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Roger Federer’s bid for 8th Wimbledon title cut short in semis

Milos Raonic of Canada celebrates a point against Roger Federer of Switzerland during their men's semifinal singles match on day 12 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London on Friday. | AP photo

LONDON — Roger Federer’s bid for a record eighth Wimbledon title was cut short in the semifinals Friday by Milos Raonic, a big-serving Canadian who came from being down two-sets-to-one to win in five and reach his first Grand Slam final.

Raonic beat the seven-time champion 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Centre Court, handing the Swiss great his first loss ever in the Wimbledon semifinals after 10 straight wins.

The 25-year-old Raonic became the first Canadian man ever to advance to the final of a Grand Slam tournament. The only other Canadian to get this far was Eugenie Bouchard, the women’s runner-up at Wimbledon in 2014.

Milos Raonic, right, shakes hands with Roger Federer after beating him. | AP photo
Milos Raonic, right, shakes hands with Roger Federer after beating him. | AP photo

The sixth-seeded Raonic, who served 23 aces among his 75 winners, avenged a Wimbledon semifinal loss to Federer in straight sets two years ago. The No. 3-seeded Federer broke serve only once, while Raonic managed three breaks.

In Sunday’s final, Raonic will play 2013 champion and No. 2 seed Andy Murray, who’s back in the Wimbledon final for a third time after defeating 2010 runner-up and No. 10 seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Centre Court in Friday’s other semifinal.

For Federer, the loss means he remains one title short of the all-time Wimbledon men’s record. He’s still tied with Pete Sampras and 1880s player William Renshaw with seven.

Federer last won Wimbledon in 2012, the last of his record 17 Grand Slam championships. He lost in the Wimbledon final the past two years to Novak Djokovic, who was ousted in the third round this year by Sam Querrey.

Federer fell just short of an 85th match win at Wimbledon, which would have put him in sole possession of the record of 84 he currently shares with Jimmy Connors.

After Raonic broke to take the fourth set, Federer called for a trainer on the changeover and had his right thigh massaged.

Then, while serving at 2-1 down in the fifth, Federer lost his footing on a deuce point and fell onto his stomach on the turf while trying in vain to reach a passing shot. Federer went immediately to his chair and called for trainer, who examined his left knee.

It was that kind of day Friday for Roger Federer. | Clive Brunskill / Pool photo via AP
It was that kind of day Friday for Roger Federer. | Clive Brunskill / Pool photo via AP

Federer, who had surgery on his left knee in January, resumed the game and didn’t show any outward sign of injury. But he was broken in that game after a crucial double-fault at deuce. On the second break point, Raonic stroked a forehand cross-court passing shot winner after both men made difficult volleys to stay in the point.

That break put Raonic in firm control, and he stayed on top the rest of the set and served out the match at love.

It was a breakthrough victory for Raonic, who has had John McEnroe in his coaching corner since the Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Queen’s Club. In his previous Grand Slam semifinal match, Raonic lost to Murray at this year’s Australian Open.

At 25, he’s the youngest Wimbledon finalist since Murray reached the title match in 2012 at the same age.

Raonic came into the semifinals on a five-match losing streak against players ranked in the top three. He was also 0-4 in majors against top-three players.

Murray, the winner of the day’s second semifinal match, lost to Federer in the 2012 Wimbledon final and beat Novak Djokovic a year later.

On Sunday, Murray will be playing in his 11th major final. Besides Wimbledon in 2013, he won the 2012 U.S. Open. But he has lost the other eight times he has reached the championship match at a Grand Slam tournament.

Murray and Raonic played each other three weeks ago in the final at Queen’s Club, with Murray beating the Canadian in three sets.

Andy Murray returns to Tomas Berdych during their Wimbledon semifinal singles match Friday. | AP photo
Andy Murray returns to Tomas Berdych during their Wimbledon semifinal singles match Friday. | AP photo
Tomas Berdych was feeling the heat early in his Wimbledon semifinal match against Andy Murray. | Justin Tallis / Pool photo via AP
Tomas Berdych was feeling the heat early in his Wimbledon semifinal match against Andy Murray. | Justin Tallis / Pool photo via AP

Meanwhile, Serena and Venus Williams have advanced to the women’s doubles fina. The American sisters beat eighth-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (3), 6-4 Friday on No. 1 Court.

The Williamses are 13-0 in Grand Slam finals together, including 5-0 at the All England Club.

Serena Williams has also reached the singles final, where she will face Angelique Kerber on Saturday. Kerber defeated Venus Williams in the semifinals.