Wimbledon 2017: Roger Federer vs. Marin Cilic Championship Prediction

Roger Federer vs. Marin Cilic

Roger Federer came about as close to defeat as anyone could without losing when playing Marin Cilic last year at Wimbledon.  This match pits those two combatants against one another with the Wimbledon title on the line.  Here is a breakdown of this match.

Experience

Roger Federer has the experience edge on anyone he plays due to his years on tour and numerous big matches.  Still, Marin Cilic is in his second major final and holds a major title.  Cilic also beat Federer en route to his US Open title in 2014.  Mats Wilander once said that until a player wins a major it is hard to pick them to win a major.  That is not a factor in this match, but Federer does have more experience in general and on grass.

Serve

Cilic has the bigger overall serve.  Federer has great placement and has added power since changing his racquet.  On first serves, I think the difference is negligible as they will both win a lot of free points and set up easy put away shots with their first serve. What will matter is who hits better and fewer second serves.  Without seeing their first serve percentages, it is hard to give an edge here.

Return of Serve

Cilic’s big frame will allow him more return stature when serves are in his desired striking zone.  Federer’s one-handed backhand may allow for him to chip some returns in play from awkward returning positions.  I think Cilic has an edge when returning.

Rallies

Cilic can dictate play and hit a lot of winners from the baseline.  Federer has a forehand that is destructive.  Federer can also win points when scrambling and turn from defense to offense better than most players.  That gives him more versatility in rallies.  This is an edge for Federer, but if Cilic is dictating play it is not a big edge.

Net Play

Cilic is reasonably good at the net, but Federer is better.  This is an edge to Federer.  Some judicious approaches to the net can prevent Cilic from settling into his preferred rallying patterns.

Age

In an inverse to Federer having an experience advantage versus anyone on tour, he is older than almost everyone he plays.  Cilic is 28, 1.98M/6’4″, and hits the ball a ton.  He could bully Federer as he did for nearly 3 sets last year at Wimbledon.  Federer’s knee is better than it was 1 year ago.  Federer has not dropped a set and skipped the clay season. I don’t see age is a huge factor, but it can’t be discounted.  This is an advantage for Cilic.

Intangibles

  • Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych are good sparring partners when preparing for Marin Cilic.  Gilles Muller and Sam Querrey don’t play at all like Roger Federer.
  • The crowd will be behind Roger Federer.  If Federer jumps to an early lead or if Cilic struggles closing out a lead in a set or for the match, the crowd will become a factor in Federer’s favor.

My Prediction

I think if Federer takes good care of his serve, he will win this match.

Roger Federer d. Marin Cilic 7-6, 6-4, 7-6

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