Tuesday 12 December 2017

Roger Federer saves three match points to keep Wimbledon hopes alive after titanic tussle

Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates winning his match against Croatia's Marin Cilic
Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates winning his match against Croatia's Marin Cilic

Tom Allnutt

Roger Federer came back from the brink to edge a five-set thriller against Marin Cilic at Wimbledon and keep his hopes of an 18th grand slam title alive.

Federer saved three match points and battled back from two sets down on Centre Court to beat Cilic 6-7 (4/7) 4-6 6-3 7-6 (11/9) 6-3 in the contest of the tournament so far.

It means Federer has reached a record-equalling 11th semi-final at the All England Club and he will play Canada's Milos Raonic for a place in Sunday's showpiece match.

Federer is often hailed for his artistry and flair, but at 34 years old he showed his guts here too after Cilic, for the best part of two and a half sets, simply outgunned the world number three and looked on course for a convincing victory.

Instead, Federer came back from 0-40 at 3-3 in the third set and then saved match points in the fourth at 5-4 and 6-5 behind, and one more in the tie-break to force a dramatic decider.

Cilic's coach Goran Ivanisevic, the wild-card champion at Wimbledon in 2001, was tearing his hair out in the players' box and his charge never recovered, helpless to prevent Federer completing his fightback in three hours and 18 minutes.

"A lot happened out there, Marin is such a wonderful player, I was in so much trouble in the third and then again in the fourth," Federer told the BBC after the match.

"It was great playing against Marin, he is one of the nicest guys on the tour so I feel sorry for him but for me the dream continues.

"I couldn't be happier because I fought well and played super great at the end so I'm very, very pleased."

Press Association

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