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Wimbledon 2017 : Federer aims for 19th Grand Slam title against Cilic

Roger Federer will face Marin Cilic today for the Wimbledon title after both prevailed in their semifinal matchups on Friday. Federer, the favorite, had to fight off some tiebreaks, but he prevailed over Tomas Berdych, 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 6-4. Cilic, the seventh seed, bested American Sam Querrey in four sets, 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-5.

Cilic and Federer have faced each other seven times in the past with Federer winning six of those contests. Cilic did manage to win one of their more recent matches, in 2014 at the US Open semifinals. But the two did face off last year on the grass courts of Wimbledon.

That matchup went five sets and was narrowly won by Federer, 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-4. Cilic pushed him hard in the quarterfinal matchup, but he’s never played in a Wimbledon final. Federer has, plenty of times, and he’ll be looking for his eighth title at The Championships.

Federer skipped the clay court season, including the French Open, to keep himself fresh for the action on the grass courts. He won the Halle Open, on grass, in fine form and has been fantastic throughout Wimbledon. With Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Rafael Nadal falling, the way was considered wide open for Federer to lift his eighth title at The Championships.

Berdych and Federer fought hard. The first two sets went to a tiebreak, with Federer just edging out his opponent. The first set saw Federer double-fault twice, but he also hit 17 winners to Berdych’s 10. He double-faulted twice again in the second set but had 19 winners while winning 84 percent of his first serves.

Berdych threatened a break in the third set, up 3-2, but Federer fought off a double break point to get things even. He then went on to break Berdych, and Berdych was suddenly serving to stay in the match. He did hold serve, but Federer himself held for the win on the next game.

Querrey, the 24th-seeded American, played a brilliant tournament, one of his best. He bested Kevin Anderson in the fourth round and Murray in the quarterfinals, but he needed five sets in both matches. Against Cilic, who himself played a tough five-setter against Gilles Muller, the guy who eliminated Nadal in another brutal five-setter, Querrey looked drained.

Ultimately, Cilic played a much cleaner game. He hit 25 aces to Querrey’s 13. He won 88 percent of his first serves and 67 percent of his second serves. Querrey converted on two of three break attempts, while Cilic missed many more, but he also had many more. Cilic hit 70 winners to Querrey’s 46.

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Online Editor: Aderonke Bello
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