By Michael Stafford-Jones
- Pick of the Quarter-Finals
- Roger Federer v Marin Cilic
- Andy Murray v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
WIMBLEDON, UK – Roger Federer faces Marin Cilic in a titanic quarter-final clash, while Britain’s Andy Murray takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the other half of the draw.
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Roger Federer (3) vs Marin Cilic (9) – H2H: 5-1 Federer
We’ve seen it all before from Federer. While others fight their way through difficult matches and tire themselves out, the seven-time Wimbledon champion glides serenely through the rounds. So far this year, he’s won four matches in straight sets in just six hours and 33 minutes and his form is improving all the time.
The Swiss can expect a much tougher assignment when he faces Cilic in the quarter-final. The Croatian has only beaten Federer once before, but what a win it was. He destroyed arguably the greatest tennis player of all time in straight sets at the 2014 US Open and went on to win the title. This will be their first meeting since that fateful encounter and Federer will want some revenge.
Like Federer, Cilic is in great form. He is into the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the third year running and has only dropped one set during his four wins so far. Both players are performing well and it could be a very close match.
Cilic must serve well and be aggressive if he wants to win – just like he was at Flushing Meadows in 2014. Federer should try and disrupt the Croatian’s serving rhythm any way he can, as he is much easier to beat when he’s not serving well. This one could go all the way to five sets and be won by the player who has expended the least energy to get to that point.
Prediction: Cilic in five sets
Andy Murray (2) vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12) – H2H: 12-3 Murray
Murray produced a virtuoso display to beat Nick Kyrgios 7-5 6-1 6-4 in round four, and will be brimming with confidence going into his quarter-final against Tsonga. His 12-3 head-to-head record against the Frenchman is another reason to be cheerful, particularly as it includes four wins on grass – including at Wimbledon in 2010 and 2012.
Both of their previous SW19 encounters went to four sets, and there is every chance the same thing could happen again. Granted, Murray is playing exceptionally well and could win in straight sets, but Tsonga has a superb range of shots in his arsenal too and is capable of troubling anyone on his day.
The Frenchman’s best method of winning sets may be to take Murray to tie-breaks. When they played in the 2010 quarter-final, Tsonga won the first set on a tie-break and had the chance to do the same in the second set. Had he won that set, the outcome of that match may well have been different. Whatever Tsonga does in the match, he must go toe-to-toe with Murray throughout. He can’t go missing like Kyrgios did in the second set against the Brit. And there is nothing in the Frenchman’s career so far to suggest he will.
Tsonga will also have to back up any breaks he earns in the match to stand a chance of winning. If he allows Murray to hit straight back, he will quickly run into trouble. Expect Murray to win the match, but count on Tsonga to make it difficult for him.
Prediction: Murray in four sets
The men’s quarter-finals will be played on Wednesday.
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