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Monday 5 December 2016

Andy cruises into decider

Scot to face Raonic after Canadian topples Federer

Milos Raonic on his way to victory over Roger Federer. Photo: Getty Images
Milos Raonic on his way to victory over Roger Federer. Photo: Getty Images

Andy Murray will face Milos Raonic in his third Wimbledon final tomorrow after the Scot comprehensively defeating Tomas Berdych.

The Centre Court crowd are used to being put through the mill by the world number two at this stage of the tournament, but he was simply far too good for the 10th seed and eased to a 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory.

Murray has been the favourite for the title ever since Novak Djokovic's shock defeat by Sam Querrey in round three and for the first time in 11 grand slam finals he will not have to face either the Serbian or Roger Federer, who lost a five-set thriller to Raonic in the first semi-final.

"I'm obviously very happy. It was a good match. The middle part of the second set was really key. He had a few chances to go up a break and then I broke in the following game, and that was big," said Murray.

"To make a Wimbledon final is a good achievement and I've got one more to go on Sunday. The older you get, you don't know how many chances you'll have to play in grand slam finals so you want to make the most of your opportunities.

"I'm glad I managed to get through today. I'll need to play a great match on Sunday if I want to win."

Asked about his Aegon Championships win over Raonic, which came just last month, Murray said: "It was a very tough match. Three sets, and I was down a set and a break but I managed to turn it around.

"He's playing probably the best grass-court tennis of his career."

Murray has now reached more slam finals than any other British player, surpassing the mark he jointly held with Fred Perry, and there is no doubt he will be expected to repeat his 2013 triumph, which ended Perry's 77-year reign as the last British winner of the men's singles title.

But Raonic has stepped up this season to lead the challenge of the younger generation and he had Murray in serious trouble in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January and in the final at Queen's Club last month before the Scot turned things around.

Raonic now has John McEnroe in his corner, and the performance in beating Federer from an unlikely position suggests he will present a daunting proposition. Raonic made Federer feel his age as the Canadian bombarded him with a succession of 140 mph missiles to flatten the seven-times champ and reach his first grand slam final.

Raonic appeared to be down and out as he trailed by two-sets to one and 15-40 in the fifth game of the fourth set but somehow he managed to cling on for a 6-3 6-7(3) 4-6 7-5 6-3 win and became the first Canadian man to reach a major final.

"It's an incredible comeback for me. I was struggling throughout the third and fourth sets, he was playing some really good tennis and just on a little opening I managed to turn it around and finish it off in a great match," said the sixth seed.

"This one clearly hurts, because I could have had it. I was so, so, close," summed up Federer after coming off second best for the first time in 11 semi-final appearances.

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