So close but no cigar for my pre-tournament bet on Cilic to win the Second Quarter at 9/1 and for the tournament at 140.0 on the exchanges and it made painful viewing watching him squander all of those amazing chances to win from 2-0 up. However, there were numerous opportunities to cash out in play as advised and the name of the game is making a profit, which anyone who backed Cilic should have done if they followed my pre-match advice.
The women’s Wimbledon final on Saturday will be a repeat of this year’s epic Australian Open final between Serena and Kerber, which Kerber won 6-4 3-6 6-4. The weight of creating history and matching Steffi Graf’s 22 Grand Slam wins has weighed heavy on Serena this year having lost both the Australian and French Open finals when she was the clear favourite to win.
However, Wimbledon has become Serena’s domain and, if she’s going to match Graf’s seven Wimbledon and 22 Grand Slam titles, SW19 looks like the place where she will do it. Kerber arrives in red hot form having not dropped a set over the last fortnight and she is one of only a handful of players who can compete with Serena at her best. She cannot match Serena’s power, but she is a great mover, defender and counter attacker and she can create wicked angles with her lefty double handed back-hand and whipped forehand, which will cause Serena problems as she’s not the best when pushed out wide on either flank.
Serena is not surprisingly a short priced (odds on) favourite to win tomorrow. However, she is bound to feel the pressure with the weight of all that expectation on her shoulders again and, with Kerber more than capable of making life difficult for her, I think this match could easily go to three sets like the Australian Open final.
It’s men’s semi-finals today and first up Roger Federer will attempt to reach a tenth Wimbledon final against Milos Raonic, over whom he has a 9-2 winning head-to-head record against including two on grass at Halle and here in straight sets in 2014. However, Raonic has continued to close the gap on Federer leading up to their last meeting this year in the final at Brisbane, which Raonic won in straight sets.
Federer struggled to come to terms with Cilic’s big serve and aggressive game for two and half sets on Wednesday. It’s fair to say Cilic choked when the winning line was within touching distance and he never recovered from failing to convert three break points at 0-40 in the third set, and later when he had match points. This match is likely to be as close and tense and if Raonic gets ahead, which he’s done in all but one of his matches this fortnight, I don’t think he’ll let Federer off the hook like Cilic did.
The second semi-final is between Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych and the pressure of being favourite to win the tournament and the expectations of the home nation seemed to weigh heavy on Murray at times against Tsonga on Wednesday. Murray has dominated all four meetings against Berdych since 2015 dropping only one set, but with Berdych’s game being similar to Tsonga’s, Murray will need to be at his absolute best again today and he can’t afford to be too passive or defensive, especially early in the match. If that happens, Berdych will grow in confidence and Murray could easily find himself having to fight from behind to win.