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PRESIDENT DUTERTE GRACES GILAS-FRANCE GAME
[RELATED: Gilas falls short in gutsy stand vs France]


JULY 5 -President Rodrigo Duterte gets ready to throw the ceremonial toss in the Gilas Pilipinas-France game at the Mall of Asia Arena Tuesday night. | Photo by Efigenio Toledo IV/Philstar.com President Duterte hogged the spotlight when he showed up at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Tuesday night to grace the FIBA Olympic Qualifying game between Gilas Pilipinas and France. With his security detail in tow, Mr. Duterte made his way to the center of the court, and the crowd went rabid with chants of “Du-ter-te!” WATCH: President Duterte leads the ceremonial... by philstarnews The President, clad in a blue polo and sporting denims, went on to shake hands with players from both Gilas and the visiting French players. Mr. Duterte capped his appearance by throwing the ceremonial toss, drawing thunderous roars from the crowd. The country’s new commander-in-chief is a known basketball aficionado and has vowed to support Gilas in its lofty quest for an Olympic berth.FULL REPORT, WATCH VIDEO...Gilas falls short in gutsy stand vs France...

ALSO: Coach Baldwin warns - More beatings for Gilas to win at high level
[RELATED: Gilas plays better than expected, but still falls short vs France]


JULY 7 -Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin | Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV
Gilas got a beating. But it also works hand in hand with learning.
At least that's what Tab Baldwin thinks so. The Gilas tactician believes the loss to New Zealand -- which crushed the Filipinos' hopes of securing an Olympic berth -- is part of a grander scheme things, noting that if we expect to improve, we’ll also be dealt with devastating blows. Like a foiled attempt on taking down a World No. 5. Like an Olympic dream corroding right in front of the 13,000 Filipino people in attendance Wednesday night. Baldwin believes we have to take the bad with the good. “If we want to win at this level, we got to take a bunch of beating at this level to learn how to win at this level." “It’s very difficult for these guys to play at this level when you only have a few games a year,” Baldwin rued. Marc Pingris echoed the sentiment, saying, "Inisip namin na kaya namin sila, pero kami yung kinaya nila.” “Sana maging aral itong nangyaring ito,” he added. But with the damage already dealt, both Pingris and Baldwin believe there’s no way to deal with such a gut punch but to regroup and think of the future. "I think the important reflection tonight is this program is it’s in own world in a way,” Baldwin said. READ MORE...RELATED, Gilas plays better than expected, but still falls short vs France...

ALSO: OLYMPIC BERTH CRUSHED - Left in tears after loss, Gilas Pilipinas players pay tribute to fans
[RELATED: Tall Blacks: No issue on war-dance ‘Haka’ in Manila
]


JULY 7 -Scenes of heartbreak after Gilas Pilipinas defeat Jeff Chan turns to his wife for comfort after tears. Photo: KC Cruz -Marc Pingris was already fighting back tears in the Gilas Pilipinas bench even before the buzzer sounded on Wednesday night, signalling the end of the country's Olympic dream. As the Philippine national team bowed out of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a heartbreaking 89-80 loss to New Zealand, the players were understandably emotional as they marched out of the court. Jeff Chan's nose was red from crying, while Ranidel de Ocampo kept a stoic face on as they both declined to stop for interviews in the mixed area of Mall of Asia Arena. Gabe Norwood must have been feeling the same way, but he still had one last duty to attend the post-game press conference as the team captain of Gilas 4.0. "It pains me to be in this situation and I speak for the whole team," he said. "We just didn't have any answers tonight at a time where we really needed them." READ MORE...RELATED, Tall Blacks: No issue on war-dance ‘Haka’ in Manila...

