18-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has played all five of his matches on Centre Court, which has come in for some criticism to some people. Nevertheless, the former world number one has emphatically moved through the draw, and he has not had it the easier way. Federer has played the seeds he was projected to meet, and he has come through them all with flying colors.
Nonetheless, the seven-time Wimbledon champion lost to last year's runner-up Milos Raonic in a five-set thriller at Wimbledon last year in the semifinals. Furthermore, the third seed did not play another match until he returned to the Australian Open, where he claimed a record-extending 18th Grand Slam singles final.
Federer will contest his 12th Wimbledon semifinal against former world number four Tomas Berdych, who reached the semifinals at SW19 for the second year in a row, and third in succession, after three-time champion Novak Djokovic retired due to injury. The 35-year-old has dominated their rivalry but Berdych has beaten Federer at Slams in the past.
Federer wins the opening style
Last year's finalist started off the game with a hold to love in emphatic fashion. He was aggressive on the returns in Federer's opening service game of the match but the former world number one held serve leveling up the score at 1-1.
However, after a comfortable hold to love in his opening game of the match, the sixth seed had to stave off a break point which he saved, and eventually held onto his serve. The Swiss number two had no problems on his serve, and in the next service game on Raonic's serve, he did not make the same mistake twice as he broke with a scintillating forehand winner down the line on the run to lead 3-2.
The seven-time champion consolidated the break with a hold to love, and the former world number three wished that he did that in his previous service game, as he held to love in his next service game but trailed 4-3 on the scoreboard.
The third seed continued to surge past his service games as he produced a couple of aces, a forehand winner down the line and a volley winner to remain in charge of this quarterfinal clash. The Canadian almost got broken for the second time as he was serving to stay in the opening set at deuce but he got himself out of trouble.
The 35-year-old wasted no time in getting the first set in his pocket with an ace down the T in just 31 minutes played on the clock on Centre Court.
Federer breaks twice to take the second set
Raonic simply had no answers to deal with Federer, he was a completely different player from 12 months ago, who upset the former world number one. The Canadian looked tentative as Federer continued to return Raonic's serve in uncomfortable positions. The 26-year-old was broken at the start of the second set as his wild forehand sailed long on a second serve.
All aspects of the Swiss' game was firing on all cylinders, and once again he remained untroubled on serve, consolidating the break with no problem. Nevertheless, Raonic continued to fight and in his next service games, he sent down two back-to-back aces, trailing 2-1 and early break down.
Moreover, the match was seemingly settled as the sixth seed had another poor service game for his standards. He quickly trailed 0-40 on his serve, he saved two of the break points he face with a smash winner, and an ace but he left a gap once again by coming to the net, and the 18-time Grand Slam champion produced a backhand passing shot which forced the error from Raonic, taking the double break and an unassailable 4-1 lead.
Federer's former coach Stefan Edberg was in attendance, watching the Australian Open champion's performance on Centre Court. It was pleasing for the Swede to watch as Federer continued to apply pressure on Raonic's service game but returning the ball, low as his feet to make him uncomfortable on the court. Raonic was second best in baseline rallies and he, fortunately, held onto his serve.
The seven-time champion was just one set away from a 12th semifinal appearance at Wimbledon after he closed out the second set with a hold to love with just one hour on the clock.
Federer survives to win the match in straight sets
The former world number three raced out to a 40-0 lead on his serve but things were beginning to get tricky. The Swiss number two won the next points but Raonic held onto his serve, which was crucial in this third set.
However, Raonic had a golden opportunity to get off to a dream start in the third set as he got to 0-30 on Federer's serve and he created his first break point. The third seed snuffed it out with a strong serve out wide, and sealed the game with an ace down the T.
Both players continued to remain untroubled on their service games as they were settling into this third set which had massive implications. The Canadian was leading 4-3, and there were more break point chances for last year's runner-up.
Raonic was going for broke in the eighth game of the third set, and he created four break points on the former world number one's serve. Moreover, he was unable to convert any of the four break points as Federer closed out the game with a half-volley winner and a big roar.
The destination of the third set would be decided in a tiebreak. Last year's beaten finalist got off to a good start as he raced out to a 3-0 lead in the tiebreak as he got a double mini-break advantage on the seven-time champion's serve. Federer regained the advantage in the tiebreak as he quickly wiped out Raonic's double break advantage by producing a scintillating forehand return winner down the line.
The momentum shifted once more as the Swiss number two won the next two points on the spin with a couple of volley winners. He produced more brilliance with a stunning forehand passing winner down the line winning five points on the spin.
The third seed stopped the rot with a strong first serve out wide. However, it was a game over for the world number seven, who is set to drop to ninth in the rankings as it standings with an ace down the T, and a backhand unforced error out wide spewing from Raonic's racquet, and Federer sealed a place in the semifinals, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(4) in just under two hours.