Roger Federer had won all 10 of his previous Wimbledon semi-finals but the seven-times champion’s remarkable run came to an end here at the hands of Milos Raonic. A match full of brilliant serving, stunning volleys and thrilling points ended with the 25-year-old Canadian winning 6-3, 6-7, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach his first Grand Slam final.

Raonic, who on Sunday will take on the winner of the second semi-final between Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych, had lost in straight sets to Federer at this stage two years ago, but the world No 7 is a much improved player.

Since the recruitment of John McEnroe to his coaching team at the start of the current grass-court season, Raonic has played with growing confidence, proving that he has much more to his game than one of the biggest serves in the business.

Federer, who was attempting to reach his 28th Grand Slam final and become the first man ever to win eight Wimbledon singles titles, went desperately close to winning the match in the fourth set, but Raonic held firm. Federer has been beset by physical problems this year and in the final set he twice called for the trainer, firstly to have his right leg massaged and secondly for treatment after suffering a heavy fall.

The opening set was decided by a single break of serve. When Federer served at 1-2 and 30-40 he double-faulted for only the third time in the tournament.

For the most part both players served beautifully, but by the middle of the second set Federer was getting a better read on Raonic’s serve. At 4-5 Raonic saved four set points, but in the tie-break, which Federer won 7-3, the Canadian’s double fault at 3-3 was crucial. The Swiss went on to make the only break of the third set in the seventh game when Raonic mishit a backhand.

Raonic saved three break points in the fourth set, but with another tie-break beckoning Federer hit two successive double faults when he served at 5-6 and 40-15. The Swiss went on to save two set points but on the third Raonic punched a backhand winner down the line.

When Federer served at 1-2 in the deciding set Raonic went break point up after a thrilling rally which ended with the Canadian hitting a forehand cross-court winner as his opponent fell to the floor after turning his left ankle. Federer, having received treatment, won the next point with a big forehand to the corner, but Raonic converted his second break point with a forehand cross-court winner after another breath-taking exchange.

Federer continued to hold serve, but the damage had been done. At 5-3 Raonic hit three big serves to go 40-0 up and on his first match point Federer hit a forehand beyond the baseline.

Courtesy The Independent