LONDON — Milos Raonic is the first Canadian in more than a century to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon. That was the easy part — now he gets to face seven-time champion Roger Federer.
Raonic defeated wild-card entry Nick Kyrgios of Australia 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) Wednesday, finishing with his 39th ace on the fourth match point.
Federer has beaten Raonic all four times they’ve played, most recently at last year’s Australian Open when Federer won in straight sets.
Raonic’s big serve — his ace on match point was 133 miles per hour (214 kph) — predictably was the topic ahead of Friday’s semifinal.
On Wednesday, Raonic won 69 of 78 points on his first serve — 88 per cent — and was broken only once.
“I’ve got to do what I’ve been doing, serve well,” he said. “It’s going to be a great challenge and one that I’m going to relish because it’s something I really wanted ... to put myself in this position.”
Federer knows that Raonic’s serve will be the key to the match.
“Clearly that’s what is most visible when you see him play,” Federer said. “That’s the hardest to deal with, I guess. It keeps him in the match. Doesn’t matter almost how he plays his return game. He’s been serving very well for this entire tournament.”
“Here clearly on the grass with a serve like that it’s never going to be an easy match,” he added. “That’s where you then sort of go back to your own game and say, ‘I’ll take care of my own serves and see what I can do on the return.”’
The 144th-ranked Kyrgios, who upset Rafael Nadal in the fourth round on Tuesday, was attempting to become the first wild card to make the semifinals at a Grand Slam since Goran Ivanisevic won at Wimbledon in 2001.