Jul 7, 2016, 12:51:48 AM

Roger Federer has produced balletic tennis reach the Wimbledon semis.

When you see tennis played the way Roger Federer and Marin Cilic played it in the quarters of Wimbledon you become mesmerized. It was magical and it was engrossing and it was enriching. To see how the mind reacts at crucial stages, to watch muscle sinews stretched and contorted as the players reached out for balls, gave it all such a special feeling.

It was a privilege to watch the sport played the way they did and in particular to be witness to the remarkable Roger staging a comeback and escape that would have made Harry Houdini proud. In fact if the greatest escapologist were alive today he would have probably booked a session with Federer.

This match should have been Marin’s match. He was playing the type of tennis that saw him beat Federer at the US Open in 2014 which was the last time they met. With the change in weather the last few days and the grass getting warm sunshine, the softness of the early part of the tournament had gone and the grass, worn to the dirt in many places, was playing close to a hardcourt.

Cilic was up two sets to love and three times he had match point. How Federer got out of it to score the 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 win left many scratching their heads. The first question to him at his post-match media conference began with “I don’t like to swear in press conferences, so could you tell us how the blazers you did that?”

Federer has had some amazing comebacks in his career but this one, for a number of reasons, must rank among his very finest.

“This one is definitely huge because it's Centre Court at Wimbledon,” Federer said. “Still gives me the chance to win the tournament. This is a big one.  Probably not the biggest, but a big one. To win a match like this (after the season I’ve had), to test the body, to be out there again, fighting, being in a physical battle and winning it is an unbelievable feeling. 

“It was an emotional win, always when you come back from two sets to love, but because of the season that I've had, it's wonderful. I was just very happy that I actually felt as strong as I did, mentally and physically when I was down two sets to love. Whatever, those three breakpoints, after I fought them off, I did believe.  Next thing you know, I was serving for the match in the fifth.

“Everything kind of went very quickly.  Sometimes you feel when you're down two sets to love, the mountain to climb is huge, it's monstrous.  Somehow everything went very quickly and I had great focus. I was very happy.”

It marked the tenth time in his career that he has won from two sets to love down and it is the eleventh time he has made the Wimbledon semis.

The win was his 307th at the majors which is a new record, passing the existing mark held by Martina Navratilova. It has all come as a surprise to him and that makes it even more fascinating. 

At the age of 35 he still has the love and desire for the game and he wants to mix it with others of which very few are about his age with many more who are eight to twelve years his junior. He still moves and leaps like a ballet dancer and to see him reaching for high floating backhand is like poetry in motion.

“I'm very pleased. First week was great. Played a good match against Steve Johnson. Today was epic,” Federer said. “Probably going to look back at this as being a great, great match that I played in my career, on Centre Court here at Wimbledon. I don't remember coming back from two sets to love here. This is huge for me, my season, my career. I'm very, very happy.”

He should be feeling those emotions and for 15,000 people surrounding the hallowed Centre Court it was a special experience.