Roger Federer powered into the final of Wimbledon by comfortably dispatching Tomas Berdych in the semis and was instantly installed as the heavy favourite to win it. If he can pull it off he will become the all-time greatest male player in Wimbledon history with eight titles, one clear of Pete Sampras. The Swiss is enjoying a phenomenal twilight to his career and has already claimed the Australian Open this year, and he has looked unstoppable at Wimbledon.
There is not a great deal of value in backing him to win it outright. You can get 2/9 on Betfair, while bookmakers like Bet365, Betfred and Betway are offering 2/11 and green listed bookmakers William Hill, Paddy Power and Sky Bet have Federer at 1/5. If you think he can beat Maran Cilic in the final, the way to get value is to bet on how many sets it will take for him to get the job done.
So far in this tournament, Federer has not dropped a single set. That run includes victories over Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov, three very strong players. Five of his sets have gone to a tie break, but Federer has won them all comfortably. His decision after winning the Australian Open to take the entire clay court season off and rest up ahead of this tournament is paying dividends. He is fresher than we have seen him for years, moving around the court with the grace and athleticism of old, playing shots that seem to defy geometry and bamboozling opponents left, right and centre.
But he will be in for a tough game against Maran Cilic. It went to five sets when these two met in the quarter-finals last year, with Federer scraping through. But Cilic dismantled him completely when they met in the US Open a few years ago and knows he will be in with a chance. But the Federer of 2017 seems a different beast to the one we saw between 2013 and 2016. In that wilderness period where he did not win a grand slam he looked slightly over the hill and past it as Novak Djokovic stormed to the summit of the men’s game. But with Djokovic struggling and Andy Murray unable to take up the mantle, despite being the world number one, it is Federer that has once again emerged as the dominant force of 2017.
Cilic has had a rockier route to the final. He got through his first three matches in similarly comfortable style, but then faced Gilles Müller, conqueror of Rafa Nadal, and they played out an epic five-set thriller. Müller came into the match off the back of a colossal game against Nadal and ultimately did not have the legs to win another long encounter, losing the final set 6-1, but he had Cilic on the ropes for much of the match. Next the Croat came up against another big server in American Sam Querrey, who had just knocked out an injured Murray. They traded aces all afternoon and eventually Cilic’s superior class showed as he won in four sets.
He will be the more fatigued of the two players going into this final as a result of his exertions in the latter stages of the tournament. Federer is the older player by seven years, but he seems in great shape after taking that long rest earlier this year. There is every chance that Federer could continue his run of not dropping a set. William Hill is offering 13/10 on Federer winning it 3-0 and the odds are shortening, so get on it sooner rather than later if you fancy him to do it. Every set should be tight as Cilic has such a big serve, as well as a monstrous forehand, so expect tie breaks and/or sets being won 6-4 or 7-5. But Federer’s record thus far in tie breaks suggests he will get the job done. He has been in this situation so many times and will have the necessary mental strength to see him through. There is an aura of destiny around the Swiss right now.
You can get 11/4 with Bet365 and Federer winning it 3-1 and it might be worth laying that in order to cover your back. You could even put a small stake on Federer 3-2, which is all the way out at 13/2 with Paddy Power. Of course you would be in trouble if Cilic wins it, but few people – including the bookmakers – are giving him a chance.
However, considering each set should be tight due to Cilic’s massive serve (which will make it tough for Federer to break him), it makes handicap betting interesting. You can give Cilic a +5.5 handicap and get 5/6 with Sportsbetting.ag on him winning it. Therefore if Federer were to win 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 you would win your bet. That also looks a good option as it covers you if Cilic wins a set or two, or if he loses each set narrowly or if he surprises everyone by actually beating Federer.