Flawless Federer outruns Raonic

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Roger Federer showed tennis' old guard are still the game's best Roger Federer showed tennis' old guard are still the game's best

The big four's decade-long grand slam cartel is not under immediate threat from tennis' new wave, according to nine-time Wimbledon finalist Roger Federer.

The Swiss grass master dismissed challenger Milos Raonic in a straight-sets show of strength on Friday, edging ever closer to his record eighth All England Club title.

Canada's Raonic had claimed Federer and his grand slam-hogging cohorts could not "outrun time" ahead of their last-four clash.

Federer quickly dispelled any notion tennis' guard is about to change - and that after top seed Novak Djokovic had accounted for Queen's Club champion Grigor Dimitrov to boot.

Tournament favourite Djokovic securing his third final against the seven-time champion has a reassuring ring of normal service, admitted a delighted Federer.

"It was always going to be hard to get rid of all four guys at the same time, let's be honest," said Federer, after seeing off Raonic 6-4 6-4 6-4.

"It was probably going to be one guy around, maybe two.

"If there are none, it's a big shock; that was the case in Australia.

"There are two of the big four left here, and at the French it was two.

"From that standpoint, I said before the tournament, it's probably going to be one of the guys we expect to be in the finals.

"Novak did his end - I was hoping I was going to be the other, and I'm very happy about that."

Eighth seed Raonic had dubbed Federer the "magician" who "can do whatever he wants with the ball" ahead of their SW19 showdown.

Federer left his 23-year-old apprentice with the bullet serve spellbound, rolling back the years in an ageless Centre Court expression of poise and style.

The 17-time grand slam winner would become the oldest open era Wimbledon champion with victory over world number two Djokovic on Sunday.

Back trouble ravaged Federer's 2013, his tame second-round exit at Wimbledon the first time he missed a grand-slam quarter-final in nine years.

Rude health has restored all the grace and guile however, leaving those outside the Andy Murray-Rafael Nadal-Djokovic-Federer clique once again mystified.

Fully-fit Federer believes he will be as fresh as he can remember heading into Sunday's final - even though he struggled to recall the last time he reached a grand slam's showpiece.

"I don't even remember when my last grand slam final was, because you haven't give me much time!" he joked, before recalling claiming the 2012 Wimbledon title.

"Let's just say compared to here this time two years ago, I didn't feel as good, because I was carrying a back problem.

"I must say this year has been very solid, now this tournament has been very good also."

A triumphant Federer admitted a record eighth Wimbledon crown would top his career achievements to date.

"That would mean a lot I must say, I'm unbelievably proud to keep walking the grounds and still be playing here," he said.

"The first was so special in 2003, it was a dream come true.

"That I've been so successful for so many years has been an unbelievable thrill, and that I get another chance for success here, it's just great."

Federer's stoic march through the field left him conceding he had almost produced the perfect route to the final.

He has dropped just one set - to compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals - and only had his serve broken once.

When asked if he had found almost the perfect fortnight so far, he said: "I'd say so.

"I've played some great tennis, under pressure at times, because I didn't play so well here last year and I expect a lot of myself here.

"The second week now I've really been able to play better, against Wawrinka and then now again against Raonic.

"I needed big concentration really. I'm extremely happy to be in another final."

Relishing his final showdown with Djokovic, Federer said: "It's always great; we always play good matches against each other.

"Novak is a great champion, he's been around for a long time now and is used to these occasions.

"He knows how to get it done, so I hope it's going to be a good match."

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