the second set? With a break in hand, Federer is serving lights out. This set should go quickly. 

11:44 a.m. ET | Federer breaks, leads *2-1.

While some of us were busy taking a coffee break after the first semifinal, Federer decided to break Raonic's serve in the first game. Don't ask me how it happened. I really was over by the coffee machine, which is 10 feet from my desk here in the press center. Federer consolidates the break quickly and Raonic gets on the board with a love hold. That might settle his nerves. After all, this is his first time playing on Centre Court. 

Pre-match

No. 4 seed Roger Federer faces No. 8 seed Milos Raonic in the second men's semifinal at Wimbledon on Friday. ESPN will televise the match live. 

Raonic has one of the biggest serves in the game -- he's hit 147 aces in five matches at Wimbledon. However, Federer's serve has been just as devastating, as he's been broken just once.​ 

Federer, a seven-time champion, is 4-0 against Raonic. The Swiss defeated the Canadian in straight sets in their only Grand Slam meeting, the fourth round at the 2013 Australian Open. But Raonic has pushed Federer the distance in every best-of-three match. 

If Federer wins, he'll eclipse Stan Wawrinka and take over the No. 3 spot in the ATP rankings. 

The winner will play Novak Djokovic for the Wimbledon title on Sunday.

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