Did Cilic Just Hand Federer the Keys to #18 at Wimbledon?

As I expected Federer and Murray were scheduled to play on center court again for the quarterfinals which means they won’t play one match on Court 1 this year while the two-time defending champion and world number one had to play there and endure something like five rain breaks.

Not exactly fair treatment(not mentioning the poor line calling) which makes it harder to root for Federer or Murray. It sure didn’t hurt Federer’s chances by playing on Center Court either because he took advantage of the crowd and atmosphere to pull off a great escape.

Thanks to some serious choking from Cilic and some clutch play from Federer himself, Cilic blew a 40-0 lead on Federer’s serve in the third set and the same at 40-15 on Federer’s serve in the fourth set to allow Federer to come back from a 0-2 deficit in sets.

Then Cilic missed three match points on Federer’s serve in the fourth set as well, one of them in the tiebreak and two of them by missing returns on second serves. Just inexcusable stuff from Cilic but credit to Federer for taking advantage I guess.

And now you know why I don’t rate Cilic. He chokes. But at least he won two sets which is better than I thought he’d do. When Cilic was leading 7-6(4), 6-4, 3-3 and 40-0 on Federer’s serve I thought we were looking at another US Open-like run from Cilic.

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But that’s where the choking began. Cilic missed returns off second serves which is just inexcusable. If you have a player under that much pressure the least you must do is make them play on the second serve.

It became so clear to me why Federer beats these guys but not Djokovic and Nadal. Djokovic and Nadal do not miss returns off second serves there. End of story. In Djokovic’s case, he may even hit a winner.

Cilic has all the shots to be a multiple slams winner but he is just too fragile mentally. But some credit has to go to Federer too for fighting hard. The fourth set was especially dramatic with Federer winning it 11-9 in the tie-break.

In the fifth set, the mental weakness from Cilic continued as he dropped serve at 3-4 after leading 30-0 and making an unforced error on break point. Cilic should never have lost but at least it was an entertaining match.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

Federer will play Raonic in the semis who defeated Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 5-7. 6-4. So Querrey’s run comes to an end but not before he saved Federer from having to meet his nemesis in the semis again.

This means if Federer wins the title it won’t have the same significance as if he had defeated Djokovic himself. But he and his fans will certainly take it. And although it won’t taste as sweet as if he defeated Djokovic it will be better than nothing.

I think he will win the title now but there is still some work left to do. There is no one left in the draw who is mentally up to the task. Maybe Murray with Lendl in his corner but let’s see what happens in the semis first.

Murray himself needed five sets to overcome Tsonga 7-6(10), 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1. Murray looked unstoppable after the first two sets after which I left the match but Tsonga is a very good grass court player so I guess it is no surprise he forced a decider.

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In the decider, Murray was decisive again and he is still looking good. But with Federer making the great escape I can easily see him winning the title now. It’s that whole destiny of winning #18 at Wimbledon thing.

It’s like a conspiracy. But it’s not a cakewalk draw for Federer from the quarters onward. Cilic already did better than I thought he would and let’s face it it was a pretty brutal match physically and emotionally.

Will that take a toll on Federer or will adrenaline carry him over the line now? It’s hard to tell at this point. We will have to see what happens in the semis first.

  • Semi-Final Preview

Federer leads the head-to-head with Raonic 9-2 and destroyed Raonic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the 2014 Wimbledon semis. He would love to put in another energy-saving performance like that but it is hard to believe he will.

Raonic is now more experienced having made another grand slam semi-final at the Australian Open this year and adding Mcenroe to his team recently as well. He had good preparation by making semis at Queens and that comeback against Goffin.

That said, I’m sure Federer will win because he does well against big servers on grass and Raonic lacks versatility in his game. He doesn’t return well enough, move well enough, and hit his backhand well enough to break Federer.

The best he can do is to hold his serve and hope to get the job done in the tiebreak. But who knows. If Federer is not 100% on his game and maybe feeling some hangover of the Cilic match Raonic can do surprising things.

