Wimbledon 2017: Day 11 Men’s Semifinals Preview

published: Jul, 14, 2017

by: Ben Stevens

The dream is dead. Long live the dream.

Try as they might, 2017 will not be the year a local woman wins Wimbledon, nor will it see a quintessential underdog pull off the ultimate triumph, and yet while Thursday was a bad day for dreamers, for those looking at tennis’ past, present, and future, it was very encouraging indeed.

In the 37-year-old Venus Williams and 23-year-old Garbine Muguruza, Saturday’s final will possess two legitimate stars of the game, and while they’re at completely opposite ends of their careers they could not be more evenly matched. Certainly, it’s a hell of a match in prospect.

Of course before those two can square off, we must decide who’ll take part in Sunday’s men’s final – something that offers plenty of intrigue. Everything we know about this foursome suggests the final is predestined, yet everything we’ve seen so far this tournament has reminded us not to count our chickens before they’ve hatched. Read on for a look at the men’s semifinals on day 11 at the championships.

Marin Cilic (CRO) [6] vs Sam Querrey (USA) – 1st on Centre Court

If this was a boxing match, it would be billed as “go big or go home”, because for these two there really isn’t any other option. The aces and winners are sure to flow in equal measure, the only question being how the unforced errors stack up in comparison, but this will definitely be textbook power tennis. Obviously, Cilic comes in a strong favourite with a major title already and his 4-0 head-to-head lead, but the specifics of those matches suggest we could be in for a long one. The two have played three times on grass – twice at Wimbledon and once at Queen’s – and have gone the distance every time, including a 17-15 decider here in 2012. Yes, the Cilic of 2017 is an improvement on the 2012 version, but even in his more recent match against Qurrey in Washington 2015, he had immense difficulty with the American’s serve, and that could play out again here. If Querrey has the easier time on his service games, he could use that freedom to attack Cilic when returning and stop the Croat from controlling from the baseline, which is something Gilles Muller did to decent effect in the quarterfinals. There’s definitely room for an upset here, or at the very least, an extremely trying day at the office.

Roger Federer (SUI) [3] vs Tomas Berdych (CZE) [11] – 2nd on Centre Court

It’s the 2010 Wimbledon Quarterfinal rematch we all predicted and-… wait, no one saw this coming, but well, here we are. To say Berdych is an underdog going into this match is a bigger understatement than saying Boris Becker needs to readjust his finances – having taken their last seven matches, Federer holds an 18-6 lead in their head-to-head, and he’s already handled the Czech at a major this year, having taken their Australian Open third-rounder in three comfortable sets. Still, this is no sure thing. Berdych can take confidence from his near-miss in the Miami quarterfinals in April, having held two match points in the second set before succumbing in three, and is particularly comfortable on grass, where his booming serve and sharp, penetrating groundstrokes can wrest time and position away from even a player of Federer’s calibre. Of course, there’s no denying how brilliant Federer looked in his quarterfinal victory over Milos Raonic, but we’ve learned already this tournament to expect the unexpected – it’s only fair to give Berdych a puncher’s chance.

Ben Stevens

Contributor to TennisConnected. Long time player, coach and fan. Still waiting on Mark Philippoussis to break through at a major.

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