Roger Federer will play in his 11th final at All England Club after overcoming big hitting Tomas Berdych 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 in Friday's second semi final.
The Swiss is yet to drop a set at SW19, and he now has a chance to go for a record eighth Wimbledon title and 19th Grand Slam in Sunday's showpiece. In his way will be Marin Cilic, who ended the run of Sam Querrey of 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 earlier in the day.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive. In doing so, the Swiss was able put Berdych through his paces early, holding a break point in a multiple deuce game before Berdych held.
Roger quickly levelled for 1-1, and in game five he came up with some beautifully constructed points and a bullet forehand on break point to go up 3-2. The seven-time champ then consolidated for 4-2, but in game eight he was the architect of his downfall, sending down two double faults as Berdych broke back for 4-4.
At 5-5 Roger had two chances to restore his advantage but Berdych came up with some big serves to make 6-5. The set then went into a tie break.
Into the breaker and a chip charge put Fed up a mini break at 3-1. However, Berdych hit back with an excellent return of his own for 3-4 but missed an easy forehand to slip to 3-5 and Roger took the set 7-4.
The first set was always more important for the Czech, and he was soon under pressure in set 2. But to his credit, he held firm to hold for 2-2. In game 7 Roger made his fifth unsuccessful challenge of the day in slipping to 0-30. The Swiss won the next three points but had to save a break point to move 4-3 in front. Both players were then able to hold comfortably to force another tie break.
Into the breaker and a ridiculous forehand return gave Federer a mini break. Another sick forehand put him up 5-1, but a double fault relinquished one of the breaks for 5-3, however, Berdych couldn't find a way back, dropping a third point on serve to lose it 7-4.
Two sets to the good meant Federer had one foot in the final, but Berdych didn't give in easily. Creating 0-30 in Roger's first game and he continued to hit his forehand well to keep the scoreline close.
In game 5 Roger fashioned a break point at 30-40 but netted a forehand which brought out a ‘Scheisse man' cry. Berdych held, and it gave him a boost of confidence as he created 15-40 on Roger's next service game. Roger's response? Ace 30-40, Ace Deuce, Advantage, Ace game Federer. Clutch!
From huge confidence boost, Berdych was undoubtedly wondering what just happened after he was on the verge of breaking serve and Roger hammered home his advantage, coming up with a great return off a big 2nd serve to break for 4-3. A love hold put him up 5-3, and although Berdych dug deep to force Roger to serve it out, he did so to 15 to book his spot in the final.
|Match Statistics||R. Federer||T. Berdych|
|First Serve % In||70/105 (67%)||79/128 (62%)|
|Win % On 1st Serve||59/70 (84%)||54/79 (68%)|
|Win % On 2nd Serve||21/35 (60%)||28/49 (57%)|
|Net Points Won||23/31 (74%)||20/36 (56%)|
|Break Points Won||2/9 (22%)||1/6 (17%)|
|Receiving Points Won||46/128 (36%)||25/105 (24%)|
|Total Points Won||126||107|
|Distance Covered (Ft)||6557.2||6547|
|Distance Covered/pt. (Ft)||28.1||28.1|
Thoughts on the Match
An 11th Wimbledon final awaits for Federer, and he's yet to drop a set. While he's been the form player of 2017, it's still difficult to comprehend that he's playing this well, and it seemed unlikely he would be contesting slam finals after his injury last year, but here he is with a chance to win a 19th on Sunday.
Today was another great match. We saw on occasion where he looked a little nervous/tense, which prevented him having a brilliant serving day but he had that focus when it mattered to keep Berdych at bay. Those aces down break points in the third set were top drawer, especially after he netted the makeable forehand on a break point in the previous game. It would have been easy to panic there, but he dug in and won the points that mattered to come through.
And I quite like the fact he's got a bit of nerves too. He looked almost nonchalant vs. Murray in the Semi Finals in 2015 then didn't quite deliver in the final. So I'll take a bit of tension in the arm all day long if it means a better showing come Sunday 🙂
As for Berdych, I thought it was a spirited performance. He chased down a tonne of balls out there, crunched his forehand and volleyed nicely too when he needed to. He'll probably rue that missed forehand in the first set breaker which is the set he needed to win, but over three sets he was second best and can't have too many complaints.
Predictions vs. Cilic
So the opponent for the final is Cilic who defeated Querrey in 4 sets in the first semi final. Querrey had played three five setters in a row so probably wasn't the freshest, but he made a fist of it, going up a break in the fourth only to let things slip and allow Cilic to take advantage of too many missed first serves.
Cilic has had a great grass court season making the final at Queens, and we know from the US Open where he blew Federer away how destructive his game can be so he's certainly going to be a tough test in the final.
Roger has the edge over him on grass beating him in five from two sets down last year which given the circumstances was pretty monumental. He also leads the H2H 6-1, has spent less time on the court these past two weeks, and playing Berdych is quite a good prep for another flat power hitter, so there are quite a few things in his favour heading in.
Cilic, however, is a guy capable of catching fire and the way he hits the ball from both wings makes him very dangerous. We all know how Roger needs to play and it will likely boil down to his serve, his slice/variation and movement. If those are on song I like his chances.