Cilic stands in the way of Federer's Wimbledon quest

Roger Federer stands on the verge of making history at Wimbledon on Sunday when he goes in search of a record eighth men's singles title against first-time finalist Marin Cilic.

With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal all making relatively early exits from the men's draw in 2017, all attention has turned to the evergreen Federer.

At 35, some may have thought Federer's chances of moving past Pete Sampras by claiming an eighth crown had gone, but the Swiss has been back to his best over the past fortnight.

Given his advancing years, Federer has carefully compiled his schedule this season and opted to miss the entire clay-court swing - including the French Open - to focus on Wimbledon, and it is a gamble that could deliver the ultimate reward.

"It makes me really happy, you know, making history here at Wimbledon," he said. 

"It's a big deal. I love this tournament. All my dreams came true here as a player. To have another chance to go for number eight now, be kind of so close now at this stage, is a great feeling.

"I am unbelievably excited. I hope I can play one more good match."

His serve remains elegantly fierce and his backhand is a thing of beauty for all one-handers to aspire to, while renewed energy and fitness stand in contrast to the downfall of two younger top-four rivals at SW19, where injury claimed Djokovic and contributed to Murray's defeat.

Federer goes into Sunday's final having yet to drop a set and should he maintain that streak against Cilic, he will become only the second player to have achieved that feat at Wimbledon - Bjorn Borg having done it in 1976.

And his head-to-head record in matches with Cilic suggests he could well be lifting the trophy once again, but the Swiss must be wary of allowing the big-serving Croatian to build momentum.

It nearly cost him 12 months ago when they met in the quarter-finals, Cilic taking a two-set lead before letting three match points slip through his fingers.

Whether the 2017 version of Cilic would let that happen remains unclear because he is undoubtedly playing some of his best tennis at the grass-court grand slam.

Gilles Muller - who beat Nadal in a gripping marathon - and Murray's conqueror Sam Querrey have both been dispatched in the latter stages and the 28-year-old Croatian will now contest his second grand slam singles final.

His first came in 2014 when he beat Kei Nishikori in straight sets at the US Open, and a second major title is very much in his sights, despite the scale of the task he faces in overcoming Federer.

"It's great for me to be in the final of a grand slam again," he said. "I have felt that my level of tennis in the last several weeks is really on a high level, and that has given me a lot of consistency with my mindset.

"It would be absolutely a dream come true to win Wimbledon."

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