By Amanda Barlow
- Roger Federer  v Milos Raonic  – H2H: Federer 9-2
- Andy Murray  v Tomas Berdych  – H2H: Murray 8-6
WIMBLEDON, UK – The scene is set for a gladiatorial battle for a spot in the Wimbledon Men’s final, with Roger Federer & Andy Murray leading the charge
BUY Tickets for Wimbledon
Roger Federer  v Milos Raonic  – H2H: Federer 9-2
Having played supremely well all fortnight, not dropping a set, Federer knew he would be under the pump as he faced Marin Cilic once more in a Slam.
In their last meeting, the Croatian quite simply wiped him off the court at the 2014 US Open, on his way to winning so far his only Slam. For a while it looked as though he would do it again, as Cilic pled pressure on the 17-time Grand Slam champion taking the first set in a tie-break before picking off the second set.
Federer fans were all but resigning themselves to their fate but a looser game from the Croatian opened the door to let Federer come back in for a set.
Vacillating in the fourth set tie-break between set points for Federer and a match point for Cilic, Federer finally came good on his fifth set point to take it into a decider.
The pair were in lock-step until late into the decider with Federer grabbing a decisive break to serve out for the match, taking it on his one and only match point, throwing his arms aloft – 6-7(4) 4-6 6-3 7-6(9) 6-3.
On Court One, Raonic sets up a second crack at Federer as he ended Sam Querrey’s dream run at Wimbledon, 6-4 7-5 5-7 7-4. The American put put the World No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic, and at least backed up his win against Nicolas Mahut before stumbling against the much improved Canadian.
Talking to BBC Sport, Raonic said: “I have to go out there and give it all I’ve got and I hope for a better result than last time.”
When asked how the addition of three-time Wimbledon and seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe had helped him, he added:
“He’s added a little bit of a demeanour change on the court, told me to be more positive and get more out of myself so I don’t disappear for too long during the match.
“I volleyed great and he’s definitely helped me with that.”
On reaching his first Slam semi-final, Raonic was handled easily by Federer but much has changed for the Canadian. He has been frustrated at times as his body has failed to keep pace with the demands he puts on it – the semi-final against Murray in Australia being a case in point.
But before that he came out on top of his rematch of the Brisbane final this year against Federer, and goes into this match knowing he has the win over him this year, and that he had the World No. 2 on the ropes.
Much like the battle with Cilic, it will come down to Federer’s ability to return and hang in the games with the big server.
This was the first five-setter in a while for Federer so coming into this tournament with a back injury, and injuries in general this year perhaps lacking a little match sharpness – he should take confidence in having played himself into some good form.
Raonic may well still rely on his serve, but his attacking game has been very impressive throughout this tournament. Expect him to try and take time away from Federer and stop him from trying to get into a rhythm to dictate the points.
Prediction: Raonic in five sets.
Andy Murray  v Tomas Berdych  – H2H: Murray 8-6
Berdych strolled into the semi-finals over Frenchman Lucas Pouille in straight sets 7-6(4) 6-3 6-2 and has his eyes firmly set on a second Wimbledon final.
After parting ways with coach Dani Vallverdu earlier in the year, he has been playing a little more freely and instinctively, although he had his sternest test against compatriot Jiri Vesely, beating him in a fifth set carried over for bad light.
Last into the line-up was Murray who dropped his first set of the tournament against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The first set was a veritable dish of delicious tennis from the pair, with Tsonga breaking the brit back after he took an early advantage.
In fact the Frenchman had the lead in the tie-break, fielding three set points before Murray whittled them all away to close out a one set lead.
It looked like it would be plain sailing from there as Murray ripped through the second set for the loss of just one game, but Tsonga capitalied on a brief lapse to race ahead in the third set to a 4-1 lead, keeping hold of the break to stay in contention.
The Frenchman wasn’t making things easy for the Brit, breaking back straight away after Murray went up 4-2 in the fourth set before breaking again to serve to level the match.
Going into a decider with the momentum against him Murray had to do something special as he blasted past the Frenchman with two breaks of serve, before closing the match out to love,
Murray has always raised his level in Slam matches of late against the Czech, who somewhat belatedly realised that the Brit ups his aggressive game considerably against him.
With his big serving, we can expect him to try and shorten the points to keep his advantage, but Murray has played some superlative tennis so far, and in his interview with BBC Sport straight after the match he praised Tsonga, and also acknowledged that Berdych is a tough player who knows how to play to make it to a Wimbledon final.
However, Berdych has made just one final in his career – Murray has made 10 and won two. Berdych may be one of the cleanest hitters on the tour, but he can also be wrong footed, despite being quite nimble for such a big unit.
This could be another tight one. Berdych has had a few struggles this week, including his marathon five setter against Vesely. Murray may well be able to take advantage of slightly more tired legs.
Prediction: Murray in four sets
SHOP at the Wimbledon Online Store
|Follow Britwatch - Sport in General, Brits in Particular!|
|Subscribe to Britwatch Sports|
|We may receive compensation for products purchased via affiliate links on this website|