Record-setting Federer wins Wimbledon comeback thriller

Roger Federer rallied from two sets down for the 10th time in his career, overhauling shell-shocked Marin Cilic 6-7 (4-7), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (11-9), 6-3 on Wednesday to storm into the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

The Swiss hero last pulled off the Houdini act at the 2014 US Open, when he came back from the depths to beat Gael Monfils.

He set another record with his 307th match victory at a grand slam - more than any other male or female player in history.

The seven-time champion equalled Jimmy Connors' record of 11 Wimbledon semi-final appearances as he engineered his fightback in little more than three and a quarter hours.

"It's great winning matches like these, coming back from two sets to love," Federer said. "It's rare. When it happens, you really enjoy them. I felt like I got lucky to some extent today. ... I fought, I tried, I believed - at the end I got it done. So it was great on so many levels."

Federer, who missed the French Open with back pain, will next take on Milos Raonic, who beat Novak Djokovic's conqueror Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.

At the bottom of the draw, second seed Andy Murray fought through a rugged first set but was made to struggle for a 7-6 (12-10), 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1 defeat of French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Murray will play against 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych, who trounced Lucas Pouille of France 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-2.

Federer left it late to turn the tide against Croatian Cilic, the 2014 US Open winner who now stands 1-6 against the master.

Federer saved two break points in the seventh game of the third set and broke for 5-3 on a Cilic double-fault. That error opened the floodgates as Federer won the third set to stay alive.

Federer struggled to claim the fourth, saving three Cilic match points and levelling at two sets apiece on his fifth opportunity. The fifth set was all Federer thanks to a break for 5-3 and a 27th ace to close.

"To win a match like this, to test the body, to be out there again fighting, being in a physical battle and winning it is an unbelievable feeling," Federer said.

"It was an emotional win, always when you come back from two sets to love, but because of the season that I've had [with injuries], it's wonderful. I'm just very happy that I actually felt as strong as I did, mentally and physically when I was down two sets to love."

Federer's win was the 1,080 victory of his career, which has seen him collect a record 17 grand slam trophies, and his 84th match win at Wimbledon against just 10 defeats.

"Sometimes you feel when you're down two sets to love, the mountain to climb is huge, it's monstrous," he said. "Somehow everything went very quickly, and I had great focus."

Last update: Thu, 07/07/2016 - 00:02


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