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Young guns won't be firing blanks for long, says Raonic

LONDON (Reuters) - Milos Raonic is confident that the new crop of young players who have made Wimbledon sit up and take notice are closing the gap on their elders and betters despite falling short at the business end of the championships.

After young gun Grigor Dimitrov succumbed to top seed Novak Djokovic in the first of Friday's semi-finals, 23-year-old Canadian Raonic capitulated in straight sets against seven-times champion Roger Federer.

Yet Raonic says such chastening experiences will be the making of the new brat pack, which also includes Nick Kyrgios, the 19-year-old Australian who sent world No.1 Rafael Nadal packing in the fourth-round, only to stumble at the next hurdle.

"I think the guys have the level within themselves," Raonic told reporters. "It's more just an understanding of how to deal with the situation.

"That's something I didn't do well today. I know I can do much better and that's the most I have to take out of it."

Eighth seed Raonic, who became the first Canadian to reach Wimbledon's last four since 1908, said before the match that he would not fear 17-times grand slam winner Federer.

But on a sun-baked Centre Court the young Canadian faced an uphill battle after surrendering his serve in the opening game.

"I think I would have given myself a chance to find a bit more understanding, a bit more comfort ... if I was able to get through that first game," he said.

(Reporting By Michael Hann; Editing by David Goodman)

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