No. 6-seed Milos Raonic advanced to his first Grand Slam final on Friday, defeating No. 3-seed Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7(3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in three hours and 24 minutes in the Wimbledon semifinals.
With the win, Raonic becomes the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam final. Before Friday, Federer had never lost a Wimbledon semifinal match and was looking to advance to his third straight final at the All England Club.
Early in the match, Raonic was serving strong and was able to break Federer early—the only break point of the set in the fourth game—after the Swiss double faulted for only the third time in the tournament.
In the second set, both men held their serve until two Raonic errors and a double fault gave Federer set points. But the Canadian found a way out, saving four set points to force a tiebreak. Another double fault and few errors from Raonic allowed Federer to take the second set and level the match.
In the third set, Raonic appeared to feel the pressure of the occasion and Federer was able to serve it out for 6-4 and a two sets to one lead. Raonic raised his level in the fourth set—Federer found himself with a 40-0 lead and set point until Raonic clawed his way back to take the fourth set 7-5 and force a decider.
Early in the fifth set, Federer stumbled and hit the deck and came back to save a break point. But it was Raonic who was able to finally get the break for 3-1 in the final set after an incredible rally. From there, the Canadian went on to hold and serve out the match for the win.
"So opportunities were all around the fourth set. I think I pushed him on a few service games to get the break. But somehow I couldn't get it done. Either he served well or he hit the line on the serve, or with the forehand, he did a great job there," Federer said after the match. "It was always going to come down to a few shots here and there. Unfortunately they went his way today. It's disappointing for me, clearly."
The last time Federer lost at Wimbledon after dropping the first set and winning the next two was his first time against Jiri Novak in 1999. Raonic's win on Friday avenged his loss to Federer in the 2014 Wimbledon semifinals.
"It's a dream to win my eighth. It's not my only reason why I play tennis, just to be clear, otherwise I'll go in a freeze box now and come out before Wimbledon next year," Federer said. "I know Wimbledon is important, but it's not everything. A lot of things that I'd like to achieve besides winning Wimbledon."
To advance to the semifinals, Raonic defeated American Sam Querrey in four sets in the quarterfinals. Federer was playing in his second five-set match in a row after he defeated No. 9-seed Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Raonic will look to win his first Grand Slam title in Sunday’s final, where he will face the winner of the second men’s semifinal between No. 2 Andy Murray and No. 10 Tomas Berdych.
Snapshots from the men's semifinals