The tennis records, just like the opponents, are bound to fall.
Federer defeated the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4, meaning he has not lost a set all tournament. On Sunday, he will play Croatia’s Marin Cilic, who eliminated American Sam Querrey in Friday’s other semifinal.
“It makes me really happy making history here at Wimbledon,” said Federer, 35. “It’s a big deal. I love this tournament. All my dreams came true here as a player. To have another chance to go for number eight now, be kind of so close now at this stage, is a great feeling.”
In facing Cilic — an opponent he has beaten six times in seven meetings — Federer has a chance to become the oldest man in the Open Era to win Wimbledon. The Swiss star, who a week ago served the 10,000th ace of his career, would surpass seven-time winners William Renshaw and Pete Sampras.
“I feel I’m ready for it,” said Federer, who last won Wimbledon in 2012 when he beat Andy Murray in the final. “I’ve played good matches here since my win here in 2012. I played great ’14, ’15. ’16 was special. And ’13 because of injuries. But I played great in ’14 and ’15. I’m happy I’m up to that level again.”
Federer is the last standing of the top four seeds who have dominated the sport for years, with Rafael Nadal and Murray losing, and Novak Djokovic retiring from his quarterfinal match because of a sore elbow.
Cilic is the second Croatian player, man or woman, to reach a Wimbledon final. The first was Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.
“It would mean absolutely a world to me,” Cilic said of winning Wimbledon. “I feel that when I won the US Open in ’14, it just opened so many possibilities in my mind for the rest of my career. To be able to do it again would definitely mean, I would say, even more because I know how much it meant for me to win that first one.
“It would be absolutely a dream come true to win Wimbledon here.”
Querrey was looking to become the first American man to reach a Grand Slam final since Andy Roddick was runner-up at Wimbledon in 2009.
Querrey, who attended Thousand Oaks High, got a long way ... but not quite long enough. Cilic beat him 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5.
“I was actually more nervous against Andy in the quarterfinals,” said Querrey, who upset world No. 1 and defending Wimbledon champion Murray on Wednesday. “Today I felt pretty good.”
Querrey and Cilic, both 6 feet 6, traded big serves and powerful groundstrokes on Centre Court, with the Royal Box filled with the likes of tennis greats Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, and Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees.
History was not on Querrey’s side. He was looking to become the first No. 24 seed to reach a Grand Slam final. He was only the fourth to get to the semifinals at a major.
“It’s been a fun run,” said Querrey, 29, who upset Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year. “It’s given me some confidence. ... I feel like I’ve really had some ups over the last year, and hopefully there are more of those to come as I get a little bit older.”
Californians at Wimbledon
Querrey and Venus Williams aren’t the only Southern Californians making a splash at Wimbledon. Claire Liu, also from Thousand Oaks, is playing Saturday in the girls’ singles final.
“I know Claire Liu well,” Querrey said. “She practices down in Carson a lot. I probably see her 50 times a year, so I’m stoked for her. She’s really good. Hopefully she can take a title tomorrow.”
The No. 2-ranked Liu, 17, runner-up last month in the Roland Garros Junior French Championships, will play fellow American Ann Li of Devon, Pa.
Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesfarmer