Raonic relishing another crack at Federer in Wimbledon semifinals
Milos Raonic on day ten of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, on July 6, 2016. (Alastair Grant / AP)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, July 8, 2016 6:08AM EDT
WIMBLEDON, United Kingdom -- Milos Raonic says he's looking forward to getting another crack at Roger Federer, the Swiss tennis legend who sent him packing with a straight-sets win in the 2014 Wimbledon semifinals.
Raonic believes he has grown as a player since his first Grand Slam semifinal, improving his all-round game and learning how to make adjustments when things aren't going his way.
How much the Canadian has improved will be made clear Friday, when Raonic takes on Federer, the seemingly ageless seven-time champion, in the Wimbledon semifinals for the second time in three years.
"I look forward to it a lot," Raonic said. "Two years have passed since I played him here in the semifinals so I'm happy that I have another shot at him.
"I think from every aspect I've improved. I think I know what I need to do on court better, I know how to turn things around to get them on my terms. I know what I'm looking for, I know how to go about it to try to get to that position as much as I can and when things aren't going well I know what things to change."
Raonic, 25, advanced to his third career Grand Slam semifinal, and second of the season, with a clinical 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 win over American Sam Querrey on Wednesday on Court 1. The sixth seed from Thornhill, Ont., lost serve only once and registered 13 aces and 58 winners
"Definitely a right step forward," Raonic said. "It's the best match I've played all the way through. Other than a span of three games everything was quite good. I had quite a few looks and I made the most of it."
Querrey, seeded 28th, knocked out No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the third round on Saturday, but came up short in his bid to become the first American to make it to the semifinals of a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick reached the final four at Wimbledon in 2009.
"I don't think I played poorly at all," Querrey said. "I knew he had a big serve, obviously, but I was really impressed with his net game. He really didn't miss a volley today. He kept coming forward, kept the pressure on me, and I felt it."
Raonic, who has added John McEnroe to his coaching team this year, had just 16 unforced errors against Querrey, compared to the 44 he had in his fourth-round win over David Goffin.
It remains to be seen whether that will be enough against the third-seeded Federer, who has a knack for playing his best tennis when it matters most. Federer was down two sets to Marin Cilic before rallying for a 6-7 (4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (9), 6-3 win.
Federer was already a veteran at 32 when he last faced Raonic in the Wimbledon semifinals, and while he may have lost a step from his days of holding the No. 1 spot on the ATP Tour with an iron fist, he is still a formidable foe.
Experience alone favours Federer, who is looking for a record eighth Wimbledon title and is in the semifinals at the All England Club for the 11th time, equalling Jimmy Connors' record.
And then there is the crowd factor. Federer is beloved at this tournament, as evidenced by the Centre Court faithful chanting his name as he prepared for match point against Cilic.
Federer also holds a 9-2 edge in head-to-head meetings with Raonic. But the Canadian has shown he can compete with Federer, beating him in straight sets in the Brisbane International final to kick off the 2016 season.
"That's who you want to face," Raonic said of Federer. "I have very clear objectives for myself, goals that are beyond this tournament. To achieve those things you have to face off against the best players at the best tournaments. I hope I can relish in that opportunity."
Raonic said his aim entering Wimbledon was to win, and he's aware that even if he beats Federer there will be another tough test in the final before he reaches his goal.
"Two wins is quite far away. I felt that two years ago, so I'm not even not even in that stratosphere right now."
In men's doubles, Toronto's Adil Shamaddin had his unexpected run come to an end, as he and British partner Jonathan Marray fell to Treat Hury of the Philippines and Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the quarter-finals.
In junior men's action, third-seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal and fifth-seed Denis Shapovalov from Richmond Hill, Ont., both advanced to the quarter-finals.
Auger-Aliassime downed Poland's Piotr Matuszewski 6-0, 7-5 to set up a quarter-final against seventh-seeded Australian Alex De Minaur. Shapovalov defeated 10th-seed Yunseong Chung of South Korea 7-6 (2), 6-3 and will next face fourth-seeded Hungarian Mate Valkusz.
In junior women's third-round action, ninth-seeded American Usue Arconada beat sixth-seed Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., 6-2, 6-2.
With files from The Associated Press