ALSO: DAY 11 - Serena targets Grand Slam history again at Wimbledon
[RELATED: Graf hails ‘incredible’ Serena]


JULY 8 -Gilas Pilipinas guard Jayson Castro drives through French defenders as teammate Ranidel De Ocampo looks on during their game in the FIBA Olympica Qualifying Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Tuesday night. | Jonathan Asuncion/Philstar.com
MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas played beyond expectation against world No. 5 Team France, electrifying the home crowd almost throughout only to come up short in an 84-93 loss on opening night of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the MOA Arena Tuesday night. A closing 8-3 binge by France’s Les Bleus left the Nationals and the Filipino fans, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, feeling in blue in the end.
The Nationals waged an epic fight against France with all its NBA and EuroBasket stars, dominating most of the first half and staying in the battle until crumbling in the last three minutes of the contest. The loss put Team Phl in a must-win situation versus New Zealand’s Tall Blacks in their game at 9 p.m. Wednesday night at the same venue. “France didn’t panic. They pounded us. We had too may turnovers and France did a good job forcing us into those turnovers,” said Gilas coach Tab Baldwin. “Maybe tomorrow (tonight) we have to take care of the ball a lot better,” said Gilas ace guard Jayson Castro. READ MORE...RELATED, Graf hails ‘incredible’ Serena...

ALSO: Milos Raonic beats Federer at Wimbledon; Becomes 1st Canadian to reach Grand Slam men's singles final
[RELATED: FINALS -Murray wins Wimbledon, beats Raonic in 3 sets]


JULY 10 -Raonic on Canadian tennis "There's a lot to look forward to"
Canadians salute Raonic after historic Wimbledon win MEN'S RESULTS: Wimbledon WOMEN'S RESULTS: Wimbledon Serena Williams rolls into Wimbledon final Milos Raonic made Canadian tennis history Friday by defeating one of the sport's all-time greats on its biggest stage. In rallying to beat seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals at the All England Club, the big-serving Thornhill, Ont., native became the first player representing Canada to reach a Grand Slam men's singles final. READ MORE...RELATED, Murray wins Wimbledon, beats Raonic in 3 sets...


Andy Murray AP PHOTO


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Duterte graces Gilas-France game


President Rodrigo Duterte gets ready to throw the ceremonial toss in the Gilas Pilipinas-France game at the Mall of Asia Arena Tuesday night. | Photo by Efigenio Toledo IV/Philstar.com

MANILA, JULY 11, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Dino Maragay July 5, 2016 - 10:22pm - President Duterte hogged the spotlight when he showed up at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Tuesday night to grace the FIBA Olympic Qualifying game between Gilas Pilipinas and France.

With his security detail in tow, Mr. Duterte made his way to the center of the court, and the crowd went rabid with chants of “Du-ter-te!”


WATCH: President Duterte leads the ceremonial... by philstarnews

The President, clad in a blue polo and sporting denims, went on to shake hands with players from both Gilas and the visiting French players.

Mr. Duterte capped his appearance by throwing the ceremonial toss, drawing thunderous roars from the crowd.

The country’s new commander-in-chief is a known basketball aficionado and has vowed to support Gilas in its lofty quest for an Olympic berth.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Gilas falls short in gutsy stand vs France By Denison Rey A. Dalupang (philstar.com) | Updated July 5, 2016 - 10:40pm 34 48 googleplus1 1


France's Nando de Colo | Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — Philippines got a taste of top-tier basketball at the hands of France in the nightcap of the FIBA-Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Gilas mounted an impressive run in the first half to the delight of the home crowd, only to be turned back and fall in the hands of the world’s fifth best squad, 93-84.

Nando de Colo was at France’s scoring helm, going hot in the second period as he singlehandedly snatched the Gilas lead by halftime, 45-43. He finished with 27 points.

San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker was all over the game as well, flaunting his NBA and international hooping experience by scoring 21 points — including crucial baskets during winding moments of the game.

Andray Blatche provided anchorage for the Filipinos. He ignited Gilas with 14 points in a first-quarter spurt that saw the Filipinos leading their French counterparts, 30-22. He finished with 21.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself did the ceremonial toss.

Terrence Romeo and Jayson Castro combined for 33 points, but it wasn’t enough to propel Gilas to a win.

France will take on New Zealand on Thursday, while the Philippines will try to get back on track against the New Zealand’s Tall Blacks in Wednesday’s second game.


PHILSTAR

Baldwin warns: More beatings for Gilas to win at high level By Denison Rey A. Dalupang (philstar.com) | Updated July 7, 2016 - 12:53am 3 15 googleplus0 0


Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin | Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas got a beating. But it also works hand in hand with learning.

At least that's what Tab Baldwin thinks so.

The Gilas tactician believes the loss to New Zealand -- which crushed the Filipinos' hopes of securing an Olympic berth -- is part of a grander scheme things, noting that if we expect to improve, we’ll also be dealt with devastating blows.

Like a foiled attempt on taking down a World No. 5.

Like an Olympic dream corroding right in front of the 13,000 Filipino people in attendance Wednesday night.

Baldwin believes we have to take the bad with the good.

“If we want to win at this level, we got to take a bunch of beating at this level to learn how to win at this level."

“It’s very difficult for these guys to play at this level when you only have a few games a year,” Baldwin rued.

Marc Pingris echoed the sentiment, saying, "Inisip namin na kaya namin sila, pero kami yung kinaya nila.”

“Sana maging aral itong nangyaring ito,” he added.

But with the damage already dealt, both Pingris and Baldwin believe there’s no way to deal with such a gut punch but to regroup and think of the future.

"I think the important reflection tonight is this program is it’s in own world in a way,” Baldwin said.

READ MORE...

"I think we competed well in this tournament, but we don’t expect to come to big tournaments and compete,” he explained. "We expect to come and progress."

“There’s a lot of positives (from the loss),” he noted. “It’s an eye-opener for us to understand that we need a lot more of this if we expect to be successful at this level.”

Baldwin also cited European team’s approach on training their national teams.

“If you look at them, this is their life — playing in this level,” he noted.

Pingris hopes the Gilas program would still continue. “Tignan niyo naman kahit papaano, nakikila ‘ying bansa natin.”

“Alam natin kaya nating lumaban,” he added.

"We’re always battling a lot of things internally and and we’re trying to battle externally as well,” Baldwin offered.

“We’re trying to lift our level — our standards… I think that process is ongoing."

----------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Gilas plays better than expected, but still falls short vs France By Nelson Beltran (philstar.com) | Updated July 6, 2016 - 12:01am 14 198 googleplus0 0


Gilas Pilipinas guard Jayson Castro drives through French defenders as teammate Ranidel De Ocampo looks on during their game in the FIBA Olympica Qualifying Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Tuesday night. | Jonathan Asuncion/Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas played beyond expectation against world No. 5 Team France, electrifying the home crowd almost throughout only to come up short in an 84-93 loss on opening night of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the MOA Arena Tuesday night.

A closing 8-3 binge by France’s Les Bleus left the Nationals and the Filipino fans, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, feeling in blue in the end.

The Nationals waged an epic fight against France with all its NBA and EuroBasket stars, dominating most of the first half and staying in the battle until crumbling in the last three minutes of the contest.

The loss put Team Phl in a must-win situation versus New Zealand’s Tall Blacks in their game at 9 p.m. Wednesday night at the same venue.

“France didn’t panic. They pounded us. We had too may turnovers and France did a good job forcing us into those turnovers,” said Gilas coach Tab Baldwin.

“Maybe tomorrow (tonight) we have to take care of the ball a lot better,” said Gilas ace guard Jayson Castro.

READ MORE...

Before the tourney, Baldwin insisted they have no room for mistake against their powerhouse rivals in the meet.

The Nationals were still within striking at 81-87 when Castro missed a runner then Troy Rosario committed a passing error which were pounced on by Les Bleus to make it 91-81 with a little over a minute left to play.

EuroBasket Mythical Selection awardee Nando de Colo and San Antonio Spurs star guard Tony Parker dealt the Filipinos the biggest damage with 27 and 21 points, respectively.

Parker went 7-of-13 from the field and also collected six assists, four rebounds and one steal in 29:41 minutes of action in the match that drew a number of VIPs including SBP president and MVP Group top boss Manny V. Pangilinan, SMC president Ramon S. Ang, Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano and Congressman Mikee Romero.

“Tony Parker was a handful,” said Baldwin of the French star who proved too hot to handle for the Filipinos.

Castro and Terrence Romeo actually had decent stand against Parker with the Gilas playmakers combining for 34 points to back up Andray Blatche with his 21 markers.

Parker and the rest of Les Bleus, however, proved too tough to match with their remarkable 54-percent field shooting, hardly missing open shots.

Gilas could only hit at a 41-percent clip on 29-of-70 shooting.

Still, France took some time to take control of the game.

Electrifying were the early moments of the game where Gilas got to a 17-9 start and stayed in control up to the last two minutes of the first half with a 41-37 lead.

The Nationals even enjoyed a 10-point lead at 30-20 on two foul shots by Castro off Kim Tillie with 23.9 ticks left in the first quarter.

Blatche got the crowd up on their feet early with 12 points on their 17-9 start.

He stole off Joffrey Lauvergne and scored on a breakaway jam to break the ice, then drained his first three-point attempt in a strong start in the contest.

But from the 17-9 count, the French held Blatche in check on the way to grabbing the lead at 45-41 with six seconds left in the second quarter.

Romeo beat the buzzer with a perimeter jumper to cut their deficit to two at the half.

Blatche, Romeo and Jeff Chan combined for four three-pointers to highlight Gilas’ domination of the first quarter ending at 30-22 in their favor.

Parker, Boris Diaw and Antoine Diot teamed up in a decisive 14-4 run to get France ahead from a 31-39 deficit.

The scores:

France 93 – De Colo 27, Parker 21, Lauvergne 10, Tillie 10, Diaw 9, Gelabale 8, Diot 4, Heurtel 2, Kahudi 2, Pietrus 0, Moerman 0.

Philippines 84 – Blatche 21, Romeo 19, Castro 14, Chan 9, Rosario 6, Norwood 4, De Ocampo 3, Reyes 3, Parks 3, Pingris 2, Fajardo 0.

Quarterscores: 22-30, 45-43, 77-66, 93-84


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Left in tears after loss, Gilas Pilipinas players pay tribute to fans Published July 7, 2016 1:06am By MARISSE PANALIGAN, GMA News -


Scenes of heartbreak after Gilas Pilipinas defeat Jeff Chan turns to his wife for comfort after tears. Photo: KC Cruz


June Mar Fajardo turns to his mom for comfort after tears. Photo: KC Cruz


Marc Pingris acknowledges fans after the game. Photo: KC Cruz


The Gilas Pilipinas bench before the final buzzer. Photo: KC Cruz

Marc Pingris was already fighting back tears in the Gilas Pilipinas bench even before the buzzer sounded on Wednesday night, signalling the end of the country's Olympic dream.

As the Philippine national team bowed out of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a heartbreaking 89-80 loss to New Zealand, the players were understandably emotional as they marched out of the court.

Jeff Chan's nose was red from crying, while Ranidel de Ocampo kept a stoic face on as they both declined to stop for interviews in the mixed area of Mall of Asia Arena.

Gabe Norwood must have been feeling the same way, but he still had one last duty to attend the post-game press conference as the team captain of Gilas 4.0.

"It pains me to be in this situation and I speak for the whole team," he said. "We just didn't have any answers tonight at a time where we really needed them."

READ MORE...

Norwood expressed gratitude to the Filipino fans who came out to support the team against France and the Tall Blacks, never failing Gilas Pilipinas as the ever-reliable sixth man.

"It hurts, but I also want to say thank you to the best fans in the world. Hopefully this continues to bring pride to our country and the game of basketball," said the skipper.

Marc Pingris, who was the biggest cheerleader of the team on the bench trying to hype up the crowd the whole game, was also emotional as he spoke to the media after the game.

"Para sa akin siguro nasayangan lang siguro ako. Ang dami naming pagkakataon na manalo," he said.

Pinoy Sakuragi, however, said he still felt proud that the team introduced the Philippine brand of basketball to the world despite their losses.

"Kahit papaano nakikilala 'yung bansa natin. Alam naman natin na kaya naman natin lumaban e," he said. "Basta ilagay 'yung puso sana sa paglalaro."
--JST, GMA News

------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Tall Blacks: No issue on war-dance ‘Haka’ in Manila By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 9, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


FIBA OQT HICCUPS: The Tall Blacks perform New Zealand’s pre-game traditional war dance ‘Haka,’ which the uninitiated among the fans at the MOA Arena booed even as the dance was overshadowed by build-up music throughout that drew sharp reactions from the NZ media. But the crowd applauded the Haka after the performance.

MANILA, Philippines - The Tall Blacks are not about ready to launch a protest after Filipino sports fans jeered the New Zealand squad while they performed their traditional “haka” before the game against Gilas Pilipinas last Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Tall Blacks are taking things in stride.

“Different people react in different ways to it,” said one of New Zealand’s top players Tai Webster told ABS CBN Sports of the incident that was merely a case of Filipino sports fans being unaware of the “haka,” a war dance that its people have carried into every sporting arena.

Pinoy sports fans must have misinterpreted the move as being provocative when in fact it should have been observed with respect.

“I guess it was just their way of reacting to it and the crowd getting behind the home team and what not. It’s expected, but you know, it is what it is,” said Webster, who played a key role in New Zealand’s 89-80 win over Gilas.

The victory slammed the door on the Filipinos who took a second loss in as many games and bowed out of the race for the lone Rio Olympics slot being staked in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament that comes to a close tomorrow.

Only the champion gets to Rio.

The Tall Blacks are in the semis together with the teams from France, Turkey and Canada.


INQUIRER

Serena targets Grand Slam history again at Wimbledon @inquirerdotnet Agence France-Presse
06:52 PM July 8th, 2016


JULY 8 -Gilas Pilipinas guard Jayson Castro drives through French defenders as teammate Ranidel De Ocampo looks on during their game in the FIBA Olympica Qualifying Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Tuesday night. | Jonathan Asuncion/Philstar.com


Serena Williams of the U.S celebrates after beating Elena Vesnina of Russia inter women’s singles match on day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Serena Williams has history in her sights as the defending champion plots to avenge one of the most painful defeats of her career by beating Angelique Kerber in Saturday’s Wimbledon final.

Williams suffered a stunning loss against Kerber in the Australian Open final in January and the rivals will face off for the first time since then when they slug it out for the Wimbledon title.

There was further frustration for Serena when she lost the French Open final to Garbine Muguruza last month.

But the 34-year-old has been revitalized at the All England Club and, after taking just over 48 minutes to crush Elena Vesnina in Wimbledon’s quickest ever semi-final, she has the chance to finally equal Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 major titles by lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish for a seventh time.


Serena Williams brushed aside Elena Vesnina in just 48 minutes to reach the Wimbledon final.

Making history at Kerber’s expense would be especially sweet, even more so after the fourth seed defeated Serena’s sister Venus in the semi-finals, and Williams says she has learnt the lessons of Australia.

“Obviously it’s significant that she beat me in Australia because that’s the last time we played,” Serena said.

“I made a lot of errors. She made little to no unforced errors. I felt like she played great. She was fearless.

“That’s something I learned. When I go into a final, I, too, need to be fearless like she was.

“It was inspiring afterwards to realize there’s a lot of things that I need to improve on.”

Since failing to complete a calendar Grand Slam last year, Serena has repeatedly had her hunger for more success questioned.

But, having reached a ninth Wimbledon final and 28th in Grand Slams, Williams insists she is still motivated.

“Yeah, I have no hunger anymore. Yeah, right,” Serena said in a defiant press conference after her demolition of Vesnina.

“I mean, I think for anyone else in this whole planet, reaching the final would be a wonderful accomplishment.

“For me, it’s not enough. But I think that’s what makes me different. That’s what makes me Serena.

“For me, it’s about obviously holding the trophy and winning, which would make it a better accomplishment for me.”

In combative mood with the media, Serena was quick to quash suggestions the pressure of trying to make history had been responsible for her failure to win a Grand Slam since last year’s Wimbledon.

“My goal has never been 22. I don’t talk about that anymore,” she snapped.

“I love what I do. I work hard at what I do. I’m extremely passionate. That’s just kind of something that keeps me going.”

Asked where she ranked among the great female athletes, Williams took the chance to aim another barb at her detractors.

“I prefer ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’,” she said with not a trace of a smile.


History calls as Serena and Kerber face off in final FROM iNEWSTODAY.NET Ross HoustonJuly 8, 2016

Fortunately for fans hoping for a drama-filled final, Kerber isn’t the type to back down in the face of Serena’s aggression.

The 28-year-old, in her first Wimbledon final and second major title match, couldn’t be in better form as she tries to become the first German woman to win Wimbledon since her idol Graf in 1996.

