Wimbledon 2016: Raonic stuns Federer, Murray demolishes Berdych to enter final - Firstpost
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Wimbledon 2016: Raonic stuns Federer, Murray demolishes Berdych to enter final

Andy Murray stormed into his third Wimbledon final as the Scot crushed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday to set up a title showdown with Milos Raonic.

Murray gave a majestic performance on Centre Court and needed just under two hours to ensure his return to the All England Club final three years after becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

Milos Raonic celebrates winning against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semi-final. AP

Milos Raonic celebrates winning against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semi-final. AP

The 29-year-old made just nine unforced errors, in contrast to 30 by the befuddled Berdych, who was powerless to halt Murray's progress to an 11th Grand Slam final appearance -- a milestone which took him ahead of Perry as the British man with the most major finals on his CV.

"I'm very happy. To make the Wimbledon final is a good achievement. I've got one more to go on Sunday," Murray said.

"The older you get you never know how many chances you will get to play in a Grand Slam final.

"It helps to have experience to deal with the nerves. You learn from those matches in the past against some of the best players of all time."

With Canadian sixth seed Raonic in his first major final after a shock win over Roger Federer, world number two Murray will be strongly favoured to clinch his second Wimbledon crown and third Grand Slam title in Sunday's final.

But Murray said: "Milos is playing some of the best grass-court tennis of his career. I'm aware I'll have to play very well to win."

Murray will hope it is third time lucky this year after losing the Australian and French Open title matches to Novak Djokovic.

Having faced Djokovic in seven major finals and Federer, who beat the Scot in his first Wimbledon final in 2012, in the other three, Murray finally gets to meet an opponent from outside the traditional superpowers.

Murray holds a 6-3 lead in his head to head with Raonic and defeated the Canadian on grass three weeks ago in the Queen's Club final.

It is the first time the two Queen's finalists have gone on to meet in the Wimbledon title match since Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker in 1988.

- Nonchalant -

In his seventh Wimbledon semi-final and 20th in all Grand Slams, Murray emerged to a barely half-full Centre Court as the crowd refuelled following Raonic's dramatic five-set win over Federer.

Murray didn't let the lack of atmosphere distract him and he landed the first blow in the second game after an ill-timed Berdych double fault on break point.

After that blunder, Berdych almost fell over the net in his eagerness to bury the smash that gave him a break back in the next game.

But Murray was unfazed by the Czech's aggression and broke again in the eighth game as Berdych, who committed 13 unforced errors in the first set to just one by Murray, paid the price for trying and failing to bludgeon the Scot into submission.

Berdych looked rattled, blazing one overhead so wide it barely bounced before ending in the stands.

When he drilled a forehand straight at the defenceless Murray, it was easy to wonder if there was any lingering bad blood from their stormy clash at the Australian Open 18 months ago when Murray's wife Kim launched a profanity-laden tirade at the Czech.

Yet Murray had the upper hand to such an extent that even his usually taciturn coach Ivan Lendl was moved to applaud when the Scot cleverly manoeuvered the 10th seed into yet another vulnerable position to break in the seventh game of the second set.

Murray's previous Wimbledon semi-final triumphs over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jerzy Janowicz had been frenetic affairs.

But, unfurling sublime lobs and drop shots with nonchalant ease, this was a stroll in the early evening sunshine for Murray, who broke early in the third set and finished the job with the air of a man on a mission.

Earlier, Milos Raonic became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam final at Wimbledon on Friday when he stunned punch drunk seven-time champion Roger Federer in a titanic five-set struggle.

Sixth seed Raonic triumphed 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and goes on to face second seed Andy Murray, the 2013 champion, or 10th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych.

"I pushed him on a few service games, couldn't get it done," said Federer.

"He hit the lines with the serve and forehand. He did a great job. It's something I want to forget about."

"It hurts. I was so, so close."

It was 25-year-old Raonic's first win on grass against a top 10 opponent and shattered Federer's hopes of going on to claim a record eighth All England Club crown and 18th major.

"There was a little opening and I took it," said Raonic who looked down and out in the fourth set.

"It's a big impact for Canada. Hopefully, it will be even bigger if I win on Sunday.

"I was struggling throughout the third and fourth sets, he was playing some real good tennis. It's a great feeling to be continuing."

After weathering an early storm, Federer had been in complete control of the semi-final, his 10th at the tournament, until the tie turned suddenly and dramatically in the fourth set.

The 34-year-old, bidding to become the oldest finalist in 42 years, squandered three break points in the set and slipped from 40-0 up on serve in the 12th game.

Federer, whose last Grand Slam crown came at Wimbledon in 2012, had already required five sets to get past Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals, saving three match points in the process.

And the effort took its toll on the 17-time major winner in the decider where he needed treatment on his right thigh and jarred his left knee and foot in a worrying fall.

"I hope I haven't hurt myself," said the Swiss.

Raonic, nine years his junior, pounced for a 3-1 lead while Federer had to save two more break points in the sixth game.

The Canadian held his nerve and claimed victory when Federer went wide with a weary forehand which condemned the Swiss star to his first loss in a Wimbledon semi-final.

Raonic finished with 23 aces and 75 winners while Federer converted just one of nine break points.

- Pounced -
Raonic, playing in his second Wimbledon semi-final after losing to Federer at the same stage two years ago, came out blasting from the start.

He carved out and converted the only break point of the first set for a 3-1 lead before unleashing the fastest serve of the tournament of 144mph (231.7km/h) in the fifth game.

Federer squandered four set points in the 10th game of the second set, the last of which off a sloppy backhand.

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