Sunday, July 16, 2017

2017 WIMBLEDON: Men's Final Preview (and Semifinals Review)

Here are my predictions for the men's final at the Wimbledon Championships for 2017. Last year I correctly predicted Andy Murray would defeat Milos Raonic in the men's final.  This year I correctly predicted 2 of 2 men's semifinals2 of 2 women's semifinals4 of 4 this year's women's quarterfinals and 2 of 4 men's quarterfinals. I also incorrectly predicted that Venus Williams would beat Garbine Muguruza in the women's final this year.

Marin Cilic (CRO) [7] d. Sam Querrey (USA) [24] 6-7(8) 6-4 7-6(3) 7-5. Sam Querrey was playing in his very first major semifinal after defeating the World #1 and defending champion Andy Murray in the round before. Unfortunately, in this important match he had to face someone in Marin Cilic whom he had never beaten before (in four meetings). Although Cilic ended up losing that first set tiebreaker because his backhand started to going off, he was able to get an early service break in the second set. The third set was key and when Cilic was able to win it fairly easy in a tiebreak you thought that might signal quick end to the match. However, Querrey broke early in the 4th set and a fifth set seemed imminent until out of nowhere Cilic broke back to level the set at 4-all and eventually broke Querrey to reach his first Wimbledon final.

Roger Federer (SUI) [3] dTomas Berdych (CZE) [11] 7-6(4) 7-6(4) 6-4. This scores does not quite reflect how ultimately competitive this match was. Federer was up a break in the first set and was expected to maintain the lead and run away with the first when Berdych surprisingly broke back and it was only through very good luck and opportunistic aggression that Federer won the first set tiebreak. In the second set, Berdych was actually the better player but again somehow Federer was able to sneak out the second set in a tiebreaker. Then with a 2-0 set lead Federer was able to up his aggression and earn a break which he could use to ensure success in the 3rd and final set.


I have no doubt that Marin Cilic will indeed win Wimbledon someday. The question is, will that day be Sunday July 16 2017? It is very possible. He has impeccable grass bonafides. Cilic had 4th set match points against Federer last year in the quarterfinals but lost that set and then the match in the fifth set. He is playing excellent grass court tennis and has reached the quarterfinals or better for four years in a row here at Wimbledon and had very deep runs in both grass court warm-up tournaments he played in. However, Federer is clearly the most accomplished grass court player of all time. he has the most grasscourt victories of any active player and he has planned his entire year (by missing the entire clay court season) to maximize his chances at winning Wimbledon. He has reached the final by not dropping a set, although he has played 5 tiebreaks and won all of them. I suspect there will be at least one tiebreak against Cilic and hopefully Federer's luck will hold or else things could get complicated. However, I do think that if it does get deep into a 5th set Federer will prevail (even though overall Federer does not have a great 5-set record, primarily because he  usually wins his grand slam matches easily enough so that he doesn't have a lot of experience playing them). But Federer's 2009 win over Andy Roddick and his 2017 win over Rafael Nadal are evidence that Federer can do well in tight situations. I didn't like how irritated Federer got when he got so much resistance and excellent play from Berdych. I suspect he will be mentally and physically prepared for Cilic to do well and does not expect this match to be easy. If you had told Federer that he would be able to reach the Wimbledon final without having to face any of the other members of the Big Four he would take that bet in a second. Although lots of people expect Federer to win this match to win his 8th Wimbledon title and 19th major, it must be noted that he has lost the last two Wimbledon finals he played, in 2015 and 2014 (both to Novak Djokovic). However, there's a reason why Federer has a 6-1 head-to-head lead over Cilic, but it must be noted that they have only played once since Cilic won his major title at the 2014 US Open which included a blistering straight sets win over Federer in the semifinals. That being said, I believe Federer will find a way to prevail.  PREDICTION: Federer.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin