Roger Federer on brink of 18th Grand Slam title

January 26, 2017

Roger Federer is one game away from an extraordinary 18th Grand Slam title after winning a thrilling five-set encounter against Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the Australian open semi-finals.

The 35-year-old, who won his last Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2012, has become the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam final since Ken Rosewall at the 1974 US Open. If he wins, it will extend his own record number of Grand Slams and will give fans booking corporate hospitality for The Championships, Wimbledon hope that he could win a record eighth title. At present, he shares the record of seven with Pete Sampras and 19th century star William Renshaw.

Federer's extraordinary run has seen him beat two Grand Slam finalists in Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori, as well as Mischa Zverev, who had produced the game of his life to knock out Andy Murray. However, facing Wawrinka in the semi-final was a step up.

Nonetheless, it was Federer who took control by breaking in the final game of the first set to take it 7-5 and one more break secured the second 6-3. Wawrinka was struggling with a knee injury that needed an injury time-out and taping up, but the US Open champion showed his mettle as he stormed back to take the third set 6-1 and the fourth 6-4, producing some of the brilliant hitting that has brought him three Grand Slams of his own.

In the end, however, it was Federer who held his nerve as Wawrinka double-faulted at break point down in the fifth and Federer took the decider 6-3.

Federer's old rival Rafael Nadal will take on Grigor Dimitrov in the other semi-final, with a chance to produce an extraordinary pairing of final line-ups. The women's final has already been decided and will pit the Williams sisters against each other once again. Only once before have the finals of a Grand Slam featured these two pairings between four giants of the modern game, and that was back in 2008.

With so many veterans turning back the clock, Wimbledon 2017 may be the most exciting yet. It poses a big challenge to men like Murray and Novak Djokovic, as well as women like Angelique Kerber and Johanna Konta.

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