Wimbledon: Roger Federer falls to Milos Raonic
Fans hoping for a dream Wimbledon final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer had their hopes shattered after the Swiss maestro fell at the final hurdle to Milos Raonic.
Federer, who was two wins away from a record eighth Wimbledon title, had never lost any of his previous 10 semi-finals at the All England Club.
But he was undone by the tall Canadian, who has now reached his first Grand Slam final, the first man from his country to achieve such a feat.
Federer lost the first set but battled back to lead 2-1 and looked to be in his usual imperious form until he lost the fourth.
The crowd, as always, roared its support for the darling of Centre Court.
But despite plenty of glimpses of the old brilliance, Federer cut a weary figure as Raonic turned the screw in the fifth set - epitomised when he tripped and fell at break point, calling his trainer on to treat an injury.
And after a cross-court shot that went long, the match was over.
Raonic's celebrations were muted, perhaps out of respect for his opponent and the crowd.
And when Federer walked off and turned to wave, 15,000 people raised the roof in a chorus of appreciation, all too aware that it may be one of the last times they see their hero on Centre Court.
Speaking after the match, Federer dismissed any suggestions that this might be his last Wimbledon, saying: "I hope to be back on Centre Court."
He said: "While I'm in the tournament, it's a dream to win my eighth. It's not my only reason why I play tennis, just to be clear, otherwise I'll go in a freeze box now and come out before Wimbledon next year.
"That's not how we do it. We usually play 60 matches and we travel the world to try to achieve other things as well.
"I know Wimbledon is important, but it's not everything. There are a lot of things that I'd like to achieve besides winning Wimbledon."
Asked about the recognition he gave the crowd as he walked off, he said he was not soaking up the atmosphere thinking it could be the last time he appears there.
He said: "I was looking at Centre Court as in 'thank you' for the crowd, thank you for the great feeling that you gave me throughout the Championships.
"I was fortunate enough to play all my matches on Centre Court. I don't take that for granted.
"For me, it's a respect towards Milos to wait for him. Like in the olden days, you walk off together, same time, thank the crowd, then leave the stage for Milos really at the end.
"That's what I was going through, not thinking about this might be my last Wimbledon. And yes, I hope to be back on Centre Court - to be very clear for you."
With Federer out, Murray could well be favourite in the final on Sunday - if he overcomes Tomas Berdych in the second semi-final.
But the Swiss said the Scot must stay focused, or he may not get there.
He said: "It starts with this match right now, and not one step further. I think this is going to be a tough match. He's lost to him I think six times.
"We come to watch sports because you don't know the outcome. Yes, he might have been the favourite against me, too. He's the favourite in this game.
"But I think Milos is playing great. He's definitely going to have his chance, especially the way he serves. He's a different return player than I am."
Belfast Telegraph Digital