Wimbledon 2012 – Men’s Semi Finals

Djokovic v Federer:

Once again, as the rankings dictate they meet in the semi final. They have played 8 times in 2011 and 2012. Djokovic won 7 of them with Federer winning at the French Open last year. In the 7 matches that Djokovic won Fed won just 3 sets. Incredibly this will be their first match on grass.

Federer rarely takes medical time outs but took one in his fourth round match with Malisse. He looked to be unable to run and his price shot out to 3.80 . However when he returned he was able to do enough to win the first set and eventually the match. In the quarter final Youzhny was able to win just 5 games in total against him. I think that says more about Youzhny than Federer as the Russian seems to have no idea how to play the smarter players as he also showed against Ferrer recently.

Fed also had an earlier scare when he went 2 sets down against Benneteau but the Frenchman’s body let him down towards the end of the match.

Djokovic hasn’t had many problems so far.  He has lost just 1 set which was the first set in his third round match with Stepanek. Sometimes that can work against a player as he hasn’t been tested but in Djokovic’s case it’s more relevant that he hasn’t had an energy sapping 5 setter.

Djokovic’s price is currently 1.44 . Against a 100% fit Federer on a fast grass court that price is too low. Unfortunately for Federer fans they are playing on Centre Court. So many people have commented on how slow the court is playing compared to previous years and also compared to other courts such as Court1. Even more bad news for the Swiss maestro is that the match will almost certainly be played with the roof closed which also slows the court down.

I’d say Djokovic to win in 4 sets with Fed taking the third when Djokovic eases up at 2-0.


Murray v Tsonga:

Murray leads the head to heads 5-2 and has won their last 4 matches going back to August 2009. One of those matches was in the quarter final at Wimbledon in 2010. Murray won that in 4 sets. The only time they have played since 2011 was in the final at Queens Club that year. Murray won in 3.

Going into this tournament I didn’t give Murray much of a chance and was convinced he wouldn’t make the quarter finals. Nadal’s loss potentially opened up Murray’s route to the final but that also piled the pressure of expectation on his shoulders. Something that he doesn’t usually handle very well. I think he got a break when Ferrer failed to serve out the second set in their quarter final. If he had gone 2 sets down I really don’t think he would have come back. But having been given a “get out of jail” card he grabbed the opportunity with both hands winning that set and also the next 2.

The negatives from the Ferrer match are that Murray’s first serve wasn’t successful often enough although in a lot of big points he would find the killer serve that was needed. It also needs to be remembered that Ferrer served for a 2 set lead. If Tsonga gets that opportunity I would expect him to take it .

Tsonga has moved fairly smoothly through the rounds with no real drama.  His quarter final win over Kohlschreiber was the most impressive as the German is in superb form. His serve could play a big part in today’s match.

Both players will be nervous as both have been in the semis before but neither has taken their place in a final at Wimbledon. The level of expectation on Tsonga is just a fraction of that on Murray and how they handle the prematch media attention  could have almost as much impact on the result as the tennis.

Murray must serve consistently well  throughout the whole match. Tsonga is more vulnerable at the start of the match than at any other time and the Scot needs that opening set. Tsonga is very much a confidence player and if Murray allows his opponent to dictate the early part of the match he will be making his task tougher than it need be. If Murray goes 1 set down it’s not a disaster. If he goes 2-0 down its a long way back against a big match player like Tsonga.

Their previous matches suggest that Murray will do it. In reality they suggest that he CAN do it. If Murray doesn’t beat himself then he win in 3 or 4.

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