Friday, February 27
Philippoussis leaning on his serve

Special to

WIMBLEDON, England -- Sometimes players slip through and reach a major final not playing at their best level. That didn't happen here. Mark Philippoussis and Roger Federer are fittingly playing astounding tennis.

On Friday, Philippoussis showed few nerves in dismantling Sebastien Grosjean's game. If he continues to serve the way he does, he might not have his serve broken the whole final.

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 can't help but look back on his match with Andre Agassi, where he served a record-tying 46 aces. No one has ever done that against Agassi. It amazes me that Philippoussis can continue to serve two first serves and it hasn't cost him yet. If he has the nerve and the guts to continue serving two first serves, it will put so much pressure on Federer to hold his own serve.

Federer played as good as a player can in his first semifinal of a major. The way he was so composed behind his own serve and in his ability to break Andy Roddick's serve was masterful. Roger Federer is one of only two, maybe three, players on tour who can and will win all four majors.

Federer has the ability to hit every shot there is in tennis. In the semis, he showed every bit of superior execution that Pete Sampras showed in his championship runs. Federer's success in the final hinges on how he responds if he is not as masterful. If he happens to get down a set and a break, does he just fade away, or does he battle through the down period and recover to even the match?

Sunday's final will come down to the player who will not be overwhelmed by the enormous occasion. They both have to approach it as just another tennis match, knowing in the back of their minds, that it's the biggest match of their careers. Under the enormous pressure, so often players don't perform at their best, but the player who can control his emotions and thrive in the situation, will be the player who is triumphant.

My pick: Federer in four sets