Roger Federer vs Tomas Berdych Wimbledon preview: Federer seeks eleventh Wimbledon final
Roger Federer looks to get into his eleventh Wimbledon final when he takes on Tomas Berdych on Friday.
Roger Federer vs Tomas Berdych The Championships tennis is live from Wimbledon on Friday, 14 July from 3:00pm local time/ 3:00pm BST Watch and bet on tennis live at bet365 > live streaming > tennis
There has been an air of inevitability swirling around Federer’s charge towards an eighth Wimbledon title, an air further thickened by the shock exits of his main rivals. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic limped out of the All England Club on Wednesday, two days after Rafael Nadal was sent packing by Gilles Muller. With a semi-final against Berdych and a possible final against Marin Cilic or Sam Querrey to come, Federer has become the overwhelming favourite for the title.
Federer is searching for a staggering nineteenth Grand Slam crown, while the other three players in the draw have a combined two Grand Slam finals (and one Grand Slam title) between them. It does look like the stars have aligned for the Swiss at Wimbledon 2017. However, he knows more than most that there is still work to be done. "Being the favourite or not the the favourite doesn't matter,” he said. “These other guys [Berdych, Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey] are all big hitters. They will have their word to say on the outcome of the matches. They've got big serves, big forehands, big hitters really. All three guys are taller and stronger than I am. I have to figure out a different way, carve my way through somehow with my slice and my spins, my consistency maybe."
Still, it will take a monumental effort from Berdych to halt Federer’s seemingly inexorable charge towards Wimbledon glory- and what a remarkable achievement that would be.
Without a Grand Slam title since 2012, and missing the entire second half of last season with a knee injury, the 35-year-old Federer was supposed to be done with winning majors. The great man has obviously not read the scripts, as he heads into the Wimbledon semi-finals on a 12-match winning streak in Grand Slams, having won the Australian Open earlier in the year, and cruised through the Wimbledon draw so far.
Federer is also in a 10-match winning streak on grass. His grass court season got off to a stuttering start, losing to Tommy Haas in the opening round in Stuttgart, but he responded with a ninth Halle title, sending an early message of intent with a dominant win over Alexander Zverev in the final.
Federer has progressed through the Wimbledon draw without dropping a set, benefitting from the retirement of Alexandr Dolgopolov in the opening round (not that he needed it) and taking out Dusan Lajovic and Mischa Zverev to move into the second seek. The opposition expectedly got better in the second week, but so did Federer, who dismantled Grigor Dimitrov on Manic Monday, before taking apart Milos Raonic in a majestic quarter-final performance.
Charged with the unenviable task of stopping the Swiss in the semi-finals in Tomas Berdych.
Unlike previous seasons, when Berdych was seen as a genuine dark horse for Grand Slam titles, he has been perceived as a bit of a fading force this year, but this could be the sort of run to spark a resurgence for the powerful Czech. It has generally been a disappointing season, where he has struggled to make any significant impact in the big tournaments- prior to Wimbledon.
Tomas Berdych. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)6x5x4x3xBerdych reached the final of the ATP 250 meet in Lyon, while he also made a couple of semi-finals in Doha and Rotterdam, but he barely had an impact at Grand Slam and Masters 1000 levels, with his best result being a quarter final in Miami.
He hadn't reached the second week in either of the first two majors of the year, thrashed by Federer in the third round of the Australian Open, and beaten in straight sets by Karen Khachanov in the second round at Roland Garros. Berdych’s indifferent season has inevitably pulled down his ranking. He has been outside the top ten since the end of January, after dining with the game’s elite for the best part of half a dozen years.
There wasn’t much in his grass court form to suggest a deep run at Wimbledon- he lost to Feliciano Lopez in back-to-back quarter finals in Stuttgart and Queen’s- but here he is, in the Wimbledon semi-finals for the second straight year. It hasn’t been his most convincing tournament, but he has dug out the victories, and now stands just two wins away from a maiden Grand Slam title. Berdych needed four sets to get past Jeremy Chardy and Ryan Harrison in the opening couple of rounds, before seeing off David Ferrer in straight sets in the third round.
He showed good resolve to come through a tough five-setter against Dominic Thiem in the Round of 16, before enjoying the good fortune of a Novak Djokovic retirement in the quarter finals. It’s tough to know how the Czech would have fared had Djokovic been fit, but that is no fault of Berdych.
This will be the 25th meeting between Federer and Berdych, with the Swiss enjoying an 18-6 advantage. Federer has beaten Berdych in their last seven meetings-two of which have occurred this year. He outclassed the shell-shocked Czech at the Australian Open, but was pushed very hard in their Miami quarter final- a match Berdych should arguably have won. That performance will give the Czech hope heading into Friday’s meeting- so will the fact that he has already beaten Federer in two Grand Slams, one of which was at Wimbledon in 2010.
That said, the Czech goes in as a massive underdog in this one, but like Federer warned, Berdych has got a big game and if he comes out firing especially on the serve, there always a chance on this surface.
“I experienced him in Australia. Berdych said. I thought that the match we played there, I’ve probably never seen him playing better tennis, that's true,” Berdych said. “Then I played him in Miami. I almost beat him, had a match point. That was a very close match.
“So now for the third one, hopefully the lucky [one] for me.”
It is very difficult to call any other result apart from a Federer win. Berdych must serve very well, and stay very aggressive to give himself a chance, but even then, Federer has been the master of serving well and staying aggressive all tournament, all year. He does it better than everyone else.
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