A big four semi-finals looked on the cards coming into week two of Wimbledon but 2 matches later, it’s Roger Federer standing alone and the heavy favourite to win a record 19th grand slam title. It would be his second of the year after winning the Australian Open, something that very few would have expected after he took time off after Wimbledon to recover from injuries. Tomas Berdych stands in the way of an 11th Wimbledon singles final for Federer, an open era men’s record and 1 off Martina Navratilova’s 12 overall.
Berdych has the opportunity to make his second Wimbledon final after losing to Nadal in 2010. He was a set and break up in his quarter final against Novak Djokovic before the former champion had to retire due to shoulder problems that had plagued the Serbian in his previous match. Berdych probably would have preferred to win in a normal fashion but he had played fine in the lead up to the retirement, playing a strong tiebreak after a nervy hold to get there. It also gives him a great deal more recovery time after having player a five setter in the previous round. “It’s great feeling. I mean, I wouldn’t say that it’s like some kind of satisfaction of being up and down and whatever. I mean, the season is how it is. Just only I know what I’m doing for it every day. This is it.” he said on the achievement of making the semi final.
Many wondered if Milos Raonic could repeat his shock 2016 win against Federer this time round but it wasn’t really close at all, with Federer putting on a masterclass to win in straights. He was rarely troubled except for one service game in the third set, where he saved multiple break points. He was down 3-0 in the tiebreak but again fought back to win 7 of the next 8 points for the set and match. Federer has been putting up remarkable numbers with a combined 27 unforced errors recorded by the statskeepers through his last three matches, a number many players will put up in 1 match.
Yet to drop a set, it would be a surprise if Federer did so on this occasion. Berdych has troubled him in the past but he does hold an 18-6 record overall including winning the last 7 – although that one was settled by a final set tiebreak that finished 8-6 in Federer’s favour. The cards have fell perfectly for Federer to carry on a dream year and it doesn’t feel like Marin Cilic or Sam Querrey would offer much against him in the final on Sunday either. That said, Federer isn’t ruling anything out. ““Being the favourite or not the the favourite doesn’t matter,” he said. “These other guys are all big hitters. They will have their word to say on the outcome of the matches. They’ve got big serves, big forehands, big hitters really. All three guys are taller and stronger than I am. I have to figure out a different way, carve my way through somehow with my slice and my spins, my consistency maybe.”
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets