For the first time in his 11 finals appearances Andy Murray (pictured) is the sportsbooks’ favorite, and this time it is to win his second Men’s Wimbledon Final and third major overall (9am ET Sunday).
Murray may be most bettors’ pick to win this match but he must overcome big-serving Milos Raonic, a first time finalist and the first Canadian in tennis history to reach the final of a grand slam. As this preview will demonstrate, that is not a task Murray should underestimate.
Since 2012 Murray and Raonic have met 11 times, with Murray leading the head-to-head seven to four and a perfect 2-0 in their grand slam meetings. Their first such meeting was at the 2012 US Open in the quarterfinals, which Murray won in straight sets. The second was just earlier this year in the semifinals of the Australian Open. This was Raonic’s best shot at the quick-moving Scotsman as he took Murray to the brink, actually winning two of the first three sets before dropping the next two.
Murray was resilient in his victory, never once doubting his ability to come back and playing some of his best tennis in the process. Following the Australian this run continued as Murray won the ATP World Tour Masters as one of the French Open lead-up tournaments and again at the Aegon Championships at London’s Queen’s Club just before the start of Wimbledon. He is in great form and has made the last two rounds look easy.
As for improving Raonic, he’s been right on the edge for quite some time now, threatening to break through the wall of tennis’ big four. Raonic is young, a top-10 player and is leading the new era of players who will one day, perhaps as soon as Sunday, start to replace guys like Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. They are all either pushing or over tennis’ dreaded 30 mark.
Raonic is proving he belongs in the conversation. He defeated Federer in the semifinal and demonstrated the kind of veteran experience that few expected. His time could be right now and regardless of whether Raonic finds that same confidence to win on Sunday, he has nothing to be ashamed of. Just getting there in a tennis landscape where either Federer, Djokovic or Nadal has been in each of the finals for the past five years for the most part, is an accomplishment in itself.
Road to the Championship
As mentioned earlier in this preview, Murray came into Wimbledon riding one of the best stretches of his career. He had been a runner-up at both the Australian and French Open tournaments, losing to Djokovic both times. He won the Aegon Championships, the last ATP event prior to Wimbledon. He was showing great form and that much never changed as he cruised through his competition in the easiest half of the draw.
Murray’s run at his third major began against one of the British wildcards, Liam Broady. He followed his up with another straight set victory over Lu Yen-hsun in the second round and Aussie John Millman in the third. Murray’s toughest test on paper came against Nick Kyrgios but on the court, he made it look easy. Kyrgios lost focus after being unable to break Murray in the first set and never quite got it back as Murray easily took the next two sets and continued his Wimbledon streak of being unbeaten and unbroken.
It was in the quarterfinal however that Murray’s mettle was tested and the measure of his greatness shone through. He faced Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who had just a round earlier, dispatched of John Isner, despite the top-ranked American taking a two sets to love lead. Tsonga seemed destined to do the same against Murray as once again he fell to a 2-0 lead only to force a deciding fifth set. Not needing a tiebreak like against Isner, Murray broke Tsonga early and cruised to a 6-1 final set victory.
Following this, Murray had perhaps his best performance of the tournament against Tomas Berdych in the semifinals. Never really in danger, Murray made it look easy, winning in straight sets and needing just under two hours to wrap up the contest. He held strong and seemed to be completely over what had happened in the prior round.
For Raonic, his quest to become the first Canadian to ever win a major championship opened with a pair of squash matches against Pablo Carreno Busta and Andreas Seppi. In the third round, the sixth ranked player in the world faced Jack Sock and while Sock was able to force two tiebreaks, Raonic won both with his high-powered serve and strong ground game.
Raonic faced tough tests after this, needing a full five sets to dispatch of David Goffin in the fourth round and four to take down Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals. Querrey had been the one to topple the apparently unbeatable Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Then came the showdown against Federer. Raonic won the first set and had chances to win the second in a tiebreak, but it was the veteran Swiss who came out on top. Federer would win the third set as well but it was at 0-40, with a chance to break Raonic in the fourth that Federer couldn’t convert. This was the moment of the match and it led to Raonic charging back with a late break of his own to win and then with an early break, to maintain momentum to win the fifth set 6-3.
Our Preview’s Men’s Wimbledon Final Betting Picks
This is a match of two very talented tennis players who have both been playing at the peak of their game. While it is not the standard Wimbledon final that fans are accustomed to, this one will be no less exciting and no less highly contested.