Roger Federer is one victory away from filling the last space in his creaking trophy cabinet after beating Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in a four hour 26 minute epic to reach the Olympic men’s singles final at Wimbledon today.
The 30-year-old Swiss, who added a 17th grand slam title to his collection last month on the same Centre Court, survived a record-breaking scrap to win 3-6 7-6 19-17 in the longest men’s three-set match played in the professional era.
The third set alone took an astonishing 163 minutes with Federer, who served for the match at 10-9 but was broken to love, claiming victory when his exhausted opponent fired an attempted backhand pass into the net.
Federer won doubles gold in Beijing four years ago with Stanislas Wawrinka but had never previously reached an Olympics singles final.
He will face either world number two Novak Djokovic from Serbia or Britain’s Andy Murray, whom he beat to win a seventh Wimbledon singles title.