Federer and Cilic’s last meeting came on this very court 12 months ago in the quarter-final.
The Croatian took a two-set lead but could not finish the job and Federer fought back to win in five before losing to Milos Raonic in the semi-final.
The Swiss leads their head-to-head record 5-1 but has already talked about how he is hoping Cilic does not reproduce the level of performance that saw him knock the 35-year-old out of the US Open in straight sets three years ago.
Roger Federer v Marin Cilic LIVE – latest Wimbledon 2017 updates
(*denotes next to serve)
*Federer 6-3, 6-1, 2-3 Cilic
Woof. 30-15 and Cilic charges the net, hitting a backhand straight down into the net cord, only for it to fall safe. That would have been a wobbly moment for 30-30…
Anyway, game point No1 is squandered before No2 is converted by an ace. Every hold seems like a battle at the moment, but one the Croatian is starting to win.
Federer 6-3, 6-1, 2-2 Cilic*
For the last 25 minutes or so, this match hasn’t really been about Federer as Cilic battles himself but he makes himself relevant now, with a couple of unforced errors to take his service game to deuce.
But an ace and a Cilic error allows him to hold.
*Federer 6-3, 6-1, 1-2 Cilic
A poor forehand that hits halfway up the net makes it 0-30 and Centre Court senses trouble.
But Cilic keeps himself in the rally and finds a beautiful backhand winner down the line.
A terrific rally at 30-30 sees both players whipping flat backhands low over the net and it is Federer who goes wide of the mark first.
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But seconds later, he is laser-precise cross-court to force deuce.
After blowing two game points, Cilic is break point down thanks to another forehand – he’s closing in on 20 in total – and serve-and-volleys when in trouble again to great effect. The hold comes eventually. That was gutsy.
Federer 6-3, 6-1, 1-1 Cilic*
Given the nature of his injury, Federer is going to test Cilic’s movement, and a drop volley to make it 15-0 is successful.
He seals the game with an ace and Cilic still can’t get near the Federer serve.
*Federer 6-3, 6-1, 0-1 Cilic
Foot fully strapped, Cilic finds himself serving with just four games on the board in this match so far.
However, that is already better from the Croatian as he holds to 15.
ROGER FEDERER WINS THE SECOND SET 6-1
It’s not nice and I’m sure Federer would not have wanted it this way, but we’ve only had 61 minutes of tennis and the seven-time champion is a good way towards making it eight.
He seals it with an ace down the middle and this is getting ugly. The trainer is out again and Cilic’s left shoe and sock are off. I fancy this is some blistering as he’s already got strapping on there.
He’s getting treatment now.
*Federer 6-3, 5-1 Cilic
The serve-and-volley festival continutes behind the Cilic first serve and so it proves the right tactic as when he stays back behind the second, he loses the baseline rallies.
Deuce comes and Federer hits a sumptuous backhand return winner off that second serve to bring up break point, but Cilic saves it with a decent kick serve. A poor backhand from the Croatian brings up another though and Federer is not to be denied. He will serve for the second set.
Federer 6-3, 4-1 Cilic*
Cilic seems a little recovered from his problems at the end of the third game.
I’m starting to think he could have been struggling with some sort of anxiety attack, because he was given no treatment on the court. Not a good place for it to happen.
*Federer 6-3, 3-1 Cilic
If Cilic does have an issue, he seems to think the answer is shorter points.
He serve-and-volleys his way to a first service hold of the set.
Let’s hope that is not indicative of anything more than some frustration.
Federer 6-3, 3-0 Cilic*
This doesn't look good. The trainer and the doctor are out Cilic looks like he might be in tears.
There is no medical time-out quite yet. Time has been called and Centre Court, for all their Federer love, are on their feet for Cilic. They don't want it cut short.
*Federer 6-3, 2-0 Cilic
Cilic faces another break point, right at the beginning of the set, and it goes. Unforced error. At least it wasn't a double-fault, I suppose.
Centre Court is supporting Federer, but none of them want it to be this easy.
Jack Wilson chimes in
“Cilic says anger is the key to his game. The only person he's getting angry with at the moment is himself.
“He bowed then shook his head after being broken for the first time in the second set.
“A broken man, in both senses of the word?”
Federer 6-3, 1-0 Cilic*
Another comfortable hold. Cilic needs to get a grip on the Federer serve.
Roger Federer and Marin Cilic will battle it out for the Wimbledon trophy today
ROGER FEDERER WINS THE FIRST SET 6-3
A couple of bits of poor fortune for Cilic then with a dodgy net cord and a mishit forehand and he tries to serve-and-volley his way out of it at 30-30.
Federer hits a lightning backhand but Cilic somehow gets it back, only to watch the same thing fly past him.
The break – and set – point is saved but Federer is hitting the ball exceptionally well but there is another one and Cilic double-faults to let it go.
That’s far from ideal for the Croatian. Not a good way for the first set to slip away from him.