Federer doesn’t want to get involved in another long drawn-out five-setter that is for sure. If he wants to defeat Murray in his current form he must be fresh and dominant.

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As for Murray, he only just leads Berdych 8-6 in the head-to-head but defeated Berdych in straight sets in their last three meetings. For Murray, fitness is less of an issue than for Federer but he doesn’t want to play another five-setter either.

He’d want to go into the final feeling confident so at most he’d want to win in four sets.

I have to say irrespective of all the fan bias and bias against Djokovic this Wimbledon is drawing to a pretty interesting conclusion. For a while again today I thought Federer now has the title wrapped up and although I am more certain now, the fact that he had a brutal match against Cilic and that he has the two best grass courters left in the draw as opponents mean it is not a certainty that he will win the title.

I don’t think Raonic can be underestimated here. That comeback against Goffin was impressive and he is quite clutch. Certainly more clutch than Cilic. The question is just whether he can break Federer.

Federer needs to get the job done in at most four sets while Murray needs to straight set Berdych, in which case it is ‘match on’ in the final. If Federer goes to five sets it’s advantage Murray and if Murray needs more than straight sets while Federer wins in four or less, it’s advantage, Federer.

  • Highlights

WWW Murray vs Berdych?

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WWW Federer vs Raonic?

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Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

4 Comments

  1. If Murray and Federer meet in the final, I still think Murray will win it. I mean the guy has lost 8 GS finals already. Surely, he’s not going to lose them all. Federer didn’t show anything special from January till April (due to injuries). Murray, on the other hand, made it to both GS finals this year.

    Not a guarantee of course, but I just do not see Federer win an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon title, ever. More power to Fed if he does, but I don’t think it’s realistic, though it’s still hard to measure what level Fed is at.

    It certainly would be HUGE for Fed and his fans if he wins it. In that case, he will be the undisputed King of Grass (as far as I am concerned).

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi, Eren. It does seem like a tall order for Federer. And yes he will be the undisputed king of grass if he gets it. For me, he is the best grass courter anyway. But that’s as far as it goes.

    The hype is already starting again and if he wins the title he will be called the undisputed GOAT by the fanatics ignoring the fact that he once again won the title after one of his nemesis were taken out.

    But hopefully, at least Fedfans would have the decency and common sense in that case to give credit to Djokovic for beating Federer at Wimbledon, the USO, and the AO instead of saying Federer is over the hill and trying to discredit Novak’s wins.

    [Reply]

    Marta Philip Reply:

    Ruan, Fed fans will never give any credit to Novak, ever! If Fed wins this, it doesn’t matter how he does it, he will be the god of tennis, if not there yet as far as they are concerned. They will go on and on and what Novak managed to do against him in the past will be conveniently forgotten.
    I will not root for Fed, the biased treatment he has received at this Wimbledon has sickened me to the heart. It has simply served to show me how unfair a treatment Novak has had to endure.
    Fed should send a huge chunk of his prize money to Querrey and flowers and chocolate to the organizers.
    At this point, as I’m sure you can tell, I’m very bitter about this whole thing and the only thing that will improve my mood is a Raonic beating of You Know Who.
    Thanks again for a great blog.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Marta, I understand your frustration. The establishment got tired of Nole’s domination and they wanted Murray or Federer to win the title. That is ok. Let them have their day in the sun. They were obviously in a very bad place while Nole was winning everything in sight.

    He could have won the title and the calendar slam under different circumstances. Seriously, who cares that Federer was playing against Evans? Evans in a nobody and they already scheduled a Brit in Murray to play every match on CC.

    But what I said at the beginning hasn’t changed. This kind of situation is what drives and motivates Nole. He knows when he is unfairly treated but won’t say it because he is a good guy. He also keeps it inside to inspire him. He will be back stronger.

    If he won the calendar slam he would have been the GOAT but now it will just take a little longer. It won’t be the first time Djokovic has to come back from adversity and he will do it again. Whether Federer wins #18 or not it will make no difference.

    Djokovic will continue his dominance and crush all the records.

    [Reply]

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