Monday 25/09/2017 - 02:27 pm


Wimbledon 2017: Roger Federer plays down favourite tag before semi-finals


2017.07.14 01:58

Seven-time champion Roger Federer played down the favourite tag as he prepared for his 12th Wimbledon semi-final on Friday.

The 35-year-old Swiss third seed plays Czech 11th seed Tomas Berdych on Centre Court at about 16:00 BST.

Seventh seed Marin Cilic of Croatia faces American 24th seed Sam Querrey - conqueror of Andy Murray - in the first semi-final at 13:00.

"Being favourite or not the favourite doesnt matter," said Federer.

These other guys are all big hitters. I feel like they will have their word to say of the outcome of the matches."

Federer has yet to drop a set as he looks to become the second-oldest man to reach a Wimbledon final in the open era - Ken Rosewall finished runner-up at the age of 39 in 1974 - and ultimately extend his record number of Grand Slam titles to 19.

He has an 18-6 career record against Berdych, and has won their past seven matches, although the Czech claimed significant victories over Federer at the 2004 Olympics, 2010 Wimbledon and 2012 US Open.

"I think hes the greatest of them all," said Berdych, 31. "Its a great challenge to have actually the opportunity to play him.

"No matter if its Roger or if its Novak [Djokovic] or a guy in the first round, the most important is myself, my game, belief in what Im doing. Thats it.

"I just have to see it like that. Ive done it in the past. I just need to go out there and play my best."

Querrey, 29, enjoyed one of the best wins of his career when he upset defending champion and world number one Murray in the quarter-finals.

The American leads the serving charts with 126 aces after five matches, with former US Open champion Cilic in third place with 105.

Cilic has been tipped as a title contender throughout the grass-court season and has a 4-0 head-to-head lead over Querrey, including two five-set wins at Wimbledon

"Most of the matches were very tight, quite long, especially here," said Cilic.

"I think Sam played really well this year. Hes got a big game potentially that can hurt anyone in the game."

Querreys win over Murray made it two years in a row he has beaten the world number one at Wimbledon, having defeated Djokovic in the third round 12 months ago.

"I knew I could make the second week," he said. "Im comfortable on the grass. I like playing at Wimbledon.

"Its been a dream tournament so far. Hopefully I can keep it going and go one round further."

The semi-final features four players outside the top four in the world rankings for the first time since Wimbledon 2003 - Federers first Grand Slam victory.

Despite the vast gulf in experience, the Swiss can see threats to his hopes of a record eighth Wimbledon win from all the other semi-finalists.

"Theyve got big serves, big forehands - big hitters really," he said.

"All three guys are taller and stronger than I am. Ive got to figure out a different way, carve my way through the draw somehow with my slice and my spins, my consistency maybe.

"Im looking forward to doing that."

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