Wimbledon: Men’s Finals
The women’s side of the draw is down to four with the Williams sisters being joined by Angelique Kerber and Elena Vesnina. Tonight the men with take centre stage with four blockbuster matches. Federer takes on Cilic with the winner to take on either Querrey or Raonic. In the bottom half of the draw Frenchman Lucas Pouille looks to continue his run when he takes on Tomas Berdych while Andy Murray will start a firm favourite against Tsonga who he has defeated in 11 of their last 12 meetings.
Roger Federer v Marin Cilic
The last time these two met Cilic blew Federer off the court in the semi’s of the 2014 US Open en route to his maiden Grand Slam title. Federer held a dominant 5-0 H2H record leading into that match but the Croat produced the best serving performance of his career. Two years on and they meet again – this time at Wimbledon, a court that the Swiss master has made his own. Both men come into this one in red hot form. Federer is yet to drop a set at the tournament and has gotten better with every match. He is making 2 out of 3 first serves, winning well over 80% of first serve points and 75% of net points. When Federer is putting up those sort of numbers he cannot be beat on grass.
The key in this match is the Cilic first serve and there is every indication that he will be on song. In just 12 sets of tennis at The Championships he has thundered down 76 aces and has won an incredible 90% of points when making his first serve. Over the last year they have been two of the best on tour in terms of percentage of first serve points won. Federer ranks 3rd with 80.5% while Cilic is 7th with 79%. The depth of the Federer backhand slice returns will be crucial in this one. In their match at the US Open his returns were landing on the service line and Cilic would take complete control of the rally with his first shot. The Croat has been playing the exact same way at Wimbledon and with former champion Goran Ivanisevic in his corner there is no doubt he will have the knowledge of what it takes to win.
The biggest obstacle though is the man on the other side of the court. Not only does Federer know what it takes to win, he has what it takes to win here and has done it before on 7 occasions. The pair will trade breakers before Federer takes control and wins in 4 sets. This is Federer’s last chance to win an 8th Wimbledon crown and he will give it a big shake.
Tip: Over 40.5 games ($1.83)
Sam Querrey v Milos Raonic
After knocking out Novak Djokovic, American Sam Querrey found himself in a classic let down spot when he took on Nicolas Mahut. He defied all logic though and put in a flawless performance to win in straight sets. His serve did the damage yet again. On the back of 23 aces and 96% of points won on his first serve Mahut never stood a chance. He will find himself in another serving duel and the match against Raonic has 5 set epic written all over it.
The pair are averaging almost 25 aces per match thus far and they dominate all service categories across the board. Querrey hasn’t had it easy at this year’s Championships. He battled past Rosol 12-10 in the fifth in his opening match and played the match of his life to knock out Novak. The match against Mahut could not have gone any better and combined with the day off will have him in good stead.
Raonic on the other hand started on fire with straight set wins over Carreno Busta, Seppi and Sock but looked all but done when he dropped to first two sets to Goffin. For the first time in his career he came back from two sets to love down and there has to be question marks over how he will bounce back. There are no secrets heading into this one. Both men will rely heavily on their serve and the first ground stroke that follows. Raonic is the more accomplished player at the net but Querrey has an advantage from the backhand win, in passing shot ability and movement.
Querrey leads the H2H 2-1 which includes a four set victory here in back in 2012. Three of the four sets on that occasion were tiebreakers and The Wolf expects this one to be played out in a very similar fashion. Big servers have good tiebreak records but by no means are they great – that is a false perception. Raonic is 24-14 in breakers over the last 12 months (10th on tour) while Querrey is 19-16 (25th). We will not be seeing a straight sets victory. The Wolf will be shocked if there are not at least two breakers in this one and with neither player likely to win a set by more than a single break the Over in this one is a 5 chipper!!!
Tip: Over 43.5 games ($1.80)
Tomas Berdych v Lucas Pouille
If there is one man that has taken his chances at Wimbledon this year it is Lucas Pouille. At just 22 years of age the Frenchman is looming as a legitimate top 10 player of the future. He won the battle of the up and comers against Tomic and while the Aussie starts (Kyrgios and Tomic) have taken the limelight it is Pouille who is compiling consistent results across all surfaces. Berdych may be a former finalist here (2010) but The Wolf says he will have to be at his very best if he is to progress to the semi’s.
Berdych had to return yesterday for a 5th set shootout against Vesely while Pouille was at home recovering from his 5 set win the day before. Even more concerning for The Wolf has been the form of Berdych on serve. The Czech has dropped serve 10 times already and has served just 46 aces. His second serve has also been under huge pressure. He is winning a tick over 50% of points behind his second serve and it is a huge reason why he has already served 14 double faults.
The Wolf expects Pouille to take full advantage. He has been playing with no fear and his aggressive style of tennis has been rewarded. The Wolf tipped the Overs with success in his last two wins over Tomic and Del Potro and says he is way over the odds in this one. People will be shocked to hear that Pouille leads the ATP Tour in tiebreak win percentage over the last 52 weeks. He is 17-3 (85%) with the next best at 79%. It is a remarkable statistic and a clear reflection of his ability to play his best tennis when under pressure. He will serve well, attack the net and play his best tennis when it counts the most. Don’t get caught up in the names on paper and back Pouille to march on to the semi’s.
Tip: Pouille +5.5 ($1.80)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Andy Murray
Tsonga was handed a lifeline when compatriot Gasquet retired with a back problem in their 4th round clash handing him a free pass into the quarters. It was a match that The Wolf has Gasquet winning, especially with Tsonga having to back up from his epic 19-17 fifth set win over Isner. He should be well rested to take on Murray and we will need to be as the Brit has dominated their clashes in the past.
Murray holds a 12-3 edge over the Frenchman and he has also won their last 4 meetings on grass. The pair have met on two prior occasions here with Murray winning both encounters in 4 sets. Their matches have had a very similar pattern. Tsonga puts up plenty of resistance early and on several occasions has been able to grab the first set via a breaker. Murray then gets into the grind taking the second before running away with it from that point on.
We saw Murray put on a clinic against Kyrgios with a flawless display of grass court tennis. Had it not been for Novak’s remarkable run Murray could have two slams to his name this season. He won Queen’s leading into Wimbledon and has compiled a very impressive 35-6 record this season with 3 of those losses coming against Novak.
Tsonga has been in much better form in the past and has been unable to generate any sort of offence from his backhand. Murray will no doubt target the Tsonga backhand as he has in the past. It also provides a huge safety net for the weakest part in Murray’s game – his second serve. Murray will simply roll his second serve into the Tsonga backhand and if Tsonga tries to run around and hit a forehand Murray will then go down the line into the open court. This is a bad matchup for Tsonga and he is not playing anywhere near the level necessary to take down Murray.
Tip: Murray -6.5 ($1.83)
Day 9 Tips
|Federer v Cilic||Best: Over 40.5 games ($1.83)
Value: Sets Federer 3-1 ($3.60)
|Querrey v Raonic||Best: Over 43.5 games ($1.80)
Value: Querrey WIN ($3.40)
|Berdych v Pouille||Best: Pouille +5.5 ($1.80)
Value: Pouille WIN ($4.00)
|Tsonga v Murray||Best: Murray -6.5 ($1.83)
Value: 2nd Set Score after 2 games Murray 2-0 ($4.80)
Tuesday ROI: 78.88%
Feature Previews: 14-8
Overall ROI: 104.84%