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Wimbledon 2017 Final preview, predictions and betting tips: Marin Cilic can crush Roger Federer's Wimbledon dream

Neil Roarty 15 Jul 2017

Roger Federer faces Marin Cilic in the 2017 Wimbledon Final and we have expert predictions and betting tips for the match, which takes place on Sunday at 13:00 BST.


Roger Federer has made it to the final of Wimbledon and the assumption from fans, the media and the bookmakers is that the Swiss simply needs to turn up at the All England Club and collect the trophy.

There are plenty of reasons for this assumption. Federer has yet to drop a set at SW19 this year, powering past Dusan Lajovic, Mischa Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych without ever really looking troubled. He has looked as dominant in 2017 at the age of 35 as he has in any of his previous seven Wimbledon wins but has he really had to do that much?

Federer has not beaten any of the other members of the 'Big Four', all of whom have disappointed at the All England Club this season. He has, in fact, only had to beat one other top 10 player and Raonic, who was beaten in the opening round of Queen's Club in the lead up to Wimbledon, is not in any sort of form this year. Berdych, a former top 10 player, is also on the decline and Dimitrov, despite the hype, has never established himself in that company.

Marin Cilic, however, is a genuine top 10 player now and, unlike all of Federer's previous opponents over the past fortnight, a Grand Slam champion. He may not be afforded that respect often by pundits but the Croatian is an elite level player and he can push Federer far more than anyone has so far, which makes it a surprise that the Swiss is as short as 2/9 to win on Sunday.

The head-to-head record may read 6-1 in favour of Federer but Cilic has rarely been outclassed by the 18 times Grand Slam champion. Only once (the fourth in a 3-1 win for Federer in the 2011 US Open) has a set been won by more than three games and Cilic has, in fact, even won more sets in their three meetings since 2014 than Federer. Their last three results have been a 2-1 win for the Swiss in the Canada Masters in 2014, a 3-0 win for Cilic at the 2014 US Open and then a 3-2 win for Federer at Wimbledon last year.

Cilic could put Federer under pressure on Sunday
That meeting is perhaps the best barometer for Sunday's final and it augurs well for Cilic. The Croatian was the better player on that day and raced into a 2-0 lead by simply hitting through Federer. He dropped the third set before having match points in the fourth set tie-break and should have beaten the Swiss but Federer managed to cling on, force a fifth, and then take the victory. It was a combination of mental weakness from Cilic and mental strength from Federer but you would expect that the roles would perhaps be reversed if the situation arose again on Sunday.

Like Federer, Cilic cruised through the early rounds at Wimbledon but, perhaps unlike Federer, he has been battle hardened by a few tougher recent matches. Gilles Muller, conqueror of Rafael Nadal, served incredibly well and made the 28-year-old have to raise his own service game and that helped him come through a similar semi-final match with Sam Querrey, who had knocked out Andy Murray. Obviously neither Muller nor Querrey are anywhere near the level of Federer but the fact that Cilic had to fight will have prepared him well.

Federer only really had to work on his game during a tie-break with Raonic when he dropped a mini-break but came back with a few winners but by that point the Canadian was more or less defeated and it was a similar story with Berdych. The Czech pushed Federer, and even broke his serve in the opening set, but when it came to the tie-breaks he couldn't hold his nerve and sprayed errors around, handing the third seed the initiative. If Cilic, who is a stronger player than both Raonic and Berdych, can keep his cool then he could possibly turn the tables and put the 35-year-old under pressure. It remains to be seen how Federer will cope when the chips are down.

Most assume that he will simply raise his game but 2/9 is a very short price to trust in that happening. Cilic has been the better player in each of their last two meetings, has looked as much of a Wimbledon champion this year as Federer and it's he who represents the value on Sunday. It's 4/1 with bet365 that the Croatian beats Federer and that's worth a small stakes play. Backing the 28-year-old at 4/5 with the same firm when given a 5.5 game advantage is a banker. He hasn't failed to cover that line against Federer since 2011 and, while some say that the Swiss is at his 2011 levels, there's no doubt that the 35-year-old isn't as good as he was then. Cilic has improved immeasurably and is now a Grand Slam champion. He could be set to now be a duel major winner.

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Wimbledon 2017 Final preview, predictions and betting tips: Marin Cilic can crush Roger Federer's Wimbledon dream

Roger Federer faces Marin Cilic in the 2017 Wimbledon Final and we have expert predictions and betting tips for the match, which takes place on Sunday at 13:00 BST.

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