Andy Murray can clinch his third grand slam title on Sunday and become the first British man to win Wimbledon multiple times since Fred Perry back in 1935 if he can beat Milos Raonic in the Wimbledon final. Murray has been fortunate in that he will play a grand slam final for the first time without facing either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer but Raonic has improved markedly in the past 12 months.
Andy Murray Route To The Final: 1R L Broady 62 63 64 2R Y-H Lu 63 62 61 3R J Millman 63 75 62 4R N Kyrgios (15) 75 61 64 QF J-W Tsonga (12) 76 61 36 46 61 SF T Berdych (10) 63 63 63
Milos Raonic Route To The Final: 1R P C Busta 76 62 64 2R A Seppi 76 64 62 3R J Sock (27) 76 64 76 4R D Goffin (11) 46 36 64 64 64 QF S Querrey (28) 64 75 57 64 SF R Federer (3) 63 67 46 75 63
Barring his quarter final blip against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Murray has controlled all his matches and never really felt in trouble winning each of the other five in straight sets including a very accomplished display against Tomas Berdych in the semi finals breaking five times in a 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory. Even against Tsonga, Murray only found himself in trouble after surging ahead, holding a 2-0 lead in sets as well as being up a break in the fourth set before Tsonga fought back.
Raonic, under the coaching of John McEnroe, has had a great year and making the final is a new best for him at any of the four tournaments. He outlasted Roger Federer in five sets, taking the momentum of breaking for the set in the fourth from 40-0 down and dropping just two points on his first serve in the decider. While Raonic had been playing well, it seemed like the tournament had been set for a repeat of the 2012 final where Murray and Federer had met.
Canadian tennis is on the up these days with Genie Bouchard and now Raonic making the Wimbledon final in the space of three years while there are a number of solid prospects on the Boys’ side ready to make their mark in a few years time. “It’s a pretty special feeling for myself. But I think it’s a pretty special recognition to the state of Canadian tennis…there’s a lot of positive future in Canadian tennis.”
“You never know how anyone’s going to deal with the pressures of a slam final.” Murray said when asked how it will be to be the one with experience and pressure going into the final. It will be the first time he will be the bookmakers favourite after 10 finals where his opponent of Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer being so. “(I) just have to go out there and concentrate on my side.. do what I can to prepare well for it and see what happens.”
Raonic had joked he fancied a rematch after losing the Queens final from a set and break up to Murray a few weeks back. That result demonstrated the danger Raonic can pose to Murray on grass, especially if he has a great serving day. The first time Murray broke the Raonic serve in his 6-7 6-4 6-3 win was the first time the Canadian was broken all week.
Murray has generally handled big servers well but was keen to stress the difference between Raonic and some of the other big servers in the game.”Milos serves maybe a bit harder but because Karlovic and Isner are significantly taller, they can serve more of the spots and have probably bigger second serves as well. Milos is better from the ground than both of those guys and probably a better return game, as well.” he said.
While Murray has beat Raonic the last 5 times they have met, it’s fair to say that the Queens clash and their Australian Open meeting earlier in the year have been far from straight forward. Raonic led 2-1 in Melbourne but injury struck and he eventually fell to defeat in 5 sets. The danger for Raonic, especially after playing a lengthy five setter, is that he will be drawn into lengthy points with Murray which will always favour the Brit. Serving big and keeping points short will be vital with Murray probably having the capability of outlasting anyone on the tour not named Novak Djokovic.
Given that making slam finals is nothing new for Murray these days, you’d think the excitement levels would drop but he insists that’s not the case. “I guess the tournaments start to mean more to you the older you get and you start to appreciate the history of the events probably more as you get older.” Murray said. It will be his eleventh in total and third in a row and Murray will be very confident of adding a second Wimbledon title to his name.
Prediction – Andy Murray in four sets