LONDON (AP) — 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 at Wimbledon in 2001.
Kyrgios said he was a bit flat after the win over Nadal.
“I had nothing else to give,” Kyrgios said. “Not to take any credit away from him. What he (Raonic) brought today was something special. But it’s still been the best couple of weeks of my life.”
The last Canadian man to reach the Wimbledon semis was Robert Powell in 1908. Raonic is the first Canadian man to make the semis at any Grand Slam since William Johnston at the U.S. Championships in 1923.
Raonic hopes to be able to carry it one round further.
“It’s another step forward,” he said. “The goal is to be the best player in the world and this is one of those steps that you have to take to keep getting better.”
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.