Roger Federer has won his 19th Grand Slam title and his eighth trophy at The Championships, Wimbledon. Federer, 35, made it past Marin Cilic in the singles finals on Sunday, winning 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.
Cilic was a game opponent early in the first set, but he quickly lost control. In the second, between games, he was in tears and was clearly in severe emotional distress. He was battling Federer on the court, losing badly, and every point for Federer broke him a little more.
Federer put the tennis world on notice when he won the Australian Open earlier in 2017, five years after his last Grand Slam win. Then he elected to skip the clay court season, including the French Open, to keep himself fresh and free of injury going into the grass court season.
He did just that, easily winning the warmup grass court tournament, the Halle Open, and he didn’t drop a single set en route to the Wimbledon final. On his way there, he took down big names like Mischa Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych.
Federer set the tone of the match when he returned the very first serve with a brilliant forehand that Cilic had no shot of handling. Federer quickly moved into a position to threaten a break on the first service game, but Cilic did end up holding after some trouble.
Federer forced the first break when Cilic was serving at 2-2. Federer hit a beautiful backhand winner and forced a couple of forehand errors, and had a triple break point opportunity. Cilic fought back and won a couple of points, but Federer broke him, forcing a backhand error.
He would then go on to hold, then break Cilic again. Eventually, Cilic was serving to stay in the set, and things got to deuce. Nerves were playing a factor by then, however, and Cilic lost the set with a double fault, 6-3.
In the second set, Cilic had to be seen by the doctor between games. He looked to have tears in his eyes. It’s unclear what the injury was, if any, but he was clearly distressed, unable to get a hold of himself for a solid minute. After that time out, he did manage to hold serve, and things got to 3-1.
Federer does have a history of breaking his opponents emotionally. Cilic is putting everything he has into his serves, stretching and pushing his muscles to the limit, and Federer glides effortlessly to the ball and hits a graceful forehand that Cilic can do nothing to stop. It’s the kind of thing Federer has done his entire career. He did it again in the second set, when Cilic seemed to have gotten himself under control and was serving well, but he suddenly found himself broken, with Federer serving for the set at 5-1. He served without issue, and took the second set at 6-1.
The first evidence that something might be wrong physically for Cilic came before the third set, when the trainer was working on his foot, which was taped. They removed the tape and after an extended break, play was restarted.
Cilic held, Federer held, and then Federer had a break point opportunity on Cilic’s next serve in the third set. He didn’t get it, and a couple huge serves from Cilic allowed him to hold. Cilic got Federer to deuce on the next game, but Federer held. And Cilic was finally broken in the third set, with a pair of forehand unforced errors putting him down.
Federer then held serve, and Cilic was serving to stay in the match. He did hold serve to stay in, but Federer was then serving for the match. He held, as expected, and took home the championship.
The women’s singles final saw Garbine Muguruza beat Venus Williams in straight sets for her second Grand Slam title. It was a similar storyline to the men’s final, with many believing Williams was going to lift yet another Wimbledon title late in her career, but Muguruza wasn’t allowing it. Still, one aging veteran of the sport took home a title, and he did it in style.—AFP