Are Andy Murray And Roger Federer Set For A Wimbledon Showdown?
For punters lucky enough to have tickets for Centre Court two days ago on men's quarter final day they were treated to 10 brilliant sets of tennis as first Roger Federer and Marin Cilic played out five sets before home favourite Andy Murray and Jo Wilfried Tsonga copied the trick but are the two victors set for a centre court reunion on Sunday?
On Wednesday Federer looked in trouble against Cilic as the 2014 US Open champion was two sets up on the greatest of all time and had match points to put Federer out at the quarter final stage. Instead the Swiss star saved three match points and eventually took the match 6-7 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-3, coming back from two sets down to win for the ninth time in his career.
When the match was over an exhausted crowd took a well deserved break and with centre court partially empty Andy Murray and Jo Wilfried Tsonga made their entrances. There looked to be enough time for Murray to win and catch the beginning of the Wales vs Portugal semi-final.
After a hard fought first set, in which Murray saved three set points, the Brit found himself 1-0 up after a 12-10 tie-break, the second seed was soon 2-0 up following an easy 25 minute 6-1 set. But Tsonga wouldn't go away with the Frenchman winning the next two 3-6 4-6 before Murray, with Wales already having kicked off, coming back to win the decider 6-1.
But will the highest ranked pair meet in the final on Sunday? It's certainly possible but it won't be that easy, especially for Federer.
Federer takes on Canadian Raonic in the first of the two semi-finals and the sixth seed is looking more and more dangerous under the tutelage of John McEnroe. In the build up to Wimbledon he made it to the final of Queen's where it wasn't until part way through the second set of the final, when a break up against Murray, that his serve was broken.
Of course it hasn't been such plain sailing for Raonic at the All England Club and he's dropped a few sets on the way to his second semi-final there as he attempts to make his first Grand Slam final. But he's shown brilliant resolve as well as an improvement in his all round game whilst he's been with McEnroe.
Fed of course is the king of Centre Court and with his expected semifinal opponent, Djokovic, long since gone home this maybe the 17 times Grand Slam winner's best chance of making that 18 and capturing a record of eight Wimbledon wins all to himself.
Raonic is 9-2 down in the head to head between the two players but did win their most recent meeting in Brisbane on a hard court earlier this year in the final. However the only other time they've met on grass was in a semi-final at Wimbledon in 2014 where the Fed Express won.
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The big questions remain though, can he recover after his gruelling and emotional five set quarter and will he be able to hold back the tide from the big hitter on the other side of the court. It might fly in the face of popular consent and the odds but I can really see Raonic making his first Grand Slam final. (Expect a Federer straight sets win if my prediction history is anything to go by.)
Later today Murray will face 10th seed Tomas Berdych. Many think the Scot is in better form than when he won the title in 2013 and despite dropping two sets from a position of dominance in his epic match with Tsonga there's no doubt his mental strength is at its peak when Ivan Lendl is in his corner.
The man who coached him to his two Slams, as well as Olympic Gold, is a rock and whilst Murray will always take an upward glance at his box he is far less likely to erupt with the eight time Grand Slam winner. It's no surprise that Murray is unbeaten since teaming back with Lendl before Queen's although that's not to degrade the work he did with Amelie Mauresmo and Jamie Delgado to get him to the final of the French Open for the first time.
Murray's record against Berdych is favourable with him leading 8-6 but more significant is the fact that he's won the last four meetings between the pair including at the 2015 Australian Open semi-final when the world number two's then fiancee, Kim Sears, was spotted swearing about Berdych's then coach Daniel Vallverdu who had previously been in the Murray camp.
What could also count against the Czech is the fact that he's played everyday since Sunday apart from yesterday whilst Murray missed Sunday and Tuesday out and has played far fewer sets to get to this point.
There currently looks little that could beat Murray right now and, despite making all the right noises surrounding the shock of Djokovic going out before the second week, there's no doubt that seeing the world number one and his main threat go out so early must have given him a boost.
The man who ended Britain's more than 70 year wait for a Wimbledon winner is all but nailed on for a third Grand Slam final of the year and a third second Sunday appearance at the Centre Court at Wimbledon.
Who do you think will make Sunday's final?
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