Preview of Men’s Final at Wimbledon 2017
M. Cilic vs. R. Federer
This will be the 8th meeting between these two with Federer holding a 6 - 1 edge. Cilic’s only win over Federer was in
the 2014 US Open semifinals where Cilic completely overpowered Federer. That’s the risk that Federer faces playing Cilic. At 6′
6″ tall, Cilic has explosive power, and not just on his serve (130 aces coming into the final). Cilic has a huge forehand (104
forehand winners in 6 matches) and can hit winners from anywhere on the court.
Federer has the best grass court match record in the Open Era and is at home on Centre Court. The grass helps his serve (lost
serve only 4 times in 6 rounds), and allows him to be more aggressive without taking great risks. He excels at hitting low balls and the lower bounce on grass puts more shots in his sweet spot. Federer also excels at net (74% net approaches won and 63 winners at net) and he is always looking for an opportunity to move forward.
The reality in this matchup is that Cilic has more power than Federer and if he can harness that power without making mistakes,
Federer will be under a lot of pressure. Federer is a natural on this surface and it fits his game perfectly. The one area that has troubled Federer in the past when he’s struggled at Wimbledon has been returning 2nd serves and converting break points.
Against a player like Cilic who has such a big first serve (84% won), it will be essential for Federer to take advantage of any 2nd serve he gets a look at and he will need to convert his break chances. Coming into the final, Federer has won just 49% when returning 2nd serves and has converted 39% of his break points. Cilic has won 57% when returning 2nd serves, so first serve could be critical for Federer. Against Cilic, where break points may be rare, it will be key for Federer to make the most of his break