Swiss champion near to his best after six-month lay-off
Federer targets record eighth Wimbledon win after semi-final scrap
Roger Federer stands one match away from a record eighth Wimbledon title on Sunday after overcoming a stubborn Tomas Berdych in straight sets.
The 35-year-old would become the oldest champion in the Open era and is playing some of his best tennis after returning from knee surgery and a six-month layoff.
"All my dreams came true here as a player. To have another chance to go for number eight now, be so close at this stage, is a great feeling,” he said after beating the Czech player 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 in their semi-final.
Since winning a first title in 2003, Federer has dominated the tournament during an era of intense competition among the four leading men’s players.
Federer won his seventh title in 2012 - the ponytail and beard of his first tournament win a distant memory - and lost two finals in 2013 and 2014 - both to Novak Djokovic.
In another enviable record of sporting longevity, his meeting with Croatia's Marin Cilic in Sunday’s final will mark the Swiss as the first man to reach 11 finals at the All England Club.
His narrow win on Friday including two tie-breaks means that Federer still has not dropped a set in this tournament but he was run close by Berdych, who repeatedly targeted Federer’s forehand with some success.
"I thought it was close," said Federer. "There were chances for the opponent. I was able to come up with the goods when it mattered. It was a good match. He's got power, and so has Marin. So I'm in for a tough one."
For Berdych, he once again fell agonisingly short during a career overshadowed by the leading quartet of Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray.
He reached his only grand slam final at Wimbledon seven years ago - beating Federer and Djokovic - before losing to Nadal in the final.