Roger Federer’s astonishing comeback - after six months away from the sport - continues to show no bounds.
At 35, the 18-time grand slam champion is through to his eleventh Wimbledon final, where he will meet Croatian Marin Cilic.
Federer, who staggeringly hasn’t dropped a set on route to the final, was given his sternest test of the championships against the world number 15 Tomas Berdych.
The giant Czech pushed Federer in every set with his hefty groundstrokes and potent serve, however it wasn’t enough to prevent a 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 defeat on Centre Court.
Like in his quarter-final victory over Milos Raonic, Federer’s dexterity and craft from the back of the court was too great for the big hitting Berdych, who towered above his opponent at 6 ft 5.
Federer will need to produce more of the same against Cilic, another 6 ft 6 giant, who had match point against the Swiss at Wimbledon last year.
Federer on it from the off
Federer had won his last seven matches against Berdych and the tall Czech immediately found himself under the cosh, saving a break point in the first game of the match.
In contrast, Federer raced through the games on his own delivery, applying constant pressure on his opponent with his smooth and efficient service motion.
At 2-2, Berdych’s resistant cracked. Federer claimed the first break of the match with elegant forehand drive volley, setup by a crushing forehand into Berdych’s backhand corner.
After that, many would have expected the match to be one-way traffic. However, a rare double fault from Federer’s racquet levelled the score at 4-4.
In the first set breaker, Federer found another gear, chipping back a couple of potent serves from the Czech before taking command from the baseline.
Berdych makes a match of it
The set concluded when Berdych shanked a backhand wide, leaving him empty handed after a hard-fought opener.
Federer reapplied the pressure at the start of the second set, forcing Berdych to save multiple break points in the fourth game.
The third seed, didn’t have it all his own way, though, as he was forced to repel a barrage of Berdych forehands under basking sun on Centre Court.
Both players were certainly feeling the heat -even the usually-composed Federer was made to sweat a little.
He held onto his serve with a majestic crosscourt forehand in the seventh game, made harder by Berdych’s foray to the net.
A second tie break was the eventual outcome and once again Federer raised the standard.
He thrashed four forehand winners past the bemused Berdych, who could do little to prevent a two-set deficit.
To his credit, Berdych kept battling but his opportunities on the Federer serve were rare.
The Swiss faced two break points when 3-2 down in the third set but served his way out of trouble with a couple of aces.
Eventually Berdych buckled. Federer will now have the chance to win an unprecedented eighth title at SW19 in Sunday’s final.