Murray v Federer, it’s the Wimbledon final everybody wishes to see right? Sadly, it may not pan out like that though, as we assess the second Friday’s action on Centre Court.
A refocused Milos Raonic, under the guidance of Wimbledon great John McEnroe, looks pumped right up for his own date with destiny, while Andy Murray’s adoring fans can probably expect a few more heart palpitations on Friday afternoon as well.
Here are five things to keep the peepers peeled for when the last four men standing battle it out at SW19 for a place in Sunday’s final, especially if you are thinking of having a little wager…
Federer losing his match
Tennis’ supreme ambassador is once again threatening the trophy he has won an incredible seven times. Yet the man with the most majestic backhand the game has seen looks vulnerable to an exit.
As alluded to above, Raonic, whom Federer overcame in straight sets at this stage two years ago, is looking a much more ominous proposition in 2016. Armed with a new, ultra aggressive grass-court gameplan courtesy of McEnroe, the Canadian can build on the pair’s last meeting which was a straight sets victory in Brisbane at the start of the year.
Big server Marin Cilic threw away a two-set lead against the 34-year-old in the quarters, but the man with the fastest serve at the championships in Raonic, may not let the Swiss off the hook.
Raonic is the 11/8 underdog and 13/2 to win in straight sets.
Berdych winning the first set
Writing off Murray’s opponent is a risky ploy. The Scot might have won all of the last four matches against the Czech, but the pair have never tussled on grass and the 2010 Wimbledon finalist is also playing some of his best tennis. Berdych breezed through his quarter-final in straight sets, with his forehand doing most damage against Lucas Pouille.
In their two previous Grand Slam meetings – in the semis of the Australian last year and the 2012 US Open semi-finals – Muzza has lost tight opening sets on tie-breaks before coming back to win in four and as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga demonstrated in the quarters when taking him to five sets, Britain’s finest is not infallible.
Berdych is 3/1 to win the first set, 13/2 says it will be 7-6 and 5/1 says Murray will come from a set down to win the match.
Although Berdych is tipped to make life difficult for the home favourite, Murray is still the man everyone expects to see in the Sunday showpiece. If he does indeed deliver, then the 2013 SW19 champion will break Fred Perry’s 1936 record of making 10 Grand Slam finals with an 11th appearance.
Funnily enough, the five-time Wimbledon champ missed his charge’s quarter-final victory over Sam Querrey thanks to his BBC punditry commitments.
Luckily for Raonic’s chances, he was calling Federer’s match with Cilic, no doubt with a pen and notebook to hand. Expected back in the commentary box, impartially of course, the American can have a big influence on proceedings, though Hawkeye and the confines of the studio should prevent any rows with the umpire.
Many are attributing Murray’s 10-match grass winning streak to the renewal of his partnership with Lendl.
The Czech legend’s input cannot be underestimated, but what makes his presence an even bigger focus for this semi-final is the fact he recently turned compatriot Berdych’s request for his services. According to Murray’s opponent, Lendl said he wasn’t interested in a return to tennis….fobbed off Tomas?!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.