Roger Federer finally blotted his copybook on Wednesday, dropping a set for the first time at this year’s Wimbledon before reaching the semi-finals with a 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4 6-4 win over fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.
It is the ninth Wimbledon semi-final for the 32-year-old seven-times champion, who has been in imperious form on the grass this year, winning at Halle before steaming through five rounds at the All England Club.
Federer, playing his 16th tour match against his Davis Cup team mate Wawrinka, looked listless during the first set before getting into his stride to notch his 14th win over the Australian Open champion.
“It’s tough (playing against a friend), Stan played great especially in the first two sets, until he started to really struggle with his fitness,” Federer said.
Wawrinka had to play three days in a row after weekend rain caused scheduling problems at the championships. He had also spent and hour and 40 minutes longer on court than Federer.
“He was hitting it so well so I had to wait for my chance,” Federer said. “It’s hard against a friend because we know each other’s game so well and I wish him all the best for the rest of the season, because he has been great so far this year.”
Another slight chink in Federer’s formidable armour showed itself as he served a nervy game to complete the victory. It took five match points for the 17-times grand slam champion to wrap up the contest, finishing with a big serve and a smash.
He will meet either Canadian Milos Raonic or 19-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios, who beat world No.1 Rafael Nadal on Tuesday, in Friday’s semi-final.
Djokovic stumbles on his way to semis
Top seed Novak Djokovic suffered some jittery moments under the big-serving onslaught of Marin Cilic on Wednesday before changing his shoes and pulling his game together to win 6-1 3-6 6-7(4) 6-2 6-2 for a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals.
The Serbian former champion began efficiently, rattling through the first set in 27 minutes on a sunny but subdued Court One.
The crowd had half an ear on Henman Hill, where big-screen spectators whooped and groaned through champion Andy Murray’s defeat by 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Djokovic’s intensity dropped in the second set. The world No.2 slipped and slid in the baseline dust and his towering Croatian opponent grabbed a break of serve using his big forehand to pummel the six-times grand slam champion.
“We could hear the crowd during the match and it was a bit distracting; but no excuses, we had to concentrate,” Djokovic said.
“It was a tough five-setter. Coming in I knew Marin would continued…