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Men’s semi-finals preview

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Originally published on 13/07/17 00:00

Sam Querrey (USA) [24] v Marin Cilic (CRO) [7]

A lengthy battle between Querrey and Cilic is anticipated. The pair have met on two previous occasions at the All England Club and they were both won by the Croatian in gruelling five-setters.

Their famous duel in 2012 – which took 5 hours and 31 minutes to complete – included a 32-game fifth set and it remains the second longest men’s singles match in Wimbledon history.

Until his last eight scrap with Muller, Cilic had bulldozed his way through the draw with the minimum of fuss. The 28-year-old is a dangerous proposition for any player when firing on all cylinders and his Grand Slam triumph In New York three years ago is still fresh in his memory.

“I would say winning the US Open has helped me at Grand Slams,” admitted the Croatian. “I believe in my own abilities and I believe when coming to the latter stages of the tournament, I’m going to still be able to play great tennis. I know I have it in me to win, and that’s extremely important.”

Querrey has significant firepower at his disposal and he should be a mainstay in the top 20. He possesses a three-pronged attack and has scored impressive wins over Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray within the last 12 months.

The American has cracked 122 aces in the tournament so far and he will be a tough nut for Cilic to crack. This will be a bruising encounter between two attack-minded powerhouses. The points will be short and sharp, but the contest probably won’t be.

Prediction: Cilic In four

Roger Federer (SUI) [3] v Tomas Berdych (CZE) [11]

Federer and Berdych have met 24 times and the Swiss has won on 18 occasions. The 35-year-old is also on a seven-match winning run against the Czech, an opponent he first encountered 13 years ago.

The seven-time champion is attempting to win a 90th match at Wimbledon and he is also bidding to become the second oldest man in the Open era to appear in the final after Ken Rosewall.

The Swiss has been at his swashbuckling best in the tournament and he is yet to drop a set. He is the overwhelming favourite to win an unprecedented 8th Wimbledon crown on Sunday and he admits his decision to skip the clay-court season has worked in his favour.

The 35 said after his emphatic win over Milos Raonic: “That was the idea, that the second week of Wimbledon I would feel my best. I feel like it's coming along nicely, to be quite honest.

“I'm much better prepared for Wimbledon this year than last year. Last year I had a hard, hard time practising through the clay-court season. The grass-court season was difficult because of the back issues and also knee issues. This year I'm just a normal tennis player again and I can focus on tactics -I think that's the difference.”

Berdych ended his 19-match losing streak against top 5 players with his win over Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals. The Serbian quit in the early stages of the second set but the Czech was firmly in ascendancy when play came to an abrupt end.

His recent record against Federer would suggest he has little chance of troubling the tournament favourite. Berdych has caused the Swiss problems in the past, though, and he must show a willingness to step outside her comfort zone today.

The Czech can be a tad one-dimensional and too often he has been eliminated in the latter stages of tournaments without attempting to alter his approach. He’s most at ease patrolling the baseline and thrashing his forehand however that's unlikely to be enough to ovecome his latest opponent.

This could be Berdych’s last opportunity to become a Grand Slam champion and he will need to produce an exceptional performance to derail the Swiss Express.

Prediction: Federer in four 

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