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Tennis: Federer sights new record and Wimbledon semi-finals

By AFP 6 July 2016

by Dave JAMES Seven-time champion Roger Federer can reach an 11th Wimbledon semi-final on Wednesday and become the most successful Grand Slam match winner when he tackles Croatia's Marin Cilic.

The 17-time major champion can also go level with Jimmy Connors’ Wimbledon record of 84 wins if he beats Cilic for the sixth time in seven meetings.

Federer, 34, has a 306-50 win-loss record in Grand Slam matches and is currently joint top of the list with Martina Navratilova (306-49) and ahead of Serena Williams (303-42).

However, the Swiss star insists that such records will only be meaningful if he goes on to win an eighth Wimbledon and first Slam title in four years.

“It’s probably going to be something I’m happy I achieved looking back when it’s all said and done,” he said.

“So it’s great news, very happy about it, but it’s not something I ever chased. Never thought I was going to have such a great career, you know, at Wimbledon ever since I turned up here in ’98.”

Federer admits 2001 Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic will prove a formidable opponent in his quarter-final against Cilic even though the colourful Croatian retired 12 years ago.

Ivanisevic masterminded compatriot Cilic’s US Open title triumph in 2014, a victory which also saw him blast Federer off the court in the semi-finals.

That stunning triumph was Cilic’s only Slam title and his 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Federer remains his only one.

Ivanisevic has been in Cilic’s corner as coach since 2013.

In that time, the 27-year-old has made three straight Wimbledon quarter-finals as well as the semi-finals at last year’s US Open.

“Goran’s done a wonderful job with Marin. He got him to the next level,” said third seed Federer, who will be playing in a record-equalling 14th quarter-final.

Cilic, the ninth seed, has never faced Federer on grass, and is attempting to make the semi-finals at the All England Club for the first time.

– Murray turns to yoga -If Federer prevails, he will then face either US 28th seed Sam Querrey, the conqueror of Novak Djokovic in the third round, or sixth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic.

Andy Murray will look to continue a golden winning streak against French opponents in his quarter-final.

The world number two, and 2013 champion at the All England Club, faces French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the semi-finals.

The 29-year-old Murray holds a 12-2 record over Tsonga and has won all of their four meetings on grass.

In fact, since 31-year-old Tsonga defeated the British star at the 2008 Australian Open, Murray has racked up 26 successive wins over French opponents.

Murray, who is bidding to reach a seventh Wimbledon semi-final, revealed he will prepare for Wednesday’s last-eight clash by doing yoga and pilates.

“That was something I started doing a lot more of when I had my back surgery (in 2013),” he said.

Tsonga lost to Murray at Wimbledon in 2010 and 2012.

But Murray will not under-estimate the two-time semi-finalist.

“Tsonga is one of the best grass court players in the world. If he plays well, I’m not on my game, I can lose that match for sure,” said the second seed.

Tsonga needed five sets, and four and a half hours, to beat John Isner in the third round but just 24 minutes to make the last-eight for the fourth time when compatriot Richard Gasquet retired with a back injury.

Querrey has made the quarter-finals of a Slam for the first time in his 38th appearance at a major.

He holds a 2-1 winning record over Raonic and is the first American man in the quarter-finals in five years.

Raonic made the semi-finals in 2014 and has brought in John McEnroe to help steer him to a first major.

But he almost came unstuck in the fourth round, having to come back from two sets down for the first time to defeat David Goffin.

In the remaining quarter-final, French 32nd seed Lucas Pouille takes on 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych, the 10th seeded Czech.

Pouille had never won a grass court match before this year’s Wimbledon.

dj/ea

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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