Roger Federer of Switzerland is highly favoured to advance to the final of men’s singles competition of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships and aim for his eighth Grand Slam in London. Milos Raonic of Canada wants to stop the Swiss and make his first-ever appearance in any majors final.
Federer, the Wimbledon winner from 2003 to 2007 (five straight) then in 2009 and 2012, is actually on the comeback trail. Since that last Grand Slam win in London two years ago, the 32-year-old former World No. 1 has faltered in the each of the majors tourney he has joined.
In the last seven matches in a Grand Slam, he only reached the semifinals twice (both at the Australian Open) and never made the championship round. Last year, Federer got booted out in the second round of Wimbledon.
Federer is looking in-form in this tourney however. On the way to the SF, he beat Paolo Lorenzi (Italy), 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in the first round; Gullies Muller (Luxembourg), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in the second round; Santiago Giraldo (Colombia), 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 in the third round.
He continued the romp in the deeper rounds beating quality opponents Tommy Robredo (Spain), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in the Round of 16 and then Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland), 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
All in all, the 17-time Grand Slam winner has only lost one set so far in the tournament.
That sounds like a daunting task for the 23-year-old Canadian, who could only muster three second round appearances in three Wimbledon Championships played (2011 to 2013). In other Grand Slam tourneys, Raonic did reach the Round of 16 four times (twice at the Australian Open and also two times at the US Open) but never got to the next round.
One of those, fourth round matches was against Federer at the 2013 Australian Open where the Swiss manhandled the Canadian in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2.
However, Raonic is having a breakthrough performance in London. He beat Matthew Ebden (Australia), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round; Jack Sock (USA), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round; and Lukasz Kubot (Poland), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4), 6-2.
Raonic then took care of young guns Kei Nishikori (Japan), 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the Round of 16 and Nick Kyrgios (Australia), 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the quarterfinals.
Will Federer return to the stage where he has won most of his Grand Slam titles? Or will Raonic prove that it’s finally time for a major takeover for the up-and-comers?