We're into the business end of the tournament now and Roger once again rose to the challenge defeating Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 to book his spot in his 35th Grand Slam Semi Final.
It looked for a brief moment like Stan the man was about to replicate his Australian Open form but Roger overcame a slow start, waited for Stan's level to drop and was there to pounce at just the right moment to get the win.
You'd be forgiven for thinking Roger looked laboured at the start of the match but Wawrinka was creaming the ball to all corners. It was very similar to the first set against Nadal at the Australian Open and if someone with the ability to track down balls like Nadal wasn't able to do it on a slow hard court then doing so on a grass court is virtually impossible.
But Roger knows better than anyone how to stick around in matches and when Wawrinka's hitting got that bit wilder, through sickness, fatigue or simply the presence of the 17 time slam champion he was able to capitalise. Impressive stuff.
Quick Match Recap
Like I said above, Stan started this match at light speed and he was soon up 4 games to 1. He has some of the biggest ground strokes in the game and when he hits a ball, it stays hit.
At 4-2 Roger fashioned a great chance to break back but he hit a weak passing shot at a comfortable volleying height and the set went the way of Wawrinka 6 games to 3.
The second set was hugely important for both men and it was imperative Roger didn't hand over a cheap break of serve early. By this point he'd got into the groove on serve and both guys traded service holds right through to 6 all. No real danger for either man as both of them struggled to impact on return games.
Stan was still playing at a very high level but he'd just dropped a notch and that proved enough for Roger who was able to level the match, taking the tie break 7 points to 5 with some much cleaner play.
With Wawrinka playing his 3rd match in as many days, plus feeling under the weather the loss of the 2nd set zapped the energy from his legs. His first serve speed went down and Roger was able to start dictating more from the back of the court and the 2nd set soon went his way 6 games to 4. That was another huge blow for Stan who'd kept it competitive for 2 and a half sets but was now behind in the match for the very first time.
That meant the fourth was all but a formality and even though Stan dug deep to keep it close; saving 4 match ponts Roger was the man striking the ball more consistently and he got the job in 2 hours and 33 minutes.
|Stan Wawrinka (SUI)||Roger Federer (SUI)|
|1st serves in||74 of 124 = 60 %||77 of 119 = 65 %|
|1st serve points won||57 of 74 = 77 %||61 of 77 = 79 %|
|2nd serve points won||31 of 50 = 62 %||29 of 42 = 69 %|
|Fastest serve||133 MPH||125 MPH|
|Average 1st serve speed||116 MPH||116 MPH|
|Average 2nd serve speed||99 MPH||101 MPH|
|Net points won||30 of 44 = 68 %||32 of 45 = 71 %|
|Break points won||1 of 4 = 25 %||2 of 7 = 29 %|
|Receiving points won||29 of 119 = 24 %||36 of 124 = 29 %|
|Total points won||117||126|
Thoughts on the Match
The crowd are very kind. It’s always nice playing on Centre Court or in England. I've been coming here since 1998 and I've always had amazing crowd support. We have got to know each other pretty well in that time. Stan played great, especially for the first two sets. After that he started to struggle. He was hitting the ball too well and too cleanly for me to do anything on it. It’s difficult when you know someone that well. I'm very pleased with the match. We played at a very high level and I wish him all the best for the rest of the season because he’s already had a beauty. I don’t want to get to too far ahead of myself. I’m really pleased I'm back in the semi-finals after last year when I didn't even come close and was very deflated leaving here on that note. It’s great to be back in the semis and the possibility of a step further is exciting.
First set dropped, first time his serve was broken this tournament but I'm pretty pleased with his overall level. Stan played a lights out first set with his ground game and made life very difficult for Roger.
I think the only real disappointment was Stan's first serve was only at 39% in the first set but Roger couldn't break him. He of course had the one chance but spurned it with a weak passing shot.
After that Fed got himself more into the match and began to hit the ball much nicer. Players always break down on the run and Stan made Roger do plenty of that early doors. Once Roger began to anticipate better he was able to get himself set to generate more power from the back of the court and also to mix it up a bit more which made Stan go for too much.
As for Stan it was his best ever performance at Wimbledon in 10 visits and he's now made the Quarter Finals at all 4 slams so he should be pretty happy. I guess he'll be a little annoyed at having to play 3 matches in 3 days which isn't ideal but there's not much he can do about that. He stepped on court and ultimately the better player over the 4 sets prevailed.
Elsewhere it was another day of upsets as Dimitrov schooled Murray in straight sets. Dimitrov played a very clean match from start to finish and Murray had no answers whatsoever. A flat performance from the defending champion but Dimitrov's court coverage and shot selection confused him completely. He has a realistic shot at making the final now but he will need to see of Djokovic who defeated Cilic in 5 sets.
Predictions vs. Raonic
Next up is Milos Raonic who overcame Nick Kyrgios in 4 sets. Roger leads the H2H 4-0 with their last meeting coming at the Australian Open in 2013 where Federer put on a masterclass to dispatch him in straight sets.
However it's worth noting that under Ivan Ljubicic and Riccardo Piatti's tutelage he is a much better player. He tested Federer at Halle, Indian Wells and Madrid in the last 2 years and since then he's developed his game in all areas.
At 6ft 6″ his game is of course highly reliant on his huge first serve so it's going to be very important that Roger takes care of his own service games and then takes his chances on the return should they present themselves.
I think Roger's all court game and variety are going to be the key here. Raonic is now a confident ball striker from the back of the court but like I said above players always break down on the run so Roger will nee to manoeuvre this guy around the court.
Use the blocked and short slice return to get the ball in play and keep the ball as low as possible. Tall guys are notoriously poor when the ball keeps low and with Roger's slice biting it should give the Candian problems.
Keeping Raonic on the run moving side to side and backwards and forwards will take his legs away as the match wears on, giving Roger more 2nd serve opportunities which he can hopefully take advantage of.
I guess the only concern is Roger has a poor returning day and Raonic serves lights out but I'm backing Fed to get it done in 4.