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Can't Miss Slants

TENNIS

The Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Tennis semi-finals are tomorrow. In a surprise, of the “big four” men who have dominated this tournament, winning all titles since 2003, only the elder statesmen Roger Federer remains.  Rafa Nadal was ousted in the fourth round in a terrific, five hour marathon match against journeyman Gilles Muller, defending champion Andy Murray fell to Sam Querrey (while visibly bothered by a hip injury), and Novak Djokovic retired with an elbow injury.

Federer is now the heavy favorite, though the title is not a given.  He first must take on Tomos Berdych, over whom Federer owns an 18-6 lifetime advantage.  However, Berdych is larger and stronger than Federer, a true a heavy hitter, as are all three of the other remaining players.  Grass suits that sort of game, and Berdych ousted Federer the last time they met on this surface.

Nevertheless, that was then and this is now.  Federer has had a fantastic season winning four titles and losing just two matches.  He is coming off a relatively easy win over another large, big hitting opponent (Milos Roanic), and Federer was able to absorb his big serve and forehand, reshape points, and find precision winners.  It was a smothering performance for the legend.

 

The other semifinal is between Querrey, the first American with a chance to win the tournament in 14 years, and Marin Cilic.  Here, Cilic is the heavy favorite.  He is a one-time Grand Slam champion (the 2014 US Open) with 17 career titles and a high ranking of 6.  He’s not Federer, but its a nice resume.  Querrey, though he is 29, had never advanced past the fourth round of a grand slam before, and has only 9 career titles.  He’s had some big moments because, like his counterpart, when on his game he can blow most players off the court, but has never been consistent enough to have real success on tour.

Cilic has won all four of their matches, and has been playing brutally efficient tennis at Wimbledon.  Expect him to end Querrey’s run and move on to face Federer in what should be a very high quality finals.  Those men have been the best two players of the tournament, and seem headed to a fitting end.  One that Federer, in a continuation of his dream late-career season, should be able to win, but will certainly be vulnerable in.

I know you will all be watching. Can’t wait to discuss the action!