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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Wimbledon 2017: What to expect from men's semi-finals

Marin Cilic faces Sam Querrey and Roger Federer takes on Tomas Berdych in the last four.

Marin Cilic is a strong title contender at All England club this year. Tony O'Brien / Reuters
Marin Cilic is a strong title contender at All England club this year. Tony O'Brien / Reuters

Sam Querrey (24) v Marin Cilic (7) - Centre Court, 4pm start Friday's first two semi-finalists have a few things in common: both are in their late 20s and at the peak of their powers. Both have the same height - 198 centimetres. Both serve well and hit the ball hard. Both have great reach - because they are tall. And both have remarkable court coverage - despite being tall. But what separates the two is the fact that Cilic does everything Querrey does, only better. For instance, they are both busy players who prefer to rattle through games quickly. But more often than not Querrey tends to lose control of a point when a rally unfolds, and that is one area in which Cilic can domineer over his opponent on Friday. Querrey has never beaten the Croatian in four meetings, two of which were at Wimbledon, but he is fresh from a morale-boosting win over Andy Murray. The American is also backing himself more than he used to. That maturity will be put to the test, however, given the form Cilic has been over the past month. The 2014 US Open champion has played with passion, which is hardly surprising, but also with great consistency, which is pleasantly surprising. 'Steady as she goes' has scarcely been a mantra - as a chequered career has proven - but that may be a thing of the past.

Head-to-head Querrey trails 4-0

Prediction Cilic wins in four sets

Tennis - Wimbledon - London, Britain - July 12, 2017 Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates winning the quarter final match against Canada’s Milos Raonic REUTERS/Toby Melville
Roger Federer has won the Wimbledon title seven times. Toby Melville / Reuters

Roger Federer (3) v Tomas Berdych (11) - Centre Court, second match Federer has played near-perfect tennis over the past fortnight. Such has been his form, the seven-time champion has not dropped a set in five matches, won 90 per cent of his first service points and swatted away the two best players of the next generation - Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic - on his way to the last four. He is up against Berdych, a player who has all the ingredients to win a grand slam tournament save for a winning mentality whenever he plays any one of the 'Fab Four'. Granted he was crushing Novak Djokovic even before the former world No 1 retired because of an injury, but the Czech player has on several occasions frozen in the face of challenges. And Federer presents the biggest hurdle of them all on Friday. Berdych probably knows his best chance of winning is to take the attack to Federer, forcing the latter on to the back foot. The 18-time grand slam champion has not been tested at All England this year, and it will be interesting to see how far back he can be pushed on Friday. Federer is playing for fun at the moment but this semi-final would be a little more engrossing for the rest of us if Berdych can make him fight for every point. That said, Friday's match is still the Swiss master's to lose.

Head-to-head Federer leads 18-6

Prediction Federer wins in four sets

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