Roger Federer reached his 11th Wimbledon final with a tough 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over Tomas Berydch in the semifinals on Friday.
“I was able to come up with the goods when it mattered,” Federer said. “I played good in the tiebreakers, I never played with any sense of panic, which is so important when it gets to crunch time.”
Federer had beaten Berdych seven straight times and 18-6 overall, but the Czech relied on his experience of having defeated the Swiss in the 2010 quarterfinals. And Berdych, unlike in Australia, came to play despite losing in straight sets.
Berdych held off early break charge in the opener, but was broken at 2-2 in the first. Federer couldn’t hold the lead as a double fault put the set back at level. Berdych again saved break points at 5-5 before Federer closed out the first in a convincing tiebreaker.
In the second, both guys stayed on serve and again it was Federer who took the breaker.
Two sets down, Berdych kept fighting in the third, but Federer broke at 3-3 and took the last three games of the match.
Federer will meet familiar foe Marin Cilic in the Sunday final. Cilic, who held match points on Federer last year in the quarterfinals, ended the run of Sam Querrey 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-5.
In a serving battle, it was Cilic who took charge in the tiebreaker but up 4-1 the Croat couldn’t close it out, dropping 7 of the last 9 points, and losing the last two with horrendous backhand misses.
Cilic rebounded in the second breaking Querrey at 3-3. And Querrey, who had played 3 straight 5-set matches, started to fade.
After dropping the third in a breaker, Querrey managed a break for 4-2 in the fourth, but Cilic run five of the last six games to take the match in 2 hours, 56 minutes.
“It’s definitely great for me to be in the final of a Grand Slam again,” said Cilic. “I felt that my level of tennis in the past several weeks is really on a high level, and that has given me a lot of consistency with my mindset. Obviously, it’s going to be a big match for me. But it’s great thing that I have already played one Grand Slam final, and I believe it’s going to be easier to prepare.
“It would mean absolutely a world to me [to lift the trophy]. I feel that when I won the US Open in ’14, it just opened so many possibilities in my mind for the rest of my career. To be able to do it again would definitely mean, I would say, even more because I know how much it meant for me to win that first one. It would be absolutely a dream come true to win Wimbledon here.”
Querrey leaves Wimbledon after a second straight year knocking out the defending champion. And he is now the only American man to make a Slam semifinal this decade.
“Marin is just really good. I mean, he’s tough on both sides,” Querrey said. “I kind of felt like he pushed me around a little bit today. I had that break in the fourth. When he broke me back, he just played a great game.
“He didn’t seem to have many holes. I played him a handful of times before. Lost a bunch. But he did seem to play at a really high level today.”
Federer has won six of seven against Cilic, but the Croat beat Federer at the 2014 US Open and should have beaten him again last year.
“I’m in for a tough one. We had a great one here last year. At the US Open, he played unreal there against me,” Federer said.
Federer seeks a record 8th Wimbledon title and looks to increase his major title haul to 19.
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