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Roger Federer vs Marin Cilic tips: Rejuvenated Federer ready to seize record eighth Wimbledon title

Bettingpro Staff 16 Jul 2017
  • Roger Federer faces Marin Cilic in the Wimbledon men's final as Federer attempts to win a record eighth title
  • Federer vs Cilic tennis is live from Wimbledon on Sunday at 2pm BST
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis
Roger Federer (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Roger Federer will face Marin Cilic in Sunday’s final with a chance to win a record eighth Wimbledon title – something many believed would never happen. Does destiny await?

Federer vs Cilic tennis is live from Wimbledon on Sunday at 2pm BST. Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis

Roger Federer is into his eleventh Wimbledon final and, at the age of 35, can become the first and only man in the Open Era to win The Championships eight times – and, for the first time in a Grand Slam final since 2009, it isn’t Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or even Andy Murray who waits across the net. It’s Marin Cilic. 

History offers a good note of caution here about engraving Federer’s name on the trophy just yet: In that last major final where Federer faced a player outside the Big Four, he lost to an inspired outsider – Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open, the same major where Cilic blasted Federer off the court in straight sets when they met in 2014. So it’s not quite a foregone conclusion.

Oh, but it’s hard to avoid the sense that everything is coming together for Federer. When he lost to Milos Raonic in the semifinals 12 months ago and then shut down his season, it seemed like the beginning of the end; then he came back playing as well as ever (if not, terrifyingly, better) in Australia, winning his eighteenth Grand Slam title in Melbourne and underlining the point with back-to-back Masters 1000 Series titles at Indian Wells in Miami, beating long-time nemesis Rafael Nadal in all three tournaments to boot. What seemed like a sad admission of how time breaks down even the best and most seemingly ageless is now being recommended as a tactical maneouvre – take six months off, work on your game and come back rejuvenated. And that same Midas touch for Federer, surely one of the most blessed human beings to have ever existed, has worked on his decision to skip the entire clay-court season and the French Open. It was thought he might be rusty (and a shock defeat to Tommy Haas, who is virtually retired and playing a farewell tour, in Stuttgart wasn’t promising). Instead here he is in the Wimbledon final without having dropped a set, having cruised to the Halle title in the warm-up, while those who might have been his rivals at this event have found their bodies giving up in them or been unable to dig deep enough to outlast inspired opponents.

‘What I’m happy about is I’m fresh in the second week at Wimbledon,’ Federer said. ‘That was the idea behind skipping the French Open: to be healthy and in form at Wimbledon. And that worked out for me.’

Somehow, everything Federer does is turning out right – and advancing him further along the path to that eighth Wimbledon trophy, which is (make no mistake) the prize above all others that continues to motivate him at the age of very nearly 36. Even in the semifinals, when Federer played his worst and nerviest match of the tournament and Tomas Berdych played a very good one, Federer still won in straight sets. That’s the gulf between the two men at the moment, and it doesn’t bode well for Cilic.

‘I was able to come up with the goods when it mattered... I played good in the 'breakers... I never played with any sense of panic, which is so important when it gets to crunch time,’ Federer said after his 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 win over Berdych.

There was plenty of panic in Marin Cilic’s nervy 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-5 victory over Sam Querrey earlier in the day. Cilic squandered a 4-1 lead in the first-set tie break and missed forehands in particular on many crucial points, then was lucky in some ways to be able to come back from 2-4 down in the fourth set and keep the match going to a fifth. Querrey has played a lot of tennis to come through the draw – three five-set matches and one four-set match – and was playing his first Grand Slam semifinal, and both those things told on him. Coach Jonas Bjorkman has been encouraging Cilic to show more of his emotions on court, and it was evident on Friday how much he wanted the victory, but the ultimate effect was to make him look a little ragged and vulnerable.

Marin Cilic  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Cilic did come through in four sets, backing up his very solid victory over Gilles Muller in five in the quarterfinals, and that’s not insignificant. But it’s plain that this is not the zoning Cilic who seemingly didn’t blink for two weeks as he blasted his way through the field and through Federer to the US Open title. This is a Cilic who is blinking and, yes, thinking. This is the Cilic who has lost six of the seven matches he has played against Federer – including last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinal, when he led by two sets to love, but let Federer hold from 0-40 at 3-3 in the third, then failed to convert match points in the fourth, going on to lose in five.

‘It was just, you know, decision-making at those crucial points — match points, break points even,’ Cilic said, looking back at that match. ‘In those critical moments, my mind-set, picking the shots maybe wasn’t the best. I learned from that. But overall with the game, I felt throughout the match I played really well.’

If it was the same Cilic who let that commanding lead slip last year, it was a different Federer who wriggled desperately out of trouble in that match – a Federer who had never really got his season going again after that February surgery on his right knee, playing only four events between the Australian Open and Wimbledon; a Federer who was conscious of, if not actively hampered by, knee and back issues and who would go on to lose in the semifinals. This isn’t the Federer we’ve seen since January – the rejuvenated champion playing better than ever. The eighteenth Grand Slam title in Melbourne was a delightful bonus for Federer, but this – Wimbledon, an eighth title here to surpass Pete Sampras and Willie Renshaw 14 years after he won his first one and five years since he won his last – this is what he came back for. I’m not sure there’s anything that Cilic can really do to get between Federer and the trophy. 

Federer vs Cilic is scheduled on Centre Court at Wimbledon on Sunday at 2pm BST. Watch and bet on the match at bet365 > live streaming > Roger Federer vs Marin Cilic

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Roger Federer vs Marin Cilic tips: Rejuvenated Federer ready to seize record eighth Wimbledon title

Roger Federer has cruised through the draw to an eleventh Wimbledon final and is poised to dismantle Marin Cilic and surpass Pete Sampras’s record of eight Wimbledon titles: Read our tips, predictions and stream the match live online.

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