Andy Murray appears to have one hand on his second Wimbledon trophy, but a determined Milos Raonic stands in his way.
And then there were two. After 13 days of entertainment at the All England Club we’ve arrived at the tournament finale and most anticipated event: it’s finals day in the men’s singles.
From the outset Andy Murray was predicted to form one half of the finale’s line-up, but few would have bet on Milos Raonic being the man he would face. Yet the thrills and spills of the top half of the draw have thrown up a few surprises, with world number one Novak Djokovic beaten by San Querrey before Ranoic defeated Roger Federer in the last four.
It’s the big-serving Canadian’s first appearance in a grand slam final, while Murray has 10 finals to his name – he’s only managed to win two. But this will be the first time that the Scot doesn’t have either Djokovic or Federer on the other side of the net. His chances have never looked better.
Sunday’s match is set to be a classic battle between the power of the Raonic serve and the strength of the Murray return. The number two seed is one of the best returners in the game and has made no secret of the fact that it’s an element of his game that he works particularly hard on. He’ll need to be at his best against a man who offers very few chances on his serve.
While Raonic, Canada’s first men’s singles finalist, has unleashed the fastest serve on offer this week (144mph), and notched up the most aces, there is more to the 25-year-old than just a big serve – as Federer discovered on Friday. The booming groundstrokes of the Canadian have provided plenty of problems at SW19, and the mental edge that John McEnroe appears to have given him since the American joined his coaching team combine to form a formidable package.
However, there is no doubt Murray will be backing himself to win this one, and for good reason. Murray is on a five-match winning streak against Raonic, with his most recent victory coming in the final at the Queen’s Club last month when he came from a set and a break down to take the title.
Raonic will be hoping that past form counts for little. “I think you disregard that very quickly,” he said of his defeat at Queen’s. “It’s a slam final. A lot of adrenaline, all this stuff takes over and you keep fighting through. I have a great opportunity on Sunday.”
Murray certainly isn’t taking anything for granted. “You never know how anyone’s going to deal with the pressure of a slam final,” he said. “So I’ll just have to go out there and concentrate on my side, do what I can to prepare well for it and see what happens.”
It’s a fascinating battle made even more irresistible by the rebirth of the rivalry between coaches Ivan Lendl and McEnroe. A sideshow of course, but an extra layer of intrigue that’s hard not to lap up. The two were fierce rivals on the court and are now in opposite corners off it.
But this is the Murray and Raonic show, and what a show it promises to be.
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Gentlemen’s Singles – Final
Milos Raonic (CAN)  vs Andy Murray (GBR) 
Mixed Doubles – Final
Robert Farah (COL) / Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER)  vs
Henri Kontinen (FIN) / Heather Watson (GBR)