Friday, 6 July 2012

Who will win the Wimbledon semis?

For all those Brits who think Andy Murray will finally make a Wimbledon final just because he doesn’t have to face the imposing figure of Rafa Nadal in today’s semi-final showdown.  Think again, J-W Tsonga will be no walkover.  Today is the day we see what Andy is made of, he is playing with the hopes of a nation and all the pressure it entails.  He is playing to make the Wimbledon final for the first time, and the first time any Brit male has made it since god knows when.  On top of this he has to deal with the fact, this time he is the clear favourite to beat Tsonga, and as Federer found out last year, when Tsonga is on fire he is impossible to play on grass.

Tsonga has nothing to lose; he played admirably against Djokovic in the French Open last month losing in the fifth, after having four match points.  His game is more suited to the grass of Wimbledon, than the clay of Paris.  And must think if he can beat Murray, he definitely has the game and a chance to win the championships on Sunday (something that would have seemed impossible before Nadal’s exit).

Murray’s record against Tsonga is very good he has only lost once, their first match I think in the Australian Open back in 2008, when Tsonga made it to the final only to lose to Djokovic.  Murray should beat Tsonga today, he is more consistent, and has a great record against lower ranked players when reaching the sharp end of tournaments.  Tsonga is more of an anomaly, he can play hot and cold, when he is good he can be very good, when he is bad he can lose a set very quickly, it all depends which Tsonga turns up.

Hopefully by the end of the day we will see a Brit in the final of Wimbledon for the first time in an age, and then anything can happen.  Though there is a strong chance Tsonga may play the game of his life and beat Murray as he did in Australia four years ago. I would go 55-45 in favour of Murray.

The other semi, well what can you say that hasn’t already been said, Federer, Djokovic seems to happen so often these days in semis and Federer comes out the loser.  Today is slightly different, for one, Fed knows he will not have to play Nadal in the final.  Two he is going for a few records if he does beat Djokovic and then wins the final.  He will equal and then pass Sampras’s record of most weeks at number one; he is currently one week short.  He will equal Sampras record of seven Wimbledon’s; he will also increase his grand slam record to seventeen. 

In a strange way I get the impression destiny is on Federer’s side, when you see what he can accomplish by winning his favourite slam.  It’s like the cherry on top of a massive career cake of success.  No one could have foreseen after the defeat to Tsonga in last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinal, followed by the loss to Djokovic in the semis of the US, that Fed would ever again have a chance to become world number one.  Clearly he saw it differently as he won event after event, he entered many smaller tournaments and gained more points and now all his hard work over the last ten months can finally pay off. 

The big problem Federer has, before he can claim his glory and definitely end the argument about who is the greatest, is called Novak Djokovic.  I imagine Djokovic has quite a different idea of what glory is about to be presented.  He has an amazing record against the great Swiss winning seven of the last eight matches played, I think.  Though he is not playing as well as last year he still has the beating of everyone bar Nadal in five set tennis.  And if the game had finished on the Sunday and not been stopped, I suspect he would have beaten Nadal at Roland Garros.  Overall I still give Djokovic the edge to beat Federer even at Wimbledon and even though destiny beckons for the Swiss.  Given that because it is grass and because Fed has so much to play for I think it will be another tight affair.  This time I would go 52-48 in Djokovic’s favour.

Personally I feel Murray would prefer to play Djokovic in the final than Federer.  Don’t exactly know why, it’s just a feeling.  Murray will have total support against the Serbinator, whereas against Federer many people will still support the Swiss over the Scot.

Still as always it should be very interesting and fingers crossed by Sunday we actually see a Brit winning a slam and not just any old slam but Wimbledon.

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