Roger Federer back in a familiar spot

Raonic, who will see his ATP World Tour ranking rise to a career-high No. 6, was the youngest Grand Slam finalist since Andy Murray at the Australian Open four years ago. But he's not quite ready for the tennis at the highest level; this was his eighth straight loss to a player ranked in the top four.

Federer, with the grim countenance of an assassin, broke Raonic's very first service game. And though there were a few squirrely moments, he served out the set and created some nice, creative space for himself.

Raonic settled down and began to find a rhythm. But serving at 4-all, his concentration briefly left him. He failed to make a first serve in five tries, starting off with a double fault. A Federer backhand winner down the line was followed by a horrific blown overhead only a few feet from the net. Federer closed the deal, lacing another backhand winner down the line and sauntered to the sideline. He's earned that swagger because he is now 219-2 in major matches when he wins the first two sets.

The break in the third set came again at 4-all, when Raonic made three errors and allowed Federer to win what looked like a hopeless point with a sweet, anticipating forehand.

After his quarterfinals win over 19-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios, Raonic sent another volley -- this time, aimed at the Big Four.

"It's a thing I guess that you can't really outrun time," Raonic said. "It's nice to see that sort of human side to those four guys when you have to step up to face them. Have a belief more so than ever that it's yours for the taking if you play well."

The only thing Raonic will be taking from this one is the memory of a master-class session -- and maybe a vacation. Federer, meanwhile, has one more match to play. It's one he's been working for ruthlessly through a string of less-than-stellar results.

Pete Sampras won here at Wimbledon in 2000, then went eight majors without a title. He wasn't in great form heading into the 2002 US Open, but he splashed through the draw for his then-record 14th Grand Slam singles title and eventually retired at age of 31.

Twenty-one years to the day, Sampras won his first Wimbledon title, defeating Jim Courier. Twenty-six years to the day, Edberg won his first title at the All England Club, defeating Boris Becker, who is now Djokovic's coach.

Federer's hoping it's an omen.

A win on Sunday would make him the first man to win Wimbledon eight times, one more than Sampras.

"I know I don't have 10 [Wimbledons] left," Federer said. "The first win here was a dream come true. And now the fact that I get another chance to go through these emotions is great."

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