(7) Marin Čilić (CRO) vs (3) Roger Federer (SUI)
It’s the biggest match of the year on the men’s calendar and it always produces two of the highest quality players in the world. This year is no exception with Marin Čilić to take on the great Roger Federer for the 2017 Wimbledon title.
Federer is chasing an incredible 8th Wimbledon title in a year where he has not only re-invented his game, but again, at almost 36 years of age, become the best player in the world. He has only lost two matches for the entire year and and already has 4 titles under his belt including the Australian Open despite skipping the entire clay season.
The Swiss Maestro’s opponent is also no stranger to grand slam glory. Having triumphed at the US Open in 2014, Čilić is aiming to add the Wimbledon silverware to his trophy cabinet and become the first man from his country to do so since Goran Ivanišević in 2001.
Federer holds a 6-1 record over Čilić but the Croatian has defeated Federer in a grand slam match and also pushed him to 5 sets in the quarters here last year. Like that match, this one also has the potential go the distance and I’m expecting exceptional quality in tonight’s final.
How Marin Čilić will win…
Čilić’s game is based around a big serve and powerful groundstrokes, particularly from the back of the court. He is a big underdog going into this match so he will have to play at an elite level for extended periods and not let Roger get a run on. I think the Croatian’s serve will be the key in this match if he is to have any chance of winning. He will need to be serving extremely well and forcing Federer into tie-breaks. Where he can, he will need to be as aggressive as possible with his groundstrokes and try and hit Federer off the court. Čilić was sensational in the first 2 sets of his quarter final against Federer here last year until Roger was able to reel him in. He will have to play at a similar level but for longer if he is to win tonight.
How Roger Federer will win…
After an extended period off last year, Federer has re-invented himself and come out in 2017 a new player. He is playing with a level of freedom that I have not seen for almost 10 years and now doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses in his game at all. His serve, volley and forehand have always been strong but this year it is his return of serve and particularly his backhand which he has been using to destroy opponents. He doesn’t seem to have lost much in the way of his footwork so his movement and fitness is not an issue. I expect Federer to serve extremely well and be aggressive against his taller opponent. If Roger can return well enough, particularly on the second serves of Čilić, he will be too good. His backhand return of serve in particular has been exceptional this year, he is taking the shot earlier the previously and is catching even the best opponents completely off-guard. In my mind, Federer would have to have quite an off day to fall short in this final.
Federer is on the cusp of greatness as he looks to surpass Pete Sampras and become the sole record holder for the most Wimbledon titles won. Čilić is also having a great few years and I am not surprised to see him in the last match of a major once again. It is a big task for him tonight but I expect him to go down swinging and he certainly has the game to push Federer hard should he be on song.
Federer has been in devastating form this tournament having not dropped a single set. It’s also worth noting he didn’t drop a single set in the lead-up tournament in Halle either. As such, it’s hard to see Čilić get the better of him tonight. I expect Federer to be too strong and am tipping him to go through and claim an 8th Wimbledon title, this time without dropping a single set.
Federer in 3 sets