Saturday, December 27
Federer over Roddick

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WIMBLEDON, England -- For the second major in a row, we will have a new Grand Slam champion. Of the four semifinalists today, only one has ever been in the final of a major, and that's Mark Philippoussis.

Mal's Picks
MaliVai Washington
Former ATP Tour pro MaliVai Washington is providing with in-depth analysis during Wimbledon. Washington, a tennis analyst for ESPN, reached the 1996 Wimbledon final.

I think the winner of the tournament will be determined by the winner of Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick. It's pretty eerie how similar their routes to the semifinals have been. They've both played just under nine hours of tennis, and they've both have lost only one set. They're both playing the best tennis they've ever played at a major.

This match is going to come down to the player who can convert on the big points. This match will only be determined by a handful of points, whether it be break points, or aces at the right time, or a player getting nervous at the wrong time.

These two players are on the verge of fulfilling potential that everyone has known they've had. Unfortunately, this isn't the final.

My pick: Federer in five sets.

Sebastien Grosjean and Philippoussis have logged more time on the court than the other two semifinalists, each having put in just under 14 hours on court. I keep wondering how much longer Philippoussis' body can hold up. He's had two five setters, two four setters and a three setter. He continues to say that his knee feels fine, but he's giving his knee a test that he hasn't had since his four surgeries. For his sake, I hope he can sustain his level.

If he can continue to serve the way he's been serving he'll be in the finals. He has more aces than anyone in the tournament, but he has seven more double faults than the other three semifinalists combined. He lives and dies by his serve. Yesterday, he served a 124- mph second serve on break point down in the fifth set. If he can continue to do that, he'll be in the final and win this tournament. But those are huge gambles to take, and it might catch up with him.

Grosjean will be hoping that Philippoussis has a first serve percentage in the mid-50s or lower. If Grosjean sees that many second serves, he'll be able to capitalize and win this match. Because of the power of Philippoussis, a lot of this match will be out of the hands of Grosjean. This match, too, will come down to only a handful of points. And it's more important for Grosjean to capitalize on those points than Philippoussis because Grosjean might only see a couple of break points.

I can't help but think back to the Australian Open 2001, when Grosjean was up two sets to love and a break and points for a second break against Arnaud Clement to reach the final and lost. He might have a little bit of luck on his side because four of the past five years, Tim Henman has lost to the eventual champion.

This match could come down to the player who has a net chord at the right time or a bad call at the wrong time.

My pick: Philippoussis in four.