This is it, the finalists of the men’s singles competition at the Australian Open have been revealed: it'll be a repeat of the Wimbledon final just six months or so ago. On that occasion Roger Federer blasted Marin Cilic aside, winning 6-3 6-1 6-4 in less than two hours. It was a defeat that reduced Cilic to tears.
The pain of a huge blister on his left foot combined with the abject disappointment that he couldn't reproduce his best form in arguably the biggest match of his career. Much of the media hype surrounding this final will focus on the thrashing that Federer dished out to the Croatian back in the summer of 2017.
Federer was the bookmakers’ favourite to land a 20th career grand slam title here before a ball had been hit. And they have no reason to waver from that opinion given the Swiss ace’s imperious progress through the competition. He is yet to drop a set en route to the final and won convincingly in the semi-final.
His opponent, Korean Hyeon Chung, actually waved the white flag citing an injury. Cilic himself benefited from an injury withdrawal earlier in the competition, although you sense he had the measure of Rafa Nadal in their quarter final meeting, breaking the Spaniard’s serve in the fifth and deciding set before he withdrew.
The big-serving Croat then went on to break British hearts by dismantling the tournament’s surprise package Kyle Edmund in straight sets in the last four. The scene is set for an intriguing finale in front of a packed Melbourne crowd then and Federer is well fancied at odds of 1/4 with Ladbrokes to add yet another major trophy.
When analysing football and other team sports you can say that the head-to-head records between two teams are only of limited relevance – the turnover of players is so quick these days that the data is way down the list of importance for punters. But when it comes to individual sports like tennis, the head-to-head history is more significant.
It can be a psychological thing – player A simply hates coming up against player B – or it might be technical: the trajectory of player A’s serve, or the depth of their groundstrokes, driving player B to distraction. Why exactly Marin Cilic seems to hate playing Roger Federer so much is anybody’s guess.
That was in the US Open back in 2014, which Cilic went on to win, so that means it’s been roughly three and a half years since he has bested the reigning champ. Perhaps the quarter final at Wimbledon 2016 was the watershed moment. Cilic raced into a 2-0 set lead and must have thought his hoodoo was at an end.
But Federer roared back, aided by some nervous play from his opponent and eventually turned around the deficit to win three sets to two. Cilic was distraught, understandably so, and that wouldn’t be the last time that Federer reduced the 29-year-old to tears. Be sure to consider all these when browsing the bookies
Roger Federer has been there, done that (time and again) and got the trophies to prove it. A 19-time major winner, he has appeared in a remarkable 29 grand slam finals in his career, plus the Olympic Games gold medal match in 2012. Cilic simply cannot boast such a major pedigree, although he has appeared in a pair of major finals.
He beat Kei Nishikori in the US Open final of 2014, but as we know suffered a fate that has befallen so many in the past at Wimbledon last year: being struck down by crippling bouts of jitters with the spotlight on him. Federer has a golden opportunity to defend a grand slam title for the first time since 2008.
The 36-year-old – as polite, humble and warm as you get – is like a shark scenting blood out on the court. He will have no qualms about piling more misery on Cilic and so the smart bet is to back Federer with a -5.5 Game Handicap at Evens with Betway. For all the other odds for this matchup, visit Betway today!
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