LONDON — In a Wimbledon rematch, Milos Raonic proved to be no match for Roger Federer.
The third-seeded Swiss great, trying for a record eighth Wimbledon title, systematically dismantled Raonic in quarter-final action at the All England Club on Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory.
“I can say with fact that I did everything I could to try to find a way to win,” Raonic said. ”And I think that he is just mentally on top of it. You can see that there’s not much doubt in his mind. He’s feeling it.”
Raonic, the tournament’s sixth seed from Thornhill, Ont., defeated Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals last year before losing to Andy Murray in the final.
Perhaps that defeat lingered in Federer’s mind, because he looked like a man on a mission Wednesday, flummoxing Raonic with his service game while showing no fear of the Canadian’s cannon arm. And it was no contest at the net, with Federer routinely finishing off rallies with finesse.
“He’s doing a lot of things well,” Raonic said. ”Could I have been more efficient at the net? Yes. But he kept the pressure on me.
“It wasn’t like I was just sitting there hitting volleys and there was nobody at the other side of the net. He was doing great things to keep pressure on me all the time.”
Raonic had five break point opportunities — four of them coming in one game in the third set — but Federer saved them all. Federer broke Raonic three times in six chances.
Raonic looked better in the third set, holding serve and taking it to a tiebreak. But Federer set up match point with an ace, then won when Raonic hit a return wide.
“He kept a very high gear the entire time without giving many real glimpses, and that was the most defeating thing,” Raonic said.
Both players ended the match with 11 aces. It was the first time at this tournament that Raonic was held under 20 aces.
Federer, who has yet to drop a set at Wimbledon, improved to 254-2 when winning the first two sets of a match.
With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal all out, Federer is the last of the “Big 4” stars left in the tournament. He will next face 11th-seed Tomas Berdych, while the other semifinal will feature No. 7 Marin Cilic against the surprising 24th-seed, American Sam Querrey.
Raonic thinks an eighth Wimbledon title is Federer’s to lose.
“Regardless who’s in or not, I think (Federer) has been playing the best tennis this year,” Raonic said. “As much as you can say about sport, which is one of the least predictable things, he has it in his grasp.”
While Raonic failed to reach a second straight Wimbledon final, he does leave the tournament with his health.
For Raonic, who has struggled with injuries over his past two seasons, that counts as something of a win.
“Until about Paris, where I played consecutively (Lyon and French Open), I didn’t really have a chance to think about tennis,” he said. ”Everything was how am I doing things? What am I doing? Am I getting out of each week healthy. So it’s a relief now that with a certain training block and recovery block that I have the pieces in place and I can focus on tennis.
“It gives me a little bit of mental relief that I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to end each week.”