Federer 5-3 Cilic*
Another love hold from Federer – that's 11 straight points on his serve now. We talked about how well Cilic had to serve but Federer is doing it very well at the moment.
Roger Federer looked in imperious form in the early stages
*Federer 4-3 Cilic
There is an awe factor about playing Roger Federer and it is evident when he plays a stunning drop shot which Cilic can get nowhere near.
He then double-faults to complete a drift from 40-15 to deuce.
However, a couple of big serves ensure it is no more than a brief wobble and the break is singular.
Federer 4-2 Cilic*
Federer holds to love and that's how he does it. He's a tough bloke to play against.
*Federer 3-2 Cilic
Well that’s absurd. 0-15 and Cilic plays a delicate drop shot. Federer gets it and returns in similar fashion, only to see the 6ft6 player scamper out wide and angle it across him. However, Federer is equal to it and gets it back into the empty court from an acute angle.
A wayward Cilic forehand on the very next point and Federer has three break points. Cilic needs his first serve to start firing soon and at first it does. Federer flies a second serve return long at 15-40 and is Cilic about to get out of jail?
No, as the Federer backhand is too difficult for him to return.
Jack Wilson’s two cents
“They've been waiting, and waiting, and now, after 18 minutes, it's happened.
“Fans have an excuse to get to their feet for the first time today to applaud a Federer winner – and what a winner it was.
“Cilic got to a Federer drop shot, then slipped, but that didn't put the great man off.
“He swoops with a backhand which he must have hit from behind him and Centre Court, well, some of them, react with a standing ovation. Some shot that.”
Federer 2-2 Cilic*
We have our first break point of the match and it goes Cilic’s way. The Croatian gets a look at a second serve too – only to slap a backhand into the net.
Centre Court breathes a sigh of relief. Federer losing the first set was not in the script.
The Swiss holds and we remain on serve.
Jack Wilson checking in
“Federer spoke about when he may retire before this one. Surely that won't happen today, will it?
“Paddy Power seem to think it might, and they make it 6/1 he calls it a day during the post-game speeches.
“Please don't Roger, please don’t!”
Marin Cilic could be a two-time Grand Slam final and world No5 by Monday morning
*Federer 1-2 Cilic
A quicker hold from Cilic and the players take to their seats with the first set on serve.
It is pretty toasty on Centre Court and they have put the climate control into action. It needs it – there are 15,000 packed in here and it’s already a warm day.
Federer 1-1 Cilic*
The baseline battle is pretty intriguing between these two given how powerful they both are.
The level has started very high indeed with Cilic curving a couple of forehands into Federer’s backhand wing.
But a double-fault, a problem against Berdych, takes him to deuce. However, a successful challenge and two big first serves do the trick.
*Federer 0-1 Cilic
Cilic’s serving will be the key to any chance he has of winning this match but he’s not made many in that game. It brings up 15-30 but a Federer unforced error restores parity.
It is the Cilic serve that gets out of the game though – an excellent second serve at deuce jams Federer up and a first serve at advantage softens him up.
2pm: Centre Court rises to its feet for their champion and their challenger.
Roger Federer may not be the defending champion but having won here seven times, he has earned the title of champion.
Marin Cilic be on the same stage as Federer today, but there is no doubt who this crowd are behind.
Electric atmosphere inside Centre now, with barely an empty seat in sight. Cilic makes Roger wait a little bit a the coin toss, which may not be deliberate but if it is, it’s a level of mind-game I have to respect. He needs any edge he can find over the Swiss.
Jack Wilson is our colour man
“Now that is lazy. Marin Cilic and Roger Federer walk out on court but where are their bags? Have they forgot their rackets?
“Oh, wait, they're being carried by two servants.
“Wonder if the same thing happens when they visit Tesco…”
1.40pm: A ticket for Centre Court on the second Sunday of Wimbledon is pretty sought after – but you can’t even buy a ticket in the Royal Box.
It’s a real ‘Who’s Who’ on the list today. The Prime Minister, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Kate and Wills to you and me), Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Mayor of London – the list goes on.
You don’t have to have a title to be in there though. Actors Eddie Redmayne, Bradley Cooper and Hugh Grant are up there, along with golfer Justin Rose and a few former tennis players such as Rod Laver, Chrissie Evert and Stefan Edberg.
1.10pm: Probably the one stat on which Federer and Cilic are almost equal is the world rankings but that will all change on Monday.
Federer is currently No5 in the world with Cilic sixth.
Tomorrow’s update, which will include the points from the Wimbledon fortnight, will see Federer jump above Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka into third place if he wins.
Cilic meanwhile will leapfrog Federer by just 100 points if he gets the win.
12.40pm: After two weeks of thrills and spills, one of the great bastions of the British sporting calendar is upon us. Not many would have had money on a Federer v Cilic final – although writing off the Swiss is something most have learned not to do.
At 35, he has the chance to become the second oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era, and the oldest to do so at Wimbledon.
There is a slim chance of one Wimbledon tradition – rain – but the match will most likely start with the roof open.