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Milos Raonic fulfilled a long time dream on Friday as he reached his first Grand Slam final after beating seven-time champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in three hours and 25 minutes at Wimbeldon. In a virtuoso display of serving, Raonic had the veteran struggling for timing on his returns and lost serve only once in 27 service games.
Raonic had lost at the same stage to Federer in 2014 but this year has looked a man on a mission after starting 2016 with a fine showing in Australia reaching the semifinals at Melbourne after winning the title at Brisbane.
Federer was predictably disappointed by the defeat but waved away any talk of retirement. "This one clearly hurts because I felt I could have had it. So close. It was really so, so close. It clearly hurts. But I am not thinking about this might be my last Wimbledon.
"And, yes, I hope to be back on Centre Court. The match against Cilic, the 10 sets I played the last two matches really gives me the belief that I'm match fit or tougher physically than I thought I was. I never thought I could do this before the tournament started. Actually, it's very encouraging for the season, hopefully for the rest of my career. Not that I was worried it was going to end somehow, but I was insecure coming into Wimbledon."
He also noted the steady improvement made by the Canadian especially off the returns which was a big factor.
"Obviously makes more returns now since two to three years. That was always going to improve. From that standpoint, I think that's a big difference. He's always had great focus. Serve for serve, point for point, he's always done a tremendous job there. I feel like since maybe a year and a half now he feels maybe a bit more comfortable coming to net."
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