Tales of the unexpected as Murray, Federer aim for final showdown

Thu Jul 7, 2016 12:40pm EDT
 
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By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) - Roger Federer expected "to lose in the first week" of Wimbledon and Andy Murray expected to be heading for a final collision with his nemesis Novak Djokovic.

It was just as well neither considered taking up a career in fortune telling as neither of those predictions came true -- and the two will now be determined to clear the last treacherous hurdles looking to set up a blockbuster final on Sunday.

Djokovic had been an omnipresent force at nine successive grand slam semi-finals before he arrived at Wimbledon last week, but the world number one's shock third round exit meant things were suddenly looking up for both Federer and Murray.

Rather than facing Djokovic -- the only man to have beaten him at the majors over the past 12 months -- Federer will take on Canadian sharp-shooter Milos Raonic on Friday while Murray looks to subject Tomas Berdych to a fifth successive beating.

Despite being the most successful racket wielder in the game, Federer surprised even himself when he reached his 11th semi-final here after sitting out last month's French Open with a back injury.

"I was fighting with my body, I was fighting with my confidence... just with everything," said the owner of a record 17 grand slam titles who, at 34, became the oldest man to reach the Wimbledon semis since a 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974.

But surging back from two sets down in his quarter-final against Marin Cilic, and surviving three heart-stopping match points, he erased all those doubts and suddenly it is game on for a record eighth Wimbledon title.

"What I like about being in a fifth set is you get really tested to see where is your fitness, where is your mind at," said Federer.    Continued...

 
Jul 7, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Roger Federer (SUI) celebrates match point during his match against Marin Cilic (CRO) on day 10 of the 2016 The Championships Wimbledon. Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports