TENNIS WIMBLEDON • 10SBALLS LOOKS AT MEN’S SEMIS • ROGER FEDERER VS. TOMAS BERDYCH & MARIN CILIC VS. SAM QUERREY

Written by: on 13th July 2017
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Wimbledon Championships
TENNIS WIMBLEDON • 10SBALLS LOOKS AT MEN'S SEMIS • ROGER FEDERER VS. TOMAS BERDYCH & MARIN CILIC VS. SAM QUERREY

epa06079464 Marin Cilic of Croatia in action against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain during their fourth round match for the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 10 July 2017. EPA/NIC BOTHMA EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO COMMERCIAL SALES  |

By Ricky Dimon

 

Only one of the Big 4 is through to the Wimbledon semifinals and it’s Roger Federer. The seven-time Wimbledon champion will bid for a spot in the title match when he faces Tomas Berdych on Friday. Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey are also in action.

 

Ricky previews the two matches and makes his predictions.

 

(3) Roger Federer vs. (11) Tomas Berdych

Roger Federer of Switzerland in action against Milos Raonic of Canada during their quarter final match for the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 12 July 2017. EPA/WILL OLIVER

Federer and Berdych will be facing each other for the 25th time in their careers when they collide in the Wimbledon semifinals on Friday. The head-to-head series stands at 18-6 in Federer’s favor, which is actually a respectable number for Berdych. But it has not been competitive of late. Since winning five times in the span of eight meetings from 2010 through 2013, Berdych has lost seven in a row against Federer and the underdog is 1-16 in their last 17 total sets. The Czech did, however, make things interesting earlier this season in Miami; Federer prevailed 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6) during his run of consecutive Masters 1000 titles.

 

That came in a stretch that saw the fifth-ranked Swiss go 19-1 in his first 20 matches of 2017. After skipping the clay-court swing and losing his grass-court opener in Stuttgart to Tommy Haas, Federer appears to be back in the same kind of form. He is in the midst of a 10-match winning streak that includes the Halle title and Wimbledon victories over Alexandr Dolgopolov, Dusan Lajovic, Mischa Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, and Milos Raonic. The 18-time Grand Slam champion is the only one of the four semifinalists who has not surrendered a single set.

 

Berdych had been mediocre at best prior this fortnight, to the extent that he still won’t be in the top eight in the race to the World Tour Finals if he falls to Federer. But a return trip to the All-England Club was just what the doctor ordered for the world No. 15. The 2010 runner-up and 2016 semifinalist is 42-13 lifetime at this tournament and is back in the semis following defeats of Jeremy Chardy, Ryan Harrison, David Ferrer, Dominic Thiem, and Novak Djokovic–the latter via second-set retirement.

 

Still, Berdych has not done enough to suggest he can take down Federer, which he did in the 2010 quarterfinals before upsetting Djokovic in the semis and losing to Nadal in the title match. Only his straight-set demolition of Ferrer was a particularly impressive result, and Ferrer is a shadow of his former self at 35 years old.

 

Berdych’s next 35-year-old foe, on the other hand, is aging like a fine wine. The 11th seed’s favorable draw has come to an end, and his 2017 Wimbledon campaign will likely do the same on Friday.

Pick: Federer in 3

 

(24) Sam Querrey vs. (7) Marin Cilic

Cilic and Querrey will be going head-to-head for the fifth time in their careers on Friday. All four of their previous encounters have gone Cilic’s way, but all three of their grass-court contests–including two at the All-England Club–have gone the distance. The Croat prevailed 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-4 in 2009 and 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-7(13), 17-15 in 2012 to go along with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory in the 2012 Queen’s Club semis.

 

As those two Wimbledon results suggest, Querrey is no stranger to five-setters in SW19. In fact, he survived three in a row–the seventh, eighth, and ninth five-setters of his Wimbledon career–to book his spot alongside Cilic in the final four. The 28th-ranked American followed up more routine wins over Thomas Fabbiano and Nikoloz Basilashvili by outlasting Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kevin Anderson, and Andy Murray. Querrey trailed Murray by two sets to one on Wednesday but took advantage of a hobbled world No. 1 to eventually triumph 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1.

 

Although this matchup is a surprising one, it has not exactly come out of nowhere. Wimbledon, after all, is high on the list of favorite tournaments for both players. Querrey also reached the quarterfinals last year and Cilic has advanced to at least the quarterfinals four years in a row. The sixth-ranked Croat finally got over that hump and punched a ticket to the semis by holding off Gilles Muller 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 on Wednesday. He had previously not dropped a single set in defeats of Philipp Kohlschreiber, Florian Mayer, Steve Johnson, and Roberto Bautista Agut.

 

This matchup between two players with similar styles is not a great one for Querrey, who may only have an edge in the serving department. But Cilic has been serving incredibly well this fortnight, with 70 aces to only seven double-faults in his first four matches and 32 more aces against Muller. The No. 7 seed has more firepower off the ground–especially off the backhand side–and does a superior job of finishing points around the net.

 

Additionally, Cilic has more experience at this stage of majors and even won the U.S. Open 2014. Querrey’s run has been an amazing one, but this is likely where it ends.

Pick: CIlic in 4

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

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