Roger Federer’s hopes of winning his 18th grand slam title are still alive after he pulled off an incredible Wimbledon quarter-final comeback.
Opponent Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, played flawless tennis in the first two sets, hardly dropping a point on serve and dominating in every aspect. After taking the first set in a tie-break, Cilic broke the Federer serve early in the second set, before comfortably serving it out 6-4 to take what looked like an unbeatable advantage.
At 3-3 in the third set Federer looked down and out, facing three break points at 0-40. In what proved to be the turning point of the match, he served his way out of trouble to save all three break points and seize the momentum. He capitalised the very next game to break the Cilic serve for the first time and capture the set 6-3.
The fourth set was just as tense, with both players performing at an ever-increasing level throughout. Federer saved a match point at 4-5, before holding serve to take the set to a tiebreak.
The tiebreak saw both players have their chances, with Cilic failing to convert two more match points before Federer gave the adoring crowd what they wanted when he served it out 11-9 to send the match to a deciding set.
Both players held serve with relative ease to start the fifth set. With Federer holding the advantage of serving first, Cilic was playing from behind for the first time in the match.
As the pressure built on the big-serving Croatian, Federer stepped up in the decisive 8th game to get to deuce on the Cilic serve. What followed was trademark Federer, a cross-court forehand winner set up break point, before a deep forehand proved too much for Cilic to handle and the Swiss genius took a 5-3 lead.
Two aces accompanied by two Cilic errors were enough for Federer to complete the comeback. It was his 10th comeback from two-sets-to-love down at a Grand Slam. He has set up a semi-final clash with Canadian Milos Raonic, who beat Novak Djokovic’s conquerer Sam Querrey in four sets to reach a maiden Grand Slam semi-final.
In the day’s other quarter-finals, tournament favourite Andy Murray outlasted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a five-set match that lasted just under four hours. Murray saved three set points in the first-set tiebreaker before claiming it. The Brit looked set to be racing to a straight sets romp when he claimed the second 6-1, but Tsonga had other ideas. The Frenchman clawed back into the contest, claiming the next two sets to force a fifth, but Murray, who is looking to win his second Wimbledon title, claimed the decider 6-1.
Meanwhile 10th seed Tomas Berdych had a much easier path into the semi-finals, accounting for the man who ousted Bernard Tomic, Lucas Pouille, in straight sets. – Luke Cullen
Photo of Roger Federer playing Marin Cilic from the Wimbledon Twitter feed.