Well, there it is folks. You just never know. Who would have thought in the fourth set that Raonic would come back to win the match? I sure didn’t. Ever since Raonic had won the first set 6-3, he was going down the same path as Cilic.
In the second set, Raonic missed two returns off second serves on points which would have given him break point if he’d won them. Same thing in the tiebreak where it happened on consecutive points if I recall correctly to lose the tiebreak 7-3.
In the third set, Raonic shanked a backhand on break point down and Federer won it 6-4. What I said in my last post about Raonic’s poor movement, poor returns, and poor backhand were all coming true.
Everything was just too mechanical and one-dimensional while Federer was clutch the same as the Cilic match. Until the game at 5-6 in the fourth set that is. Raonic had missed another return off a Federer second serve at 5-5 and 30-15 up I think.
— BBC Tennis (@bbctennis) July 8, 2016
It was the umpteenth time he did that and it simply wasn’t gonna get the job done against Federer. He was choking like Cilic. Then at 5-5 Raonic went down 0-30 on his serve and I was convinced it was over.
But to Raonic’s credit, he won the next four points that probably won him the match. The margins are extremely small in a match like this and at 0-30, for instance, Raonic made a great stretch volley to win the point.
If Federer wins the point there it is like three virtual match points. In hindsight, Raonic did really well to hold on to his serve in that game.
- Federer’s Nightmare
The fact that Raonic held his serve at 5-5 meant that Federer was serving to stay in the fourth set at 5-6. He quickly went up 40-0 and I was certain a tiebreak was to follow where Federer would get the job done.
On the next point, Raonic teed off on a forehand as he had nothing to lose at 0-40. But then came the big collapse from Federer as he served two consecutive double faults. Something extremely rare for him in that situation.
I put that down to mental fatigue after the Cilic match. Raonic then brought up a couple of set points on Federer’s serve but couldn’t convert. I still thought Federer would force a breaker but on the third set point, Raonic made a return off a first serve from Federer.
It fell woefully short but Raonic guessed the right side on the next shot and made the pass down the line to clinch the fourth set. Unbelievable. I think many people were shocked at that point.
Instead of a tiebreak where Raonic was expected to self-destruct again we were in a fifth set with the momentum on Raonic’s side. How the hell did that happen? This is what I meant in my last post where I said if Federer slips up Raonic can do surprising things.
After looking way too one-dimensional and mechanical since the second set(where I started to watch) Raonic suddenly comes alive and starts hitting some ridiculous shots.
Raonic was also serving up a storm using the body serve to good effect. At 2-1 in the fifth set with Federer serving came another big moment. Raonic’s returning started to improve as he forced a deuce game.
At deuce, there was an extraordinary point where Raonic passed Federer as he went down on the turf and for a while stayed down with his face facing the ground. As the replay was shown on the big screen it showed that Federer fell awkwardly and the British crowd laughed.
That was probably the low point of Federer’s career at Wimbledon. It was kind of symbolic of the dream that was in ruins with Federer’s face in the ground and the crowd laughing at him.
A total nightmare!
- Raonic’s Big Breakthrough
Federer got up and went to his chair to call the trainer. Fortunately, it was nothing serious and he continued. I don’t remember if Raonic won the first break point but he did break after the point of the match which ended in him hitting the crosscourt pass.
That was another big moment in the match and was surely the final nail. Raonic was now supremely confident and almost broke Federer at 4-1 again.
But at least Federer made Raonic serve for it at 5-3 which he did to love with four first serves. Raonic had made the next big breakthrough in his career by making his first slam final. In the end, Federer let himself down with those two consecutive double faults at 5-6 in the fourth set.
But not before Raonic came back from that 0-30 deficit on his serve at 5-5. That took guts and you have to hand this victory to Raonic. He didn’t lose hope and kept fighting.
As for Federer, like I said I think the Cilic match eventually took a toll on him. But it only happened late in the match. He was totally looking the part until that 5-6 game. He was clutch and I was sure he would win in four sets.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 8, 2016
I thought he would win the title too but, in the end, my reader was right that the task was unrealistic for Federer. How do you come back from a break since the Australian Open, defeat Cilic in a brutal five sets, and then defeat the two best grass court players of the season?
At 34, even for Federer, that is too tall an order. That said, he showed once again how difficult he is to beat on the Wimbledon center court and in the end he wasn’t very far off that record eighth Wimbledon title.
He played some great tennis and was involved in two very entertaining five-setters. It is also positive for him in the sense that even with a lack of match practice and losses in the warm-up events he still almost won the title.
He appears healthy and at least the matches he played at Wimbledon should restore some of his confidence. There is still the US hardcourt season ahead as well as the Olympics. He can still do damage there.
- Murray Pummels Berdych
Murray destroyed Berdych 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the second semi-final and was probably relieved that he didn’t have to face Federer in another slam final(he is 0-4 to Federer in slam finals). But Murray has been a different player since Lendl joined his team again.
A routine win like that over Berdych is quite impressive and to me, he is the favorite to win the title. He has knocked the hardest on the door of late, he is much more experienced than Raonic, and he has the kind of game that can give Raonic nightmares.
The head-to-head is fairly close at 6-3 in Murray’s favour but Murray has won the last five meetings and with Lendl back Murray must be the favorite. Something else to look at is the match they had at the Australian Open semi-finals this year which Murray won 6-2 in the fifth set.
Those are slower conditions which I would think favour Murray but I just think Lendl is a kind of deciding factor for Murray. He just gives him that sense of stability and calm that is so often lacking for Murray.
Lendl shows no emotion at all as a coach just like he didn’t show emotion as a player. I can see how that has a calming effect on a player. Whether it is a good or a bad situation he looks the same which is even harder to do as a spectator than a player I think.
Andy Murray has reached more Grand Slam finals than any British man in history (11), going one clear of Fred Perry pic.twitter.com/ziU1p3itRU
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 8, 2016
Watching someone you support can be absolute torture as we all know and yet Lendl shows nothing. Quite extraordinary. So I think Murray will finally win another slam but you certainly can’t count Raonic out here.
No one thought he would beat Federer either and his confidence will get a huge boost from that result. He played some amazing tennis toward the end of that match. Even his returns were working.
If he plays that kind of tennis against Murray he could pull off the upset but Murray has better returns than Federer and better defense as well. At Queen’s Raonic won the first set but then Murray took him apart with superb returning.
I think over five sets it is going to be hard for Raonic to cope with that kind of returning who relies heavily on his serve. Murray can also probably better expose Raonic’s movement and lack of baseline consistency better than Federer.
- My Next Post
There is more I want to say about Federer’s loss but this post is already very long and I will give Fedfans some time to recover first before I bring Djokovic into the conversation again.
I have already said a lot about the GOAT debate and the consequences of today’s result in my last post as it is so if you haven’t read that you can check it out. I will probably make another post tomorrow before the final.
Sorry to the Fedfans who suffered another tough loss but you can surely appreciate that it wouldn’t have been the same had Federer won the title without Djokovic after the string of recent losses to Djokovic in slams.
Edit: I know there is a screen where they show hawk eye replays which they probably use for other replays too so it seems the crowd was, in fact, laughing at Federer falling. In the replay above you can see the crowd laughing at the exact time that they show Federer falling.
🇬🇧 🏆 🇨🇦