London: Roger Federer and Andy Murray showed their never-say-die spirit as the Wimbledon title rivals battled into the semi-finals in a pair of Centre Court classics on Wednesday.
Federer saved three match points in a 6-7 (4/7), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (11/9), 6-3 victory over Croatian ninth seed Marin Cilic as the world number three reached a record-equalling 11th semi-final at the All England Club.
The 34-year-old also claimed a new record for Grand Slam match wins of 307 as he made a 40th semi-final at the majors.
Federer, a 10-time Wimbledon finalist, will play Canadian sixth seed Milos Raonic as he continues his pursuit of an 18th Grand Slam title and a record eighth All England Club crown.
"Marin is such a wonderful player and I knew I was in so much trouble in the third set and in the fourth," said Federer.
"But my legs and back were there and serving was key. Mentally this will give me a hell of a boost."
Murray followed Federer onto Wimbledon's famous showcourt and treated the crowd to another thriller as he squandered a two-set lead before storming to a 7-6 (12/10), 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1 win against French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
On the brink of a shock exit, Murray rallied impressively in the deciding set, screaming out to his box 'there's no way I'm losing this match' before making good on his rallying call.
Murray's 100th career grass-court win booked his seventh Wimbledon semi-final appearance and Czech 10th seed Tomas Berdych stands between the 29-year-old Scot and his second All England Club final.
World number two Murray, beaten in the Australian and French Open finals this year, is looking to earn his third major title and first since becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon for 77 years.
"It was a tough match. Tsonga is one of the best grass-court players in the world and he came up with some great shots at big moments," Murray said.
"I just tried to use all my energy at the start of the fifth set to get myself pumped up and thankfully I got the early break and managed to hang onto it."
Even Murray's rollercoaster victory couldn't overshadow Federer's latest Wimbledon heroics as he came from two sets down to win for the 10th time in his glittering career.
Federer, who saved the three match points in the fourth set, fired 27 aces and 67 winners to avenge his semi-final loss to ninth seed Cilic in the semi-finals of the 2014 US Open.
Federer's dramatic triumph was his 84th win at Wimbledon -- taking him level with Jimmy Connors and making him the oldest All England Club semi-finalist since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974.
Raonic enjoyed far more serene progress to his second Wimbledon semi-final as he ended Sam Querrey's surprise run to the last eight with a 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 victory on Court One.
The 25-year-old was too strong for Querrey, who had eliminated defending champion Novak Djokovic, and will hope it is third time lucky after losing his previous two Grand Slam semi-finals.
"There were some momentum shifts there. I'm glad I was able to get back on the right path after he won the third," Raonic said.
"I was able to get things back on my terms. It's a well deserved chance to be in the semi-finals. "
Berdych was on cruise control as the Czech 10th seed crushed France's Lucas Pouille 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-2.
Berdych is one win away from reaching his second Grand Slam final six years after losing to Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon title match.
The 30-year-old, who blasted Pouille off Court One with 35 winners and 10 aces, is the third Czech man to reach multiple Wimbledon semi-finals after Ivan Lendl and Jan Kodes.
"It's a great feeling. I had to find my rhythm in the first set tie-break. After that it was more straightforward," Berdych said.
First Published On : Jul 7, 2016 02:54 IST