Saturday, 9 July 2016

Raonic, Murray through to Final

Andy Murray will play Milos Raonic in the 2016 Wimbledon Gentlemens Singles Final following their respective semi final wins,

Roger Federer had to front up to the heavy serving Canadian Raonic just two days after the great five set escape against Marin Cilic in his quarter final.  Once again the 17 time Major winner began slowly, dropping his serve in the fourth game of the match, double faulting on game point.  Raonic meanwhile was rifling serves consistently, leaving Federer with practically no chance of a break back.
In addition to 14 winners and 4 aces, there were many simply unplayable serves and the single service break was all that Milos required to parcel up set one 6-3.

Set two was even and no breaks occurred for the first 9 games.  Then Raonic found problems. At 4-5 a couple of mistakes plus a double fault gave Federer three set points.  Raonic saved all,of them, and one more, before serving out the game for 5-5. Eventually the tie-break and Federer outplayed the Canadian to level the match at a set all.

Federer was at his best in set three where he only made one unforced error.  Raonic played well but appeared vulnerable to a better opponent at various stages, and it wasn't surprising to see him drop serve in the seventh game.  Roger served out the set to hold a two sets to one lead.

The key moment for Federer came in set four when at 4-5 and 30-40 Raonic faced a match point.  He saved it, and won that game and the remaining two to win the set, levelling the match, and winning the right to serve first in the final set.

The momentum shift became a tidal wave once Raonic broke the Swiss serve in the fourth game of set five.  No way back for Federer and Milos Raonic became the first Canadian male to reach a Grand Slam singles final 6-3 6-7 3-6 6-3.

Tomas Berdych kept Andy Murray honest for six games in his semi final but then repeated what he always does in Grand Slam tournaments at this stage - he left.  Only once has Berdych made the final day of a major - 6 years ago at Wimbledon.
No such experience this year.  Murray won 6-3 6-3 6-3, was broken just once for the match and made only 9 unforced errors.  Berdych had nothing with which to hurt the second seed who will appear in his third straight final at Grand Slam level in 2016.
Maybe Murray can finally win his third major now that his opponent isn't Djokovic or Federer. However, remember his semi final against Raonic in the Aus Open earlier this year where only injury prevented the Canadian from probably taking that match.

The final on Sunday is clearly Murray's to win based on form, but not a foregone conclusion.

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