Seven-time champion Roger Federer reached his 11th Wimbledon final on Friday, downing 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
Seventh seeded Cilic reached his first Wimbledon title match at the 11th attempt with a 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 win over America’s Sam Querrey. Cilic is into his second major final after winning the 2014 US Open.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Cilic, the second Croat to reach the men’s final after Goran Ivanisevic won in 2001.
Federer has already added to his lengthy list of achievements by reaching a record 29th Grand Slam final, becoming the second-oldest man to do so after the 39-year-old Ken Rosewall reached the 1974 Wimbledon final. Having waited five years to win his 18th major title at this year’s Australian Open, the Swiss could make it 19 just six months later.
“I feel very privileged to be in another final,” said Federer.
“I’ve got the pleasure to play on Centre Court another time. I can’t believe it’s almost true again. I’m happy to have a day off to reflect on what I’ve done at the tournament.”
Roger Federer’s Chance With The Three Stars Knocked Out
With Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic suffering injury-hit exits in the quarter-finals and Rafael Nadal losing in the last 16, Federer will be the favourite to become Wimbledon’s oldest champion, succeeding Arthur Ashe who was almost 32 when he won in 1975.
But despite leading Cilic 6-1 in career meetings, Federer will be wary of a man who was two sets to love up on him in the quarter-finals last year and held match points.
“We had a brutal quarter-final last year here and he crushed me at the US Open in 2014,” said Federer.
Federer had won his past seven matches against Berdych, and 18 of 24 in all, but the Czech made him work for number 19. There were just three breaks of serve over two hours and 18 minutes, two for Federer, who hit 53 winners to Berdych’s 31 in a high-quality contest.
Berdych kept pressing but had to fend off more break points in the fourth game of the second set before Federer again swept through the breaker on the back of a 5/1 lead. The big Czech would have to win from two sets down at the Slams for the first time in 38 matches if he were to return to the final.
Cilic admitted he faces a tough challenge trying to depose sentimental favourite Federer on Sunday.