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Federer earns his shot at history

ESPN staff
July 4, 2014 « Djokovic survives Dimitrov to reach Wimbledon final | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Roger Federer beat Milos Raonic in straight sets © Getty Images
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Earning a shot at an 18th grand slam title that most had completely written off, Roger Federer will bid to become the first man to win Wimbledon eight times when he faces Novak Djokovic on Sunday after sweeping aside Milos Raonic in straight sets.

Federer, 32, has lost just one set at the All England Club this year and again bided his time to pick his moments in dismantling a man nine years his junior 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 41 minutes on Centre Court.

Already tied with Pete Sampras, Federer now seeks SW19 immortality as the sole owner of the record number of Wimbledon title wins. He will be the oldest grand slam finalist since Andre Agassi (35) at the 2005 US Open.

To be fair to Raonic, the world No.6 had been playing in his first grand slam semi-final. This was Federer's 35th, and his ninth at Wimbledon where he still hasn't lost a single one. He hasn't lost a semi-final on grass either since 2002.

As he slid down the rankings in 2013 to seventh, his lowest position in 11 years, few thought Federer would ever go this far into the top four tournaments again. Since linking up with Stefan Edberg, though, Federer has reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open, will now move back up to No.3 in the rankings and can reclaim his crown at SW19 against the odds.

"It would mean a lot to win," admitted Federer. "I'm unbelievably proud very time I can walk the grounds here. I know I don't have long left. My first win was special in 2003, a dream come true. I've been able to play so successfully here and now I get another chance to go through these emotions."

Sunday will be Federer and Djokovic's 35th meeting overall and12th at a grand slam. Federer leads their rivalry 18-16 and won their only other grand slam final meeting, beating Djokovic in straight sets to win the 2007 US Open.

"I've been under pressure this year," added Federer. "I didn't play so well last year. I expect a lot of myself. I was happy to get through the first rounds with no problems. I've been able to play better as the tournament went on in the second week. It wasn't easy but I've got it done. I can look forward to another great match with Novak.

"It's always great, we always play good matches. We've played a lot recently in the last six months and it's been back and forth. Novak is a great champion. He's been around a long time and he's used to these occasions. He's won here in the past, he knows how to get it done. I hope it''s going to be a good match."

Federer wasted no time in breaking Raonic's serve in the first game of the match, before going on to close out the opening set 6-4.

A tight second set played out on serve until Federer took his second of three break points with an archetypal backhand winner down the line for a 5-4 lead and he held to move within a set of the final.

The third set played out the same as the second, Federer moving a game from victory when Raonic handed him a break by going long. Federer then held to complete a comprehensive win.

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