Record eighth Wimbledon title for Federer no longer a pipe dream

Tue Jul 5, 2016 1:09pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) - When self-styled "old guy" Roger Federer clocked that he was on a semi-final collision course with an all-conquering world number one, his vision of holding aloft the Wimbledon trophy for a record eighth time may have seemed like a pipe dream.

However, the shock demise of top seed Novak Djokovic at the weekend not only elevated the Swiss to a position as the man to beat, it also raised the possibility this could be the week when he finally ends his four-year hunt for an 18th grand slam title.

Federer's previous strategy would have been to focus all his energy on upending the only man who has wrecked his grand slam hopes over the past year.

However, he can now dare to imagine hoisting the pineapple-topped trophy again -- as he has a winning head-to-head record against every man left in the draw, including his potential final opponent Andy Murray.

As Federer begins his countdown to a possible 11th appearance in the final, his first task will be to topple Croatian beanpole Marin Cilic in Wednesday's quarter-final.

Federer recalled that the ninth seed "blew me away" the last time they met -- in the semi-finals of the 2014 U.S. Open which Cilic went on to win -- but this time round he was ready for anything the Croatian could throw at him.

"I know what I'm getting into," said Federer, who owns a 5-1 record in meetings with Cilic.

"He's really tough to play. He's really improved his serve in the last few years, especially since the U.S. Open. He can clearly do it here at Wimbledon, too.   Continued...

Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 4/7/16 Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates winning the second set in his match against USA's Steve Johnson REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge