Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer returns to the quarterfinals at SW19 for a staggering 15th time. The former world number one continues his quest for a record 19th Grand Slam singles title, and if he wins Wimbledon on Sunday, he will be the only man in history to win eight Wimbledon singles titles. However, before he can think about the final, he has a quarterfinal clash with last year's runner-up Milos Raonic.
The former world number three is seeded sixth at this year's Championships, and he has struggled to match his efforts of 2016 but he has still performed a good level. The Canadian lost his first Grand Slam final to Andy Murray last year and having beaten Federer for the third time in his career last year, and on Centre Court, he will feel confident in this match. It will be the duo's third encounter at Wimbledon after Federer won their first in the semifinals three years ago, and Raonic gained his revenge last year.
Raonic's route to the quarterfinals
The 26-year-old needed three sets to send Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff packing to get his campaign at SW19 underway. Furthermore, Raonic had a difficult encounter in the second round against former world number eight Mikhail Youzhny. The Russian reached the quarterfinals back in 2012, and he gave the sixth seed plenty to think about. The Canadian lost the first set and he could have been two sets to love down but he saved set points in the second set. Nevertheless, it was a good test which Raonic needed, and he defeated Youzhny, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4, 7-5. In the third round, the former world number three sent 25th seed Albert Ramos Vinolas packing in straight sets. The 26-year-old had another tough test at this year's Wimbledon in his fourth round encounter with 10th seed Alexander Zverev. The German beat Raonic in their previous meeting in Rome, but Raonic survived Zverev in five sets, recovering from a set and two sets to one down to reach his seventh Grand Slam quarterfinal, and third in four years at Wimbledon.
Federer's route to the quarterfinals
In a record 70th Grand Slam appearance, the seven-time Wimbledon champion got his campaign off to a flying start. Alexander Dolgopolov was not fully fit in their first round encounter and he was forced to retire at a set and 0-3 down in the second set. Nonetheless, the Swiss number two had a tougher test against Dusan Lajovic in the second round. Federer dispatched the Serb, 7-6(0), 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round at SW19. In their second encounter in a few weeks on grass, the former world number one sent 27th seed Mischa Zverev packing. It was a 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-4 victory for the third seed. Once again, Federer remained untroubled in his fourth round clash on Centre Court against 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov. The 18-time Grand Slam champion sent the Bulgarian packing, 6-4. 6-2, 6-4 to reach a record 50th Grand Slam quarterfinal in 70 appearances which is simply impressive.
Raonic and Federer have met on 12 occasions, and the former world number one has dominated their rivalry leading 9-3 in the head-to-head series. The former world number one won their first six encounters starting with a three-set victory in Indian Wells in 2012. Their next two encounters in 2012 went to three sets with a final set tiebreak going the way of Federer in Madrid and Halle separating the pair.
The third seed won their first Grand Slam meeting in the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2013 which Federer won in straight sets, and he defeated Raonic in their semifinal encounter at Wimbledon in 2014, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Federer sent Raonic packing in the semifinals in Cincinnati, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the final in Cincinnati. Raonic gained his first victory over the seven-time champion in the quarterfinals indoors in Paris in straight sets.
The 18-time Grand Slam champion won their next three successive meetings at the ATP Finals in 2014, in the final in Brisbane in 2015 and in the semifinals in Indian Wells that same year. However, the Canadian has won their last two encounters in the final of Brisbane once again, gaining his revenge and in the semifinals at Wimbledon in five sets. Raonic recovered from a two sets to one deficit to send the seven-time champion packing.
Who reaches the semifinals?
The former world number one has arguably been playing the best tennis at this year's Wimbledon. As the rounds go on, Federer gets better and better. The seven-time champion has hardly been tested throughout this year's Championships and he may handle Raonic with ease. Federer has been serving well, and he has been stepping inside the baseline when he has been returning serve, which has been putting relentless pressure on his opponents.
However, last year's finalist will need to serve well, and he lost his serve multiple times in his five-set clash with Zverev. The former world number three will need to hold onto his serves easier as he may struggle to break Federer back if the Swiss maestro breaks fast. Furthermore, the 26-year-old will be pleased if the roof is closed on Centre Court as it will help his serve even more but Federer is a good indoor player as well.
There could be more rain tomorrow but the sixth seed and the third seed will be second on Centre Court after Andy Murray's encounter against Sam Querrey. The winner of this quarterfinal clash will face the 11th seed and 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych or second seed and three-time champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals on Friday. Moreover, you should expect to see Federer win this match comfortably, and reach his 12th semifinal at Wimbledon.
Prediction: Federer in straight sets