Federer battles past Berdych to stand on the brink of Wimbledon history

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Roger Federer stands on the cusp of a historic eighth Wimbledon title after outbattling Tomas Berdych in a keenly contested semi-final.

The Swiss maestro has been in ageless, irresistible form over the past fortnight at SW19 and his quality told in the key moments of a hard-fought 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 victory on Centre Court.

In truth, Berdych - who has experience of beating Federer on this stage having overcome the great in the 2010 quarter-final - did little wrong but the Czech's nerve failed him when it mattered most.

Australian Open champion Federer - who is still yet to drop a set this tournament - by contrast kept his composure to progress to Sunday's final against Marin Cilic, where victory will see own the most men's singles titles outright, with his current tally of seven matched by Pete Sampras.

Federer's movement, footwork and timing were a joy to behold in the early stages and he had already had a sniff at Berdych's serve in the sixth game, a thumping forehand followed by an exquisite overhead volley giving him a 4-2 lead.

Inexplicably, though, Berdych - who had struck the ball well without making too many inroads - levelled the set, as Federer toiled with the new balls and a costly double fault tied it at 4-4.

Berdych deserved credit for his resolve, but it ultimately counted for little as Federer masterfully controlled the breaker.

Federer landed a sublime forehand on the line but two break points were spurned early in a slog-fest of a second set that both players struggled to control.

It needed a crunching forehand from Federer to save two break points at 3-3 and that proved crucial as he again dominated the tie-break, three forehand winners in a row leaving Berdych always playing catch up.

Berdych sensed an opportunity in the third when he had two break points in game six, but Federer nailed three aces from his next four serves to snuff out the danger.

It proved another key turning point as a forehand volley brought up break point for Federer in the next game, which was duly taken thanks to a Berdych error.

And Federer safely saw out the remainder of the match to reach an 11th Wimbledon final and earn his opportunity at history.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Federer [3] bt Berdych [11] 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Federer - 53/20
Berdych - 31/19

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Federer - 13/4
Berdych - 9/0

BREAK POINTS WON
Federer - 2/9
Berdych - 1/6

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Federer - 67
Berdych - 62

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Federer - 84/60
Berdych - 68/57

TOTAL POINTS
Federer - 126
Berdych - 107