THE UNENVIABLE task of becoming the first man in nine attempts to stop Roger Federer in a Wimbledon semi-final falls on eighth seed Milos Raonic today.
Federer, 32, was thought to be nearing the twilight of his career, having landed the 17th and last of his grand slam titles in London in 2012. Yet this year the Swiss superstar has spent the least time on court of all four semi-finalists, has dropped the fewest games, at 52, and just one set against compatriot Stan Wawrinka in their quarter-final.
Raonic’s bewildering serve has helped earn a first Major semifinal and he is bidding to become the first Canadian man in history to reach a grand slam final. He had never previously breached the second round at Wimbledon.
Like Federer, No1 seed Novak Djokovic is formidable in SW19 as he prepares for a fifth semi-final in a row. But he could be in for a far tougher last-four contest against Grigor Dimitrov – junior champion here in 2008 – who ended Andy Murray’s title defence in emphatic style on Wednesday and is having a superb 2014.
Like Raonic, he faces a grand slam semi-final debut but has already won three titles in recent months, including the traditional Wimbledon pre-cursor at Queen's.
ORDER OF PLAY
Centre Court (from 1pm)
Novak Djokovic (SRB)  v Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 
Roger Federer (SUI)  v Milos Raonic (CAN)