Berdych out to stop Federer at Wimbledon

Darren Walton
Tomas Berdych is ready to play the match of his life against Roger Federer

Grand slam dreamer Tomas Berdych is plotting to crash Roger Federer's party when the veterans clash in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Friday night.

Only Berdych, giant-killing Sam Querrey and menacing Marin Cilic stand between Federer and an historic eighth men's singles crown at The All England Club.

With the next generation coming and the sport's so-called Big Four once again filling the top four seeds, few could have predicted the 35-year-old's last three potential challengers to be a pair of unfulfilled veterans and surprise 2014 US Open winner Cilic.

The title seems destined to return to Switzerland, but Berdych, for starters, has other ideas.

When the big Czech took down Federer as a teenager in the first round of the 2004 Olympics, a month after the Swiss had claimed his second Wimbledon crown, Berdych was earmarked for superstardom.

Now 13 years later and his greatest claim to fame remains beating Federer and Novak Djokovic en route to his lone grand slam final appearance at The All England Club in 2010.

Berdych succumbed to Rafael Nadal in the title showdown and is hungry for redemption after enjoying a saloon path to the semis when Djokovic retired hurt with an elbow injury in their quarter-final.

"What can be funny is that in 2010 I beat Roger and then Novak. This year I beat Novak, so now I'm playing Roger," Berdych said.

"So it would be great. Rafa is not there any more. Let's see. Going to be interesting.

"I'm probably in the best possible situation I can be right now,' said the 11th seed.

"I had a pretty good run so far. Was a little bonus of all the matches before. That's just how it is.

"Really, I cannot be in a better position before Friday's match."

Federer, too, feels in a great place as he attempts to continue his Indian summer after ending his four-and-a-half-year grand slam title drought with an incredible run at the Australian Open.

"Am I surprised? Maybe a little bit. But the plan was always to hopefully be strong also later on in my career," Federer said.

"I don't see myself playing better than a few years ago but I always hope to improve every year. I think it's definitely different ever since my injury.

"I don't know if I'm playing better this year than I have in '14, '15 when I had great runs at Wimbledon here. Then I just ran into Novak, who was red hot.

"Honestly, it was difficult to come past him for anybody, especially in the big matches. I'm just very happy that I'm still doing so well."

Federer and Berdych clash after Querrey - Andy Murray's conqueror after also ending Djokovic's title defence last year - and Cilic meet in Friday's first semi-final.