Federer eyes record eighth title after crushing Raonic

Fri Jul 4, 2014 4:18pm EDT
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By Toby Davis

LONDON (Reuters) - Roger Federer reached a ninth Wimbledon final after emerging unscathed from the crosshairs of the bullet-serving Milos Raonic, winning 6-4 6-4 6-4 with a masterly display of the grasscourt arts on Friday.

Chasing a record eighth title at the All England Club, Federer set up a mouthwatering final against top seed and 2011 champion Novak Djokovic with an almost casual demolition of the 23-year-old Canadian, who looked overawed by the magnitude of the occasion.

The 17-times grand slam champion broke in the opening game and then comfortably saw out the first set before breaking decisively in the ninth games of both the second and third sets, with his opponent unable to gain a foothold in the match.

Raonic, whose one weapon is his huge serve, came into the match with a gameplan that relied on pummeling the Swiss into submission.

Yet his explosive right arm faltered in the face of Federer's relentless pressure game and his jab-jab-haymaker approach to rallies proved almost entirely ineffective as the fourth seed went through his frequently-rehearsed repertoire of strokes.

With little else to offer, he succumbed almost inevitably, with the largely lifeless encounter recalling memories of the 1990s, where each point ended in the blink of an eye.

The 32-year-old Swiss played most of the match at walking pace and finished off his opponent in one hour 41 minutes, clenching his fist in a restrained celebration when Raonic hit a backhand return wide on match point.

Having not reached a grand slam final since beating Andy Murray at Wimbledon in 2012, Federer looked to be back in an imperious groove, that many thought had departed after he failed to get past the fourth round in three of the last four slams.   Continued...

Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts during his men's singles semi-final tennis match against Milos Raonic of Canada at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 4, 2014.            REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett