Federer holds serve for record 116th consecutive time to reach Wimbledon semis

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Roger Federer held serve for a record 116th time in a row before defeating Gilles Simon to book a Wimbledon semi-final with Andy Murray.

Federer extended his latest bid for a record eighth Wimbledon crown by dismissing France’s world number 13 Simon 6-3 7-5 6-2 in a commanding display of grass-court mastery.

Wimbledon’s second seed booked a 10th semi-final in SW19, eclipsing Wayne Arthurs’ 16-year-old record of 111 consecutive unbroken service games in the process, in a run that began in Germany last month.

Murray eased past Vasek Pospisil in straight sets to meet Federer – who has never lost in Wimbledon’s last four.

Britain’s two-time grand slam champion will have to defy history to add to his 2013 Wimbledon crown, and 33-year-old Federer’s fine form.

Grass king Federer still covets that elusive eighth Wimbledon title that would push him past Pete Sampras into outright ownership of the greatest men’s haul at the All England Club.

His imperious form in south-west London so far this year suggests only a performance of true magnitude will deny him that acclaim.

Federer had predicted his service streak would end against Frenchman Simon, who Kevin Anderson revealed at Queen’s Club dubs himself the “return genius”.

And so it proved that the 33-year-old’s serving run came to an end, Simon stopping Federer serving out the second set, only for his form to collapse straight away.

Federer still pushed his remarkable serving streak long enough to steal the record, however, before admitting his response to that break was crucial in victory.

“The reaction was always going to be important for me once the streak ended and the serve was broken,” said Federer.

“I think I was able to do that because Gilles is obviously a quality return player and the game I got broken he was too good, so no problems to accept that.”

Tennis great Rod Laver took in Federer’s victory march, while Hollywood star Bradley Cooper kept the Swiss supremo’s wife Mirka company in the players’ box on Court One.

Federer had downplayed the significance of his service run ahead of this clash, and may well just feel that the end of his streak relieves a slight level of pressure as he chases that record Wimbledon title.

Prodigious former Wales and British and Irish Lions goal-kicker Neil Jenkins set a record streak of 44 consecutive goals in 2004 – then missed his 45th attempt, with many suggesting he did so on purpose.

Jenkins was seen to be chuckling to himself after that miss, after previously bemoaning growing focus on his record run.

Federer is hardly the type to let records affect his approach, especially when serving for a set, but there can be no doubt the end of his stunning service streak will leave the focus elsewhere ahead of his last-four clash.

The last time Federer met Murray at Wimbledon the Scot claimed the 2012 Olympic title, in revenge for the Swiss claiming the Wimbledon crown earlier that summer.

Federer admitted that honours ending almost even that year perhaps suited both parties.

“I think we both like to look back at that summer,” said Federer. “At the end of the day if we could have had it beforehand that I won Wimbledon and he won the Olympics then we both probably would have taken it.

“It was a great summer for both of us.

“He played unbelievable in the final of the Olympics; I’m not going to look back too much at that one because he dominated me there.

“I’m pleased for him to be in such form because he’s worked so hard to come back from a back injury and that’s never easy.

“It would be a tough one for me no doubt but I’m looking forward to it.”