13:00 – Djokovic v Dimitrov
Dimitrov said that even in the warm up of his quarter final with Andy Murray he could tell Murray wasn’t happy and that things weren’t right with him. His feelings proved to be correct and Murray was a shadow of the man who won the title last season. However as they say, you can only play the player who they put in front of you and Dimitrov gave a performance that was as near perfect as you’re likely to see.
Djokovic’s quarter final wasn’t quite as straight forward. Cilic had already knocked out Berdych in straight sets although the Czech player’s wrist injury made that task a little easier. It seemed to give Cilic a boost. In-form Chardy was also dumped out in 3 sets.
At 1 set all Cilic got a late break of serve to lead 6-5. However he choked his service game and they went into a tie break. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking that Djkovic would now take control but he was making errors that you don’t expect from him. There was also a couple of points where he was doing his “losing his balance and waving his arms about bullshit”. Having lost that tie break Djokovic clicked back into “normal” mode and cruised through the next 2 sets.
Dimitrov’s coach Roger Rasheed seems to be doing for his player what Norman has done for Wawrinka. He has taken what was already a strong game and given Dimitrov confidence in himself. He also has him making better decisions and shot choices which is what let him down in the past.
Djokovic leads the head to heads 3-1. Dimitrov’s win on the Madrid clay last season is the only match in which he has taken a set but this is a different Dimitrov to last year. If Cilic was able to push Djokovic to 5 sets I will be amazed if Dimitrov can’t take a set and maybe more.
Djokovic starts at a ridiculous 1.26 and I will be laying that. Djokovic won the title in his magical gluten free 2011 season but other than that quarter finals and semi finals have been his usual finish. Of course he was in the final again last year and must feel that with Nadal and Murray already out then this could be his year to get a second title. His place in Sunday’s final is far from being a certainty.
15:30 – Federer v Raonic
Federer’s quarter final didn’t start well for him as Wawrinka took a 4-1 lead and went on to take the set. The rain delays hadn’t been kind to Wawrinka and he was playing his third match in 3 days. He used up all his energy to take that opening set and was able to hang in there in sets 2, 3 and 4 but that’s all he could do.
Raonic’s confidence took a hit when he was broken in the first game of his match with Nishikori. He wasn’t able to save the set but raced to a 3-0 lead in set 2 and you could see that confidence flow back into him. Nishikori was troubled by blisters but Raonic played 3 excellent sets to close out the match. In the quarter final he faced Nadal-slayer Kyrgios who had enough energy left to take the opening set in a tie break but he faded after that.
Federer has won all 4 of his previous matches with Raonic. They haven’t played since the 2013 Australian Open which Federer won in straight sets but in the other 3 meetings Federer had to recover from losing the opening set to the Canadian.
Federer has a pretty good record over big servers but the sets tend to be very close. The big advantage that he has at Wimbledon is that Centre Court is practically his home court and the crowd love him. He has been in the semi finals on 8 previous occasions (although this is only his second in the last 5 seasons) so there are no surprises for him.
This is Raonic’s first slam semi final and nerves have to be a factor for him. He will need his serve to continue as it has been to keep him in the sets. He has an excellent chance of taking a set in a tie break although Federer’s record in tie breaks is very good on grass.
Federer starts at a fair 1.40 but I think we will see higher in the first set if Raonic can hold his serve together.
Federer in 4 sets seems most likely.