Roger Federer into Wimbledon 2017 final with win over Tomas Berdych

Roger Federer’s relentless pursuit of an eighth Wimbledon title continued as he beat stubborn Czech Tomas Berdych 7-6(4) 7-6(4) 6-4 to reach the final for the 11th time on Friday.

The 35-year-old Swiss was given a tough test by the 11th seed, who beat him at the same stage in 2010, but raised his game at the crucial moments to become the oldest men’s singles finalist here since Ken Rosewall in 1974.

Rosewall, 39, went on to lose to Jimmy Connors but Federer will be a huge favourite to reclaim the title against big-serving Croatian Marin Cilic on Sunday.

Federer has now reached 29 grand slam finals, winning 18, and he has carved his way through the draw without dropping a set.

This was his toughest test so far, though, as Berdych put in a solid shift at the coalface to keep Federer on his toes.

Twice he dragged Federer into tiebreaks but on both occasions he was helpless as Federer simply flicked the switch, conjuring winners at will to move two sets ahead.

Berdych refused to throw in the towel and even had breaks points at 3-3 in the third set, only for Federer to smash down three aces and an unreturnable serve.

Federer, who took six months off after losing in the semis last year, broke in the next game and the end came quickly as he held serve at 5-4 to seal his 90th win at the All England Club.

Marin Cilic into final with hard-fought win over Sam Querrey Wimbledon 2017

 

The key, for both players, was to deal with the big serve. Marin Cilic did it better.

The seventh-seeded Croat advanced to his second major final by beating Sam Querrey 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 Friday on Centre Court. He next faces Roger Federer or Tomas Berdych in Sunday’s final at the All England Club.

Cilic and Querrey, both 6-foot-6, used their powerful serves to dominate most of the match. Neither even had a break point in the first set.

“Sam came out serving huge, hitting big,” Cilic said.

Querrey took lead after a brief delay late in the opening tiebreaker. With the score 6-6, stewards entered the stands to attend to a woman who needed assistance. The break only lasted a couple of minutes, but Querrey won both points when play resumed, with Cilic missing a pair of backhands.

Cilic finally managed the first break of serve in the second set, and then went up another break in the third. But Querrey broke back to force another tiebreaker.

In the fourth set, it was Querrey who got an early break. But Cilic bounced back and then broke for the fourth time in the final game.

“After that (first tiebreaker), I was just a little bit better on the return games,” Cilic said. “I was making him (play more) on his service games.”

He finished with 25 aces and won 88 percent of the points on his first serve. Cilic also had 70 winners and only 21 unforced errors. Querrey had 46 winners and 26 unforced errors to go with 13 aces.

Cilic is now 5-0 against Querrey and 3-0 against the American at Wimbledon. Their last match at the All England Club, in 2012, went five sets and Cilic won 17-15 in the fifth.

Cilic is the second Croat player to reach the Wimbledon final. Goran Ivanisevic won the title in 2001.

Federer, in search of an eighth Wimbledon title, was to play Berdych next on Centre Court.

Federer is 18-6 against Berdych, but the 11th-seeded Czech beat Federer in the quarterfinals during his run to the Wimbledon final in 2010.

28-year-old Marin Cilic is the first Croatian to reach the men’s singles final at Wimbledon since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001. The resilient Querrey stuck at his task well but Cilic was a deserved winner, making it five wins out of five against the American.

 

Garbine Muguruza’s road to the final Wimbledon 2017

Garbine Muguruza will get another shot at the Wimbledon title this year. In 2015, she lost to Serena Williams at the summit clash of the grass court Grand Slam. This time, she faces the resurgent elder Williams. While Muguruza is chasing her maiden title at Wimbledon, Venus Williams is vying for her sixth title and a first major in nearly a decade.

Muguruza made waves when she blazed to a maiden Grand Slam triumph at the the French Open last year. She faced Serena Williams yet again then but this time, won in straight sets. Since then, though, she has failed to replicate that form and has been unable to win a title. But, at Wimbledon, she has outlasted the likes of Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep to reach the final.

Muguruza has only dropped one set on her way to the summit clash. She won her first round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4 before beating Germany’s Yanina Wickmayer with a similar scoreline. She then had an even easier run against Sorana Cirstea and then came up against top seed Angelique Kerber in Angelique Kerber. The German won the first set 6-4 but Muguruza came back to take the game 6-4, 4-6, 4-6. Her next opponent was Svetlana Kuznetsova whom she defeated 6-3, 6-4.

Muguruza was purring by the time she faced Magdalena Rybarikova in the semi-final. She gave the Slovak no quarter and made it look easy to win a Wimbledon semi-final recording a comprehensive 6-1, 6-1 win.

