Roger Federer (-466) vs Marin Cilic (+450)
Roger Federer is through to his 11th Wimbledon final after defeating no. 11 Tomáš Berdych in the semifinal. He’ll meet no. 6 Marin Čilić in the final on Sunday, July 16th.
Federer advanced to the final without dropping a single set, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 18-time Grand Slam winner. While he made easy work of early-round opponents and proved too much for Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals, his match against Berdych had a few shaky moments.
Berdych had a few chances to put break Federer, but he couldn’t seize the opportunities, even when it seemed the Swissman was waning. Federer pulled through in the end, winning in straight sets, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4.
Cilic had a much harder time reaching the final. He defeated American hopeful Sam Querrey in the semis (6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5), after Querrey shocked world no. 1 Andy Murray in the quarters. Before that, Cilic endured a lengthy five-setter against an exhausted Gilles Müller in his own quarterfinal match.
The head-to-head record between Federer and Cilic favors Federer, who is 6-1 all-time against the Croatian. Despite the lopsided record, Cilic can build some confidence from their head-to-head history. When the pair met in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon last year, Cilic claimed the first two sets and almost pinched the fourth.
His sole win over Federer was at the 2014 US Open quarterfinal when Cilic trounced the maestro 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 en route to his first and only Grand Slam title.
Looking at their respective styles of play, it’s not surprising Federer has gotten the better of Cilic in the majority of their matches. Cilic has a ton of power on his serve and groundstrokes, and his style of play can wear down and overwhelm lesser opponents. But at 6’6’’, he’s not as nimble as he’d like to be and his movement suffers because of it. That’s a weakness Federer is well-equipped to exploit.
Federer is the oldest male player to reach a Wimbledon final since the 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974. If he’s victorious on Sunday, he’ll become the oldest player to win the prestigious Grand Slam ever.
Federer is undergoing a renaissance at the tail-end of his career, looking the best he has in years. If he keeps up his current level, he has a great shot to earn an eighth Wimbledon title. However, at +450, it’s hard to pass on Cilic. Despite a poor head-to-head record, he’s proved difficult for Federer to beat and has provided plenty of nervous moments for the former no. 1. He has at least a 20-percent chance to win on Sunday, and that’s enough to justify a bet at +450 (which translates to an 18.2% implied probability).
Pick: Marin Cilic (+450)
Photo credit: Justin Smith (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]
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