If one thing can be said about the 2017 Wimbledon gentlemen’s semifinals, it is that they are quite… unexpected.
Among the last four men standing, only one of the “Big Four” remains: Roger Federer. The Swiss is currently playing the best tennis he’s had in years, and having skipped the clay season shows in the great form he is displaying on his favoured surface.
Rafael Nadal has lost a marathon to Gilles Müller in the round of 16. World number one and defending champion, Andy Murray, hobbled, toughed out in a five-set loss to Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals. Novak Djokovic, for his part, could not finish his match and retired down a set and a break to Tomas Berdych in the last eight. Both Murray and Djokovic are near-certain withdrawals from Montreal, and both may well take extended breaks from the game in order to recover from their respective injuries.
Cilic vs Querrey: the first semifinal
Starting at 13:00 local time (8:00 EDT), Marin Cilic will face Sam Querrey. For the Croatian, it is the first Grand Slam semifinal appearance since the U.S. Open 2015, where he lost to Novak Djokovic. Querrey, for his part, will play the first major semi of his career, at his 42nd try.
It will be the fifth meeting between the two players, and the third at Wimbledon. If Cilic leads the head-to-head 4-0, all of their previous encounters have been tight affairs. For instance, their last Wimbledon face-off, in 2012, ended 17-15 in the decider. However, they have not played each other since Washington, in 2015.
Due to his great performance since the start of the grass season, and having dropped only two sets since the beginning of the Championships, the seventh seed starts as a slight favourite. But we cannot count the man from the U.S. out, despite having gone the distance in his last three matches (and playing four sets in the second round). He remains a dangerous foe, especially on the grass.
Federer vs Berdych: the second Wimbledon semifinal
The second semifinal will be the 25th meeting between Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych. If the third seed leads the head-to-head 18-6 and has won their last seven encounters, including the two they have had this season (including one in the third – !!! – round of the Australian Open), the Czech has won their last Wimbledon meeting, back in 2010 (when he reached the final). The Swiss won the other, 11 years ago.
Federer has been utterly dominating this Wimbledon, not dropping a set en route to the last four. Berdych, for his part, had a little tougher road, his only straight-set victory apart from Djokovic’s quarter-finals retirement being in the third round, against David Ferrer.
Regardless of the head-to-head, there is still far from an 11th Wimbledon final for the man from Basel, as Berdych remains a very tough opponent.
(Original photos: Getty Images; Montages: BATennis World)