 

Garbine Muguruza had last reached the final at Wimbledon in 2015. At the time she fell to Serena Williams. She now faces a resurgent Venus Williams in as she looks to win the title on the second attempt.

Bharath Arun got pitched from Ravi Shastri despite Zaheer Khan’s presence

Back at the helm as chief coach of the Indian cricket team, Ravi Shastri is likely to pitch for the return of bowling coach Bharath Arun despite the presence of Zaheer Khan in their ranks.

Shastri’s choice of bowling coach was always Arun and it is now apparent that Cricket Advisory Committee did not take Shastri into confidence while recommending Zaheer as the bowling coach although his role would be similar to that of Rahul Dravid — that of a consultant.

It has been learnt that Zaheer is unlikely to give around 250 days a year that a full-time bowling coach will be required to and may not be available for more than 100 days.

 

Back at the helm as chief coach of the Indian cricket team, Ravi Shastri is likely to pitch for the return of bowling coach Bharath Arun despite the presence of Zaheer Khan in their ranks. CAC did not take Shastri into confidence while recommending Zaheer.

South Africa vs England : Proteas survive collapse on Day 1

South Africa came through two difficult periods to reach 309-6 against England at stumps on Day 1 of the second test today, suggesting the Proteas’ gamble to bat first in difficult conditions may have paid off.

South Africa was 66-2 before a 113-run partnership between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock.

Then, Stuart Broad (3-47) and Ben Stokes (2-77) combined to take four wickets early in the final session for England but South Africa, at 235-6, came back again with an unbroken 74-run stand between bowlers Vernon Philander and Chris Morris.

Returning South Africa captain Faf du Plessis trusted his batting lineup on a cloudy morning at Trent Bridge, choosing to bat in what appeared to be difficult conditions.

England got what it wanted after Joe Root said he would have bowled anyway, yet despite having the South Africans on the ropes early in the final session, when De Kock fell first ball after tea, the home team couldn’t force home its advantage.

England still leads the four-test series after a convincing 211-run win at Lord’s in the first game.

Returning South Africa captain Faf du Plessis trusted his batting lineup on a cloudy morning at Trent Bridge, choosing to bat in what appeared to be difficult conditions.

 

Molecomb Stakes:Rumble In the jungle lands 

Rumble Inthejungle was a decisive winner of the Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood.

A winner on his racecourse debut at Salisbury in May, Richard Spencer’s juvenile was last seen finishing a creditable fourth behind American raider Shang Shang Shang in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He was a 5-1 chance to follow in the hoofprints of his sire Bungle Inthejungle, who claimed this five-furlong Group Three in 2012, and travelled strongly into the lead at the halfway stage.

Tommy Fleetwood (British Masters) to join Justin Rose at Walton Heath

Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood is the latest name to commit to playing the British Masters supported by Sky Sports this autumn.

he 27-year-old joins a star-studded field at Walton Heath from October 11-14, where Justin Rose follows Ian Poulter,as tournament host.

Fleetwood missed the event at Close House last year due to the birth of his first child, but is relishing the chance to head back to a tournament where he finished tied-13th in 2015 and tied-fourth in 2016.

Tommy is always a popular figure wherever he goes, but particularly on home soil, and I’m excited he will be playing at Walton Heath in October,” Rose said.

“He has established himself as one of the world’s best golfers and to have the reigning Race to Dubai winner in the field is great for the British fans. We’re going to have a great field and it is a brilliant golf course for the British Masters.

Lafferty offer: Rangers to make further Kyle 

Rangers are planning to make a fresh offer for Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty, Sky Sports News understands.

Hearts boss Craig Levein said last weekend that Lafferty’s “head was turned” by an initial offer of £200,000 from his former club, which was rejected.

Lafferty scored more goals against Celtic last season than Rangers managed against their Old Firm rivals.

The Northern Ireland international joined Rangers in June 2008 and scored 38 goals in 138 appearances for the Ibrox club.

He joined Hearts last summer and scored 12 goals in 35 Scottish Premiership games, and 19 goals in total.

Sussex Stakes: Lightning Spear strikes to win 

Lightning Spear gained the Group One success his efforts have so richly deserved in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

Trained by David Simcock, the seven-year-old had regularly found one or two too good for him at the top level in the past, but the perseverance of connections was finally rewarded in the mile showpiece on day two of the meeting.

Spotted moving powerfully under Oisin Murphy two furlongs out, the 9-1 winner found plenty when asked to come out on top from Expert Eye, who had raced prominently along with 7-4 favourite Without Parole from the off.