Seven-time champion Roger Federer came back from two sets down to win a classic against Marin Cilic and advance to the Wimbledon semi-finals.The 34-year-old Swiss saved three match points in the fourth before breaking Cilic's resistance 6-7 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-3.
Federer initially struggled against Cilic's big serve and heavy groundstrokes, but reignited the magic of old in the final three sets.
The third seed will play another big server Milos Raonic in the semi-finals
Raonic, the sixth seed and 2014 semi-finalist, sealed a 6-4 7-5 5-7 6-4 win over Sam Querrey, the man who defeated Novak Djokovic.
Hopes of an 18th Grand Slam still aliveFederer has come from two sets down nine times before, but seldom in such circumstances.
And with reigning champion Novak Djokovic and number four seed Stan Wawrinka already out his hopes of an 18th Grand Slam title remain alive, four years after his last triumph - also at Wimbledon.
He had played well in the first set, hitting 17 winners and twice setting up break points on the Cilic serve.
But he could take neither, and in the tie-break Cilic's serve and underrated return quickly opened up a 5-0 lead.
Federer saved two set points but then put a backhand slice long, the Centre Court crowd groaning as Cilic clenched his fist.
The Croat then broke Federer for the first time in the third game of the second set, and while Federer had break point on a second serve in the next game, his backhand return slunk into the net.
Never again did he threaten the mighty Cilic serve in that set, but in the eighth game of the third he rapidly worked three break points and took the last of them to deafening applause to keep his hopes alive.
|Analysis: Tim Henman, four-time semi-finalist|
|From Cilic's point of view he has done everything but win this match. He had break point opportunities and four match point opportunities, he had four second serves on those big points and didn't get the ball back in play. Those will be the moments that he will go over and over in his mind.|
|"Federer might still make it look so easy with his technique and movement, but that overshadows his intensity and will to win. It was his will to win that got him over the line."|
Federer saved both, and after failing to capitalise on two break points of his own then had to save a match point at 4-5, Cilic sending an inviting second serve return beyond the baseline.
He saved a second at 5-6, taking the match into a second tie-break, and had a simple forehand to take it - only to mishit long.
Both men spurned chances to win it, Federer staying alive on yet another match point, and it took a fifth set point until Cilic finally crumbled, his backhand hitting the tape and falling on his side.
The decider saw both men locked in combat until, at 4-3, Federer put a sweet forehand winner down the line to snatch the decisive break.
And when he held serve to move into his 11th Wimbledon semi he raised his arms to the sky in triumph as his adoring audience rewarded him with a standing ovation.
|Analysis: Jim Courier, four-time Grand Slam champion|
|It was all there for Cilic to win. He had the chances. The three break points in a row in the third set was a chance to deliver the knockout punch. He couldn't do it - something he did quite easily when they last met at the 2014 US Open.|
|We talk so much about Roger Federer's racquet skills. But how about his nerves? That's what won it. When Federer had a chance in the fifth he took it."|
I will give it my all - RaonicQuerrey, 41st in the world, was playing in his first Grand Slam quarter-final but could not cause another upset and defeat Raonic.
Raonic, who lost to Federer in the 2014 Wimbledon semi-finals, said it was "exciting" and "humbling" to have reached the last four.
"I have to go out there and give it all I've got and I hope for a better result than last time," said the 25-year-old.
Asked what difference new coach John McEnroe has made to his game, Raonic added: "He's added a little bit of a demeanour change on the court, told me to be more positive and get more out of myself so I don't disappear for too long during the match.
"I volleyed great and he's definitely helped me with that."