“I told myself that I would like to play better in the big tournaments. I just believe much more in myself, especially after Australia,” Kerber said.

“I’m a little bit more relaxed when I’m going to the tournaments. I know I can trust my tennis.”

After sweeping to the final without dropping a set, Kerber is guaranteed to reach a career-high second in the rankings next week.

But in a warning to Serena, she made it clear that will mean nothing unless she finishes as the champion.

“I will go out there with a lot of confidence. I’ll show her I’m there to win. I have to play one of my best matches,” Kerber said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Graf hails ‘incredible’ Serena @inquirerdotnet Agence France-Presse 07:35 PM July 10th, 2016


Andre Agassi and wife Steffi Graf watches the Leo Santa Cruz against Jose Cayetano featherweight bout on May 2, 2015 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP

Andre Agassi and wife Steffi Graf watches the Leo Santa Cruz against Jose Cayetano featherweight bout on May 2, 2015 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP

Steffi Graf hailed Serena Williams for an “incredible performance” in matching her long-standing Open Era record of 22 Grand Slam wins.

Williams won her seventh Wimbledon title with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Graf’s German compatriot Angelique Kerber at the All England Club on Saturday.

“What an incredible performance by Serena at Wimbledon,” Graf wrote on her Facebook page.

“Such a gift to all sport fans who get to continue to watch her add to an already amazing career #22!!!

“Also, well done to Angelique making Germany so proud with her talent and fighting spirit!”

Men’s world number one Novak Djokovic, who saw his title defense end in a shock third-round defeat to Sam Querrey, also tweeted his congratulations.

The Serb concentrated on the number 22 rather than the American’s age of 34.

“@serenawilliams loves being 22. So young and successful. Well done Rena!” tweeted Djokovic.


CBC CANADA SPORTS

Milos Raonic beats Federer, makes Canadian history at Wimbledon Becomes 1st Canadian to reach Grand Slam men's singles final CBC Sports Posted: Jul 08, 2016 8:44 AM ET Last Updated: Jul 08, 2016 9:39 PM ET


Raonic on Canadian tennis "There's a lot to look forward to"

Canadians salute Raonic after historic Wimbledon win MEN'S RESULTS: Wimbledon WOMEN'S RESULTS: Wimbledon Serena Williams rolls into Wimbledon final Milos Raonic made Canadian tennis history Friday by defeating one of the sport's all-time greats on its biggest stage.

In rallying to beat seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals at the All England Club, the big-serving Thornhill, Ont., native became the first player representing Canada to reach a Grand Slam men's singles final.

 
Milos Raonic makes Canadian history at Wimbledon0:55

​Canadian-born Greg Rusedski made the 1997 U.S. Open final, but by that time he was competing under the British flag. Canada's Eugenie Bouchard reached the Wimbledon women's final in 2014.

The sixth-seeded Raonic, 25, will face No. 2 Andy Murray in Sunday's final after the 2013 Wimbledon champion dispatched No. 10 Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the other semifinal.

Media placeholderPlay Media Andy Murray Sees off Tomas Berdych, Will face Milos Raonic in Wimbledon final0:41

"It'll be a bigger impact [on Canadian tennis] if I can win," Raonic said. "I've got to put my energy into that."

Raonic's victory earned him a measure of revenge against Federer, who came into the match with a 9-2 edge in head-to-head meetings, including a straight-sets win in the Wimbledon semifinals two years ago. Federer had won 10 straight Wimbledon semis.

The third-seeded Federer, who owns a record 17 Grand Slam men's singles titles, was denied a chance to set the all-time record for Wimbledon men's crowns. He shares the mark with Pete Sampras and 1880s player William Renshaw at seven apiece.

The Swiss star may lament a missed opportunity on a break point late in the fourth set that would have allowed him to serve for the match. Instead, Raonic held and later broke Federer in the final game of the set to force a fifth and deciding set.

Service breaks were relatively rare in the match as the tall, powerful Raonic hit 23 aces and Federer had 16 of his own.

Raonic made 40 unforced errors — the more graceful Federer limited his to 14 — but overcame them with several pinpoint winners when the match was on the line in the final set. He finished with 75 winners to Federer's 49.

Federer calls for trainer

After Raonic broke to take the fourth set, Federer called for a trainer on the changeover and had his right thigh massaged.

Then, while serving at 2-1 down in the fifth, Federer lost his footing on a deuce point and fell onto his stomach on the turf while trying in vain to reach a passing shot. Federer went immediately to his chair and called for trainer, who examined his left knee.

Federer, who had surgery on his left knee in January, resumed the game and didn't show any outward sign of injury. But he was broken in that game after a crucial double-fault at deuce. On the second break point, Raonic stroked a forehand cross-court passing shot winner after both men made difficult volleys to stay in the point.

That break put Raonic in firm control, and he stayed on top the rest of the set and served out the match at love.

Breakthrough win

It was a breakthrough victory for Raonic, who has had John McEnroe in his coaching corner since the Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Queen's Club.

"What he told me today is, 'leave it all out there,'" Raonic said.

In his previous Grand Slam semifinal match, Raonic lost to Murray at this year's Australian Open.

At 25, he's the youngest Wimbledon finalist since Murray reached the title match in 2012 at the same age.

Raonic came into the semifinals on a five-match losing streak against players ranked in the top three. He was also 0-4 in majors against top-three players.

With files from The Associated Press

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Murray wins Wimbledon, beats Raonic in 3 sets @inquirerdotnet Associated Press 12:15 AM July 11th, 2016


Andy Murray AP PHOTO

LONDON – After Britain famously endured a 77-year wait between Wimbledon men’s champions, Andy Murray has given the host country a pair of titles in quick succession.

Murray dulled booming serves with quick-reflex returns, played impressively mistake-free tennis while coming up with daring passing shots and beat Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2) on Sunday for his second trophy at the All England Club since 2013 and third Grand Slam championship overall.

When he sat in his sideline chair after it was over, Murray wiped away tears with a tournament towel.

The second-seeded Murray was playing in his 11th major final, but the first against someone other than Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer.

But he didn’t need to face either of those rivals this fortnight: The sixth-seeded Raonic eliminated Federer in five sets in the semifinals Friday, and also defeated the player who stunned Djokovic in the third round, Sam Querrey.

Those wins helped the 25-year-old Raonic make his debut in a Grand Slam title match — the first man representing Canada to make it that far at one of the sport’s four most important tournaments.

He did it, primarily, on the strength of his speedy and intimidating serves, averaging 25½ aces while being broken a total of only five times through six matches. But on a breezy afternoon, at a Centre Court filled with nearly 15,000 partisan fans, Murray basically shut down that integral part of Raonic’s game.

It’s been a rough few weeks for Britain, what with its vote to leave the European Union, the resulting drop of the pound’s value, and the subsequent resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, who was seated in the front row of the Royal Box on Sunday, several seats over from Prince William and his wife, Kate.

Murray was even asked by a reporter during Wimbledon how it felt being Britain’s “last hope,” a question he jokingly dismissed by replying, “It’s not that bad, is it? Is it that bad?”

Murray, a 29-year-old from Scotland, long dealt with the expectations and pressures that accompanied being the locals’ best chance to find a new champion to succeed Fred Perry, who won the tournament in 1936. But Murray has thrived, with a counter-punching, defensive game and sublime returns of serve.

In a testament to Murray’s ability as a returner — a combination of timing and dexterity — it took Raonic 36 minutes and five service games to record his first ace. Over and over, Murray managed to get the ball back, even one that came in at 147 mph.

Raonic was limited to eight aces in all, only one more than Murray.

And while Murray only managed to break Raonic once, to lead 4-3 in the opening set, that was all it took, because the tiebreakers were both one-way traffic. Just as significant: Murray took 50 of 65 points he served across the first two sets, not only never facing so much as a break point in that span but only once being taken to deuce.

Finally, at 2-all in the third, Raonic got to 15-40 for his first — and, it turned out, only — break points, thanks to a forehand return winner off an 82 mph second serve. But Murray stood tall, taking the next four points to hold, then wheeling toward his box, pumping his right fist and yelling.

He was well on his way, thanks to such clean play that he finished with a mere 12 unforced errors, while Raonic had 29.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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