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Marin Cilic v Sam Querrey Wimbledon predictions, betting tips & live stream: Cilic to secure first Wimbledon final appearance

Bettingpro Staff 13 Jul 2017
  • Marin Cilic faces Sam Querrey in the semifinals of Wimbledon 2017 on Friday
  • Cilic vs Querrey semifinal tennis is live from Wimbledon on Friday at 1pm BST
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis
Marin Cilic (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

First-time Wimbledon semifinalists Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey face off on Friday for the chance to make the final of The Championships. 

Cilic vs Querrey semifinal tennis is live from Wimbledon on Friday at 1pm BST. Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis

The last time Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey, two tall men with booming serves, faced off at Wimbledon, it was in the third round of the 2012 Championships – and it was a battle to the death. Cilic eventually prevailed by the scoreline of 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-7(3), 17-15 in five hours and 31 minutes, making it the second-longest match in Wimbledon history behind the notorious John Isner-Nicolas Mahut marathon. With the much higher stakes on the line this time, and both men playing some of their finest tennis, what will happen when they face off in the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2017?

Marin Cilic was a widely-recognised dark horse coming into these Championships. Famously a US Open champion in 2014, when he completely unexpectedly blasted Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori off the courts in straight sets to claim the title, Cilic struggled with a shoulder injury and also with the added pressure and expectation of being a major champion and although he managed to make the semifinals of the US Open in 2015 as the defending champion, he’s never looked a threat at a Slam since – except perhaps at Wimbledon. Cilic, who won his first Masters 1000 Series title in Cincinnati last summer, has made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon for the past three straight years. Losing twice to Novak Djokovic, a particular bete noire of Cilic’s, the Croatian led Roger Federer by two sets to love in the 2016 quarterfinals, only to lose his way and then the match in five sets. He split with coach Goran Ivanisevic not long afterwards.

Now coached by Jonas Bjorkman, Cilic has always been a good grass-court player – champion at Queen’s Club in 2012, a runner-up in 2013, he made the final again this year in the warm-up to Wimbledon, narrowly losing to Feliciano Lopez. Despite that defeat, he looked as good as he ever has on the grass, and while the media focused on the Big Four, the lanky Croatian quietly worked his way through the draw, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber, Florian Mayer, Steve Johnson and Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to set up a quarterfinal clash with Gilles Muller – whom he had beaten in the semifinals at Queen’s Club. Cilic made a slow start and lost the first set 3-6, but settled quickly to the task, staying close with Muller to take the second set to a tie break and, when needed, producing a moment of real class, ending a brutal baseline exchange with a sizzling forehand cross-court past Muller to level the match. He never really looked back from there, ending Muller’s streak of 35 consecutive service holds to break for the third set and although he lost concentration briefly in the fourth, he again stepped up his level, finding a fantastic return game to break Muller early in the fifth and dominate the decider for a 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 victory.

‘I believe, when coming at these stages of the tournament, I’m going to still be able to play great tennis,’ Cilic said simply. ‘I know I have it in me that I can win.’

Cilic’s experience of Grand Slam semifinals – this is the fourth he’s made, and of course went on to win the US Open after one of them – stands in contrast to the inexperience of Querrey, one year Cilic’s senior at 29, who is playing the first of his career.

The lowest-ranked man to make a Grand Slam semifinal since Tommy Haas at Wimbledon in 2009, the first American man to make a Grand Slam semifinal since Andy Roddick at the same event, this has been a long time coming for Querrey. Ranked as high as world no. 17 in 2011, winner of nine career titles including Queen’s Club in 2010 and Acapulco earlier this season when he beat Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal, Querrey has always been such a dangerous player, possessed of huge weapons which are such a natural fit for grass and fast hard courts that it’s a little hard to believe he didn’t make his first Grand Slam quarterfinal until Wimbledon last year, when he memorably ended Djokovic’s streak of 30 match wins at Grand Slam level in the third round.

It obviously gave Querrey a taste for ousting defending champions, though. The big American recorded five-set victories over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round and Kevin Anderson in the round of 16 to make the quarterfinals, and as he made a dreadful start against Andy Murray on Centre Court on Wednesday, it looked like maybe those long matches had taken too much out of him and that it was going to be a short afternoon for Murray, who was quickly up a set and a break.

Sam Querrey (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Not so. Querrey settled in for the second set, breaking serve twice to level the match, and it quickly became clear that Murray had his hands full. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Querrey play a more confident, aggressive match; he ended it with 70 winners and only 30 unforced errors (impressive even by the standards of Wimbledon’s notoriously generous ideas of what constitutes an unforced error), and came to the net again and again, mainly successfully (he won 30 of 49 points at net). Had the American not buried a smash into the net in the third-set tie break and fallen apart for the rest of it, the match might have been done in four; as it was, Querrey only got better and better as he dominated sets four and five. Murray faded physically, clearly struggling with his hip injury, but even an injured Murray is not an easy opponent to close out. Querrey made it look easy as he finished off his 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1 victory.

‘It's a really big deal,’ Querrey said afterwards. ‘For me, it's my first semifinal. To beat Andy, to have it be at Wimbledon, was even a little more special. [It was] just an incredible match. I'm just so happy right now.  
‘I was a little nervous at first when we got out there. I had a little bit of a shaky game, my first service game. But then when I broke back in the second set, [I] kind of took a deep breath and settled in a little bit.  As the match kept going, I just felt more and more confident, more and more like I belonged [out there].’

Querrey certainly played like he belongs at the business end of Grand Slam tournaments on Wednesday, Can he do it again on Friday, and if so, can Cilic respond? Both men are so similar in their strengths and weaknesses – neither of them are great movers or defenders, so this will be a match of first-strike tennis built around the serve and forehand. Both men have been serving brilliantly; Cilic is probably a bit more solid off the backhand than Querrey but his forehand is perhaps a little more erratic. There’s no clear technical advantage to either man in this match-up – which is what makes it surprising that Cilic owns a 4-0 record on Querrey, although all three of their grass-court meetings have gone the distance.

Has Cilic generally been the better, steadier player when the two have met in the past? Yes. Will that be the case when they meet again on Friday? Not necessarily. But I do believe that Cilic’s more efficient route through the draw and his experience of occasions like this, not to mention the deep confidence with which he’s playing, make him the more likely player to reach his first Wimbledon final.

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Marin Cilic v Sam Querrey Wimbledon predictions, betting tips & live stream: Cilic to secure first Wimbledon final appearance

Seventh seed Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, takes on Sam Querrey for a place in the final of Wimbledon 2017: Wimbledon tennis live from the All England Club

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