Federer battles past brave Berdych

Roger Federer moved one step closer to his 19th Grand Slam title after downing Tomas Berdych in straight sets at Wimbledon on Friday.

Federer wasn't always at his best, and Berdych proved to be a very tenacious and determined opponent, but in the end the Swiss still managed to pull off an impressive 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 victory.

"I feel very privileged to be in another final," Federer said after the match.

"I've got the pleasure to play on Centre Court another time. I can't believe it's almost true again. I'm happy to have a day off to reflect on what I've done at the tournament."

The initial signs did not look good for Berdych, as Federer quickly started displaying the incredible skill and confidence which has marked his recent performances.

Federer soon got the first break, although Berdych started playing better and creating more problems for his opponent with some aggressive, powerful hitting from the back of the court.

The Czech regained the lost break, and things stayed very tight until the tie-break, when Berdych made a mess of a forehand which sat up nicely and should have been put away. That handed Federer a 5-3 lead, and set point followed shortly after.

To Berdych's credit, he kept fighting and the second set was again a bit of a struggle for Federer, who seemed edgy times, not entirely comfortable or satisfied with the level of his play.

A couple of break points went begging for Federer in the fourth game, and not long after it was Berdych who was piling on the pressure, as Federer had to dig deep not to give away the break at 3-3.

It was left to another tie-break to decide the second set, and once again Federer's class shone through at the right time, as he hit a series of scintillating forehand winners to take control and open up a two-set lead.

It wasn't until midway through the third set that Berdych's impressive resolve finally began to crack. Federer had Berdych on the defensive time after time until he finally gave away the break in the seventh game.

There was no stopping the Swiss from there. Now in total control, Federer stormed to match point as his incredible comeback season continued.

Having won the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami before returning from a self-imposed clay-court season break to clinch the title in Halle, Federer is now one win away from a record eighth Wimbledon title.

He also becomes the second oldest man in the open era to reach the final after Ken Rosewall, who was 39 when he went all the way in 1974.

All that stands between Federer and glory is Croatia's Marin Cilic. The two will meet to decide the championship on Sunday in a repeat of last year's quarter-final, when Federer fought from two sets down to win the match in five.

"Last time we had a brutal match – I was two sets down. I had to get lucky to win," Federer said.

"Marin is a great guy. He's a lovely guy. In his first Wimbledon final.

"He crushed me at the US Open a few years ago – I hope he doesn't play that good."

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