Roger Federer takes on Marin Cilic in the men’s singles final of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships on Sunday and we are in for a humdinger.
Either way, history will be made on Sunday. Should Federer be crowned, he will earn a record eighth Wimbledon title, overtaking a former son of the All England Club, Pete Sampras.
Meanwhile, Cilic is vying for his first Wimbledon title and could become Croatia’s first ever multiple grand slam winner, eclipsing tennis legend and former coach and Goran Ivanisevic.
ROAD TO THE FINAL
Federer’s path has been paved with gold. The Swiss Maestro is yet to drop a set in London and it is not for lack of quality opposition either.
You would think that between the talented Grigor Dimitrov, world number seven Milos Raonic and perennial grand slam semi-finalist Tomas Berdych, one of them would have stolen a set off Federer. But alas.
Federer had his moments against Berdych in the semi-final and was forced to win two tiebreakers, but other than that he has not skipped a beat.
From 15-40 to game in the space of four serves.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 14, 2017
Cilic will arrive at the final more battle hardened. He was forced to come back from a set down is is quarter-final clash against Gilles Muller is a match that would go the distance. Cilic showed great fitness and mental strength to dominate the final set 6-1.
Again in the semi-finals he lost the first set, but battled back to win the next three sets against the big serving Sam Querrey.
Unsurprisingly, Federer leads their head-to-head tally 6-1. However, as with most statistics, it does not tell the full story. Federer first five wins came when he was near the peak of his powers.
But Cilic earned one of the biggest wins of his career at the 2014 US Open when a near flawless performance saw him ease past Federer in straight sets in the semi-final, after which he claimed his maiden grand slam title. That result will undoubtedly give the Croat the belief that he can pull of an upset on Sunday.
The pair also met in the quarters at Wimbledon last year, with Federer rallying from two sets down to pull off a superb win, avenging his 2014 loss.
“I’m in for a tough one,” revealed Federer ahead of Sunday’s final.
“We had a great one here last year. At the US Open, he played unreal there against me.”
“It would mean absolutely a world to me,” said Cilic when asked about winning a second grand slam title.
“I feel that when I won the US Open in 2014, it just opened so many possibilities in my mind for the rest of my career. To be able to do it again would definitely mean, I would say, even more because I know how much it meant for me to win that first one. It would be absolutely a dream come true to win Wimbledon here.”
Key to the outcome of this match is Cilic’s serve. The world number six has notched up no less than 130 aces at SW19 this year, second only to Querrey.
Cilic has won 88% of his first service points in his semi-final and would need more of the same if he is going to topple Federer.
However, Federer first serve percentage matches his opponent and he has been relatively error free the last two weeks, averaging just 12 unforced errors a match.
Statistics aside, Federer will be fresher than Cilic and has the calibre to defuse almost any attack that comes his way. That is why we are picking the ageless Federer to win in four sets and lift the silverware once more on Centre Court.