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Raonic beats Federer in five sets to reach first Grand Slam final

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LONDON — Roger Federer’s bid for a record eighth Wimbledon title was cut short in the semifinals Friday by Milos Raonic, a big-serving Canadian who came from two-sets-to-one down to win in five and reach his first Grand Slam final.

Raonic beat the seven-time champion 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Centre Court, handing the Swiss great his first loss ever in the Wimbledon semifinals after 10 straight wins.

The 25-year-old Raonic became the first Canadian man in history to advance to the final of a Grand Slam tournament. The only other Canadian to get this far was Eugenie Bouchard, the women’s runner-up at Wimbledon in 2014.

The sixth-seeded Raonic, who served 23 aces among his 75 winners, avenged a Wimbledon semifinal loss to Federer in straight sets two years ago. The No. 3-seeded Federer broke serve only once, while Raonic managed three breaks.

In Sunday’s final, Raonic will play the winner of the semifinal match between 2013 champion Andy Murray and 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych.

For Federer, the loss means he remains one title short of the all-time Wimbledon men’s record. He’s still tied with Pete Sampras and 1880s player William Renshaw with seven.

Federer last won Wimbledon in 2012, the last of his record 17 Grand Slam championships. He lost in the Wimbledon final the past two years to Novak Djokovic, who was ousted in the third round this year by Sam Querrey.

Federer fell just short of an 85th match win at Wimbledon, which would have put him in sole possession of the record of 84 he currently shares with Jimmy Connors.

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.

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. 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.

Historical marker for tennis great Tilden rejected again

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) A Pennsylvania panel once again rejected a historical marker for Philadelphia tennis great Bill Tilden.

Tilden became the first American to win Wimbledon in 1920 and also won seven U.S. championships. In 1950, The Associated Press voted him the greatest player of the first half of the century.

A year ago, a panel of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission that approves historical markers voted 4-1 against recommending approval of a marker at Philadelphia’s Germantown Cricket Club, citing Tilden’s convictions on charges involving teenage boys in the 1940s.

Karen Galle, coordinator of the historical marker program, confirmed Wednesday that the panel again voted 4-1 against approving the marker in February and that recommendation was among 54 approved by the commission at its March 22 meeting.

“While the significance of this athlete’s tennis career and talent are indisputable, his convictions for sexual misconduct with underage boys preclude recognition,” commission spokesman Howard Pollman said.

Lack of a marker doesn’t diminish Tilden’s accomplishments but approval “may be perceived to dishonor victims of sexual abuse,” Pollman said. Officials have cited the climate in the commonwealth following the sex abuse scandal involving another sports figure, Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky.

Tilden was arrested in Beverly Hills, California, in November 1946, after a 14-year-old boy was caught driving the star’s car erratically. Officers reported that when the teen exited the car, his pants zipper was down. Police charged Tilden with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and he served seven months in jail. He was arrested again in 1949 on allegations that he violated probation by being in the company of another teen boy, and that he groped a third teen. He served 10 months at a prison farm.

Tilden, born to a wealthy Philadelphia family, was featured regularly in magazines, newspapers and newsreels during his career. He was friends with Hollywood elite and played at the White House at the invitation of President Warren Harding. He’s credited with urging children of all economic backgrounds to learn tennis, once a sport only for the wealthy, and modern players still value his manuals on how to play.

After his convictions, Tilden’s Germantown membership was revoked, and his portrait was removed. In recent years, the club has begun to embrace Tilden’s memory, and a group of Philadelphians has been lobbying for a historical marker at the site.

Injured Murray to miss Davis Cup quarterfinals

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LONDON — Andy Murray will miss Britain’s Davis Cup quarterfinal series against France next month because of an elbow injury.

Murray sustained the injury in practice and also recently withdrew from the Miami Open.

Britain captain Leon Davis says “not having Andy in the side is obviously a big loss to our team, but most importantly we all wish him well for a speedy recovery back to full health and fitness.”

Dan Evans, Kyle Edmund, Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot will line up for Britain on clay in Rouen from April 7-9.