Federer vs Cilic
Roger Federer may have lost some hair on his head, but the finesse and poetic motion is here to stay for a long time and yesterday’s improbable comeback against Cilic was a big testament to that.
At the start of the tournament Federer mentioned how he felt no pressure this time and he’ll take things as they come. But Djokovic’s exit surely would have titillated his winning instincts. The possibility of that elusive 18th Grand slam title was on the rise and the world waited with bated breath.
But when the stakes rise, so do the nerves. And that is exactly what Federer showed in the first two sets against Cilic. He was off the boil, he looked rusty and most importantly he looked like he cared again. The free flowing nature with which he had come into the tournament had taken a back seat, it no longer was just about having fun as he realized that this could be his last chance of winning a Grand Slam title.
And when things matter to you, when you know that you can win it all, you start treading cautiously.
In the first two sets, it was Cilic’s forehand that was dictating terms. Federer’s backhand was under the scanner and the sheer power of Cilic’s groundstrokes was just too much to handle for Federer.
2 sets to love down, a wounded and aged Federer looked all set to pack his bags and have an extended vacation. But the customary 2 sets to love down toilet break followed and things started to take a dramatic turn.
Federer started to find his feet in the 3rd set breaking Cilic in the 7th game and then holding on to close the set.
The 4th set surely took every Federer fan down memory lane as glimpses from the 4th set during the epic 2008 Wimbledon final between Federer and Nadal flashed through. The tiebreaker was not one for the fain hearted as both players really got on each others nerves and the fans. But ultimately Fedrerer found that oomph factor to force the match into a final set. Some of those backhand passes that Federer hit in the 4th set were just out of this world. He certainly looked like a player whose wits were about him and his body was also following suit.
Cilic looked deflated. His groundstrokes weren’t finding the lines and Federer was looking more like his normal self. Both players were recovering from the dynamics and the tension from the 4th set tiebreak and the match was slowly entering that stalemate phase before one last push.
Federer was the one who made that final push in the 8th game. Getting involved in a few backhand clashes and then breaking Cilic to serve for the match. Federer kept his composure in the closing stages and served a perfect ace to seal a sensational comeback on his beloved Centre Court.
The match was a clear testament to Federer’s fighting spirit, something that was missing from his arsenal in the past few months. No matter what the age, no matter what the body condition and no matter whom the opponent, a determined and focused Federer can overcome all odds.
Federer will face Raonic in the semi finals, who is a pretty similar opponent to Cilic. Federer will have to be at the top of his game since the start this time round as it would be really difficult for him to recover from any slip-ups for the second time in three days.