Roger Federer may have lost his first ever Wimbledon semi-final but he isn’t done winning!
Milos Raonic has become the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam final. Raonic played a wonderful match, using his big serve and improved volley to get out of tough situations. He was in control of the match for most of the time, never allowing Federer to really settle down. Even though Federer played a superb third set, Raonic just kept coming back at him and finally earned his break in the fourth. Federer did have his chances, but he couldn’t really grab them. Federer had 3 set points in the second set at 4-5, but couldn’t convert even one. Got a fourth set point in the same game, let that go away too. Then again, Federer had two break points at 3-3 in the third set but Raonic came out all guns blazing to save the game. Even though, Federer managed to win both those sets, he let the better opportunities slip away. As soon as the match entered the fifth set, it was Advantage: Raonic.
When you lose a game after being 40-0 up at one point on your serve, you can very easily descend into a sort of abyss, convinced everything is falling apart and no game plan is good enough. It is an awful feeling. As, Federer lost the game at 5-6 and the set with it, my playlist played Linkin Park’s Castle of Glass. “Just a crack in the castle of glass.” And I am like, “Wow! That’s reassuring” But, soon the crack led to a complete shatter. Shattered dreams, shattered hopes, shattered fans.
Raonic may have won the match. But, the most lethal weapon in his arsenal, his serve, faltered more times than it should have. Along with 23 aces, Raonic had 11 double faults. Though, Federer took away the prize for double faulting at the worst possible time (twice).
On a lighter note: As soon as Federer broke Raonic’s serve in the third set, I called up my friend and screamed “Break-up! Break-up!” My colleagues at work were so worried that one of them ordered a bucket of chocolate ice cream and another tried to comfort me with erratic love quotes. It took me until the middle of the next set to explain myself.
For the first time Andy Murray will face someone other than Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam final. Murray and Raonic had played the finals at the Aegon Championships, and Raonic claims that he had kinda predicted that these two would be playing the finals again at Wimbledon. We want to believe you Milos! Andy Murray has reached the semi-finals or better in 6 of his last 7 Grand Slam tournaments. He has had a very consistent year so far, reaching all three Grand Slam finals and will be the favourite in the finals here with the crowd behind him. My take: Andy Murray in four sets
Foes at a different place!
Angelique Kerber takes on Serena Williams in the finals tomorrow, a rematch of this year’s Australian Open finals. Both the players have been in incredible form. Kerber has not dropped a set en route to the finals while Serena last lost just one. Kerber is hoping to become just the eighth player to beat both the William sisters in the same tournament. Serena is 0-2 this year in Grand Slam finals and Kerber knows what it feels to be a Grand Slam champion and she would want to do it again.
I think it is safe to say that the Fedal era is fading, if not over. But what’s amazing is that every year, no matter who the best player on the tour is or who is seeded No.1, people still expect Nadal to win the French open and Federer to win Wimbledon. That is the kind of impact that these two have had over every tennis fan and that is the kind of love they command all over the world. As and when, and the day isn’t too far, Federer and Nadal retire from professional tennis, they would leave behind a void, an empty space on the tour and in the hearts of millions of people, that would be very hard to fill. Until then, I hope they remain injury-free and continue to surprise everyone.