LONDON — Canada’s Milos Raonic dropped a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 decision to Switzerland’s Roger Federer in men’s singles semifinal play Friday at Wimbledon.
It was Raonic’s first appearance in a Grand Slam semifinal. Federer will next play Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, a four-set winner over Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in the early semifinal.
Raonic said his service game wasn’t in top form and his opponent made him pay.
“I didn’t put in the serves that I needed,” Raonic said. “I usually serve better, but he came with the right shots every single time. He hit returns that didn’t allow me to get into the match.”
Raonic’s loss leaves Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., as the last remaining Canadian in singles play. On Saturday, Bouchard will try to become the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title. She will play Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the women’s final.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., has lost all five career matchups against Federer, who will go for his eighth career singles title at the All England Club. It will be the Swiss star’s 25th appearance in a Grand Slam final.
Federer, who owns 17 Slam titles, is back in a major final for the first time since winning Wimbledon in 2012. Earlier, the top-seeded Djokovic ran off six of the final seven points in the tiebreaker to beat Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (7) to advance to his third Wimbledon final in four years.
It’s Djokovic’s 14th Grand Slam final — and 10th in his last 13 majors.
Raonic appeared a little nervous at the start of the match Friday, with Federer breaking his serve in the opening game. Federer picked up one break in each of the following sets and never appeared threatened.
“Losing serve in the first game was quite important,” Raonic said. “I would have given myself a lot more chances if I’d won that game. I would have taken more comfort and found my level.”
Before this tournament, no Canadian had ever reached a men’s or women’s Grand Slam singles final, according to Tennis Canada. The last Canadian to reach a singles semifinal at a major was Robert Powell at Wimbledon in 1908, the organization said.
Montreal native Greg Rusedski reached the U.S. Open final in 1997 but he was representing Great Britain at that time.
Raonic had not been past the second round in each of his three previous appearances at Wimbledon. He will rise three positions to a career-best ranking of No. 6 when the new ATP rankings are released Monday.
The Canadian said he was “quite disappointed” with his performance against the veteran Swiss star.
“I know I can do better,” Raonic said. “I was not expecting to play my best, but I was expecting much better. I didn’t deal with the situation well today, that’s what I can learn from if I reach this situation again.
“The worst would be to feel the same way as I do right now.”
Djokovic, the 2011 champion and runner-up last year, overcame the loss of five straight games in the second set, seized control with a more aggressive game and took advantage of eight double-faults by Dimitrov — including three in a row in the third game of the fourth set and one in the final tiebreaker.
Djokovic is going for his seventh Grand Slam title. He lost in his last two major finals, falling to Rafael Nadal at the French Open last month and at the 2013 U.S. Open.
“All these matches, (I) could have won, so I’m looking forward,” Djokovic said. “ It’s a big challenge, it’s a big match. Whoever I play in the finals, I have to be on top of my game. This is Wimbledon final, and it’s the biggest event we have in (our) sport.”
The 11th-seeded Dimitrov, with his girlfriend Maria Sharapova watching from his guest box on Centre Court, came in with a 10-match winning streak and had been seeking to become the first Bulgarian to advance to a major final. Nicknamed “Baby Fed” for a style of play resembling Federer’s and long billed as the game’s next big thing, he pushed Djokovic to the limit but came up short when he could have forced a fifth set.
“His first semifinal, but he was fighting,” Djokovic said. “It was a tough match. Fourth set could have gone either way. … But overall, I’m just really glad to reach another Wimbledon final.”