- Djokovic vs Gasquet
The first semi-final today was the defending champion Djokovic up against Gasquet and as most expected Djokovic won, in straight sets, 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4. I was surprised to see some people go for Gasquet in our predictions game. Certainly not the kind of match I would take a risk on. That said, Gasquet was a factor, at least in the first set. Djokovic got the early break but handed the break right back. Gasquet was playing well and crushing some gorgeous one-handed backhand winners.
Djokovic, on the other hand, was making too many unforced errors. At 4-4 and 0-15, on the Djokovic serve, came a key moment when Gasquet missed an easy overhead which would have put Djokovic under a lot of pressure at 0-30. The set came down to a tie-break and Djokovic raised his game to take it 7-2. Gasquet was no doubt a threat in the first set and had he won it he could have put doubt in Djokovic’s mind, but once he dropped it, it was basically one-way traffic.
It’s been a great run, but…
In the second set, Djokovic had a chance to go up a double break but failed, and in his next service game he almost dropped serve again like in the first set but managed to hang on. After that, it was pretty straight forward for the Djoker. I definitely don’t think it was Djokovic’s best tennis, but you can hardly fault him after winning in straight sets. He didn’t need to play his best tennis anyway. The best parts of his game were probably the two most improved things namely his serve and volleys.
I’m sure he will raise his game for the final, but it won’t be enough.
- Federer vs Murray
This was the most anticipated semi-final which I’m sure is why they scheduled it second. And it didn’t disappoint. Not from Federer’s perspective anyway. He was absolutely flawless in a 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 victory. Murray actually did everything I thought he should do to win the match, but Federer was at his unplayable best which I didn’t expect. At 6-5 in the first set, he came up with a piece of genius at 15-15 on Murray’s serve when he hit a ridiculous backhand passing shot.
Then at 30-15 he implemented his gameplan to attack the Murray serve to the T as he ran around a second serve and drilled a forehand winner inside out. That gave him two set points and soon Murray found himself a set down. In the second set it looked like Federer would break at 5-4 when he had Murray at 0-40 on his serve but Murray did extremely well to get back to deuce and save two more set points to even up at 5-5. That was an extremely tense game which you thought might determine the outcome of the match.
…this is the shot that will win Federer a record eighth Wimbledon title.
But it meant nothing. At 6-5 Federer just came up with another genius backhand flick pass cross-court and broke to go up two sets to love. He was in that mood where the opponent can do nothing. Murray didn’t get down on himself to his credit, but Federer’s serve was beyond unplayable. There was just no chance at all for Murray to break despite being a great returner, and Djokovic won’t be able to break either. I don’t care if you are the best returner of all time. There is simply nothing that can be done against that kind of serving.
Soon the pressure told again as Federer broke Murray again at 5-4 to win the final set. Thanks for coming. You played a great match, but nothing you could have done could have changed your fate, short of breaking one of Federer’s limbs. Simply remarkable tennis from Federer in all areas. Even the forehand was back to it’s best. Federer kept Murray under pressure with a constant barrage of offensive tennis which also forced him into several unforced errors.
- Final Preview
As I already hinted, my mind is made up for the final result. I think Djokovic will raise his game for the final, but it won’t be enough. Federer will win 99% certain. I’ll tell you why. You have the world’s best server up against the world’s best returner. It makes for a great matchup, but on a faster surface the best version of the server will always come out on top against the best version of the returner. It is simple math. Just as the returner will come out on top against the server on a slower surface.
If it was slow hard court Djokovic would have won. But Federer is the aggressor and on grass aggressive tennis pays off. Djokovic is a tremendous returner and defender, but it simply does not pay off as much as an unplayable serve and aggressive tennis on a grass court. We have seen it at Shanghai and Dubai and we will see it again on Sunday. The only hint of a hope Djokovic has is if he has another big serving and volleying day. And then he has to hope the match goes to five sets again.
But I don’t see it. Last year the match already went down to the wire, and this year Federer is playing way better. There really can be only one winner here and I want to congratulate the Fedfans who stuck it out with Fed. It’s going to be something very special as I have already noted. It was Federer’s destiny from the beginning to hold the record at the most prestigious tournament in the world. You cannot deny destiny. It is what it is. It is set in stone. It is like the sun that will come up tomorrow.
I feel sorry for Djokovic and I sometimes wish tennis was not so predictable. I have become a fan of late and I wanted him to win Wimbledon after what happened in Paris, but now he will lose in a second consecutive slam final to an unplayable Swiss and have a negative record in slam finals. But that’s tennis and life. I still have tremendous respect for how he mastered Nadal, something even the great Federer could not do.
- The Prediction Game
I haven’t adjusted the rankings yet and checked the scores, but I know Joe predicted that both Djokovic and Federer will win in straight sets so he will get 18 points. I will edit this post once I’ve added up the scores to congratulate the winner like I did last time. As far as our final match goes I will make my first prediction as far as the winner and number of sets go. I’m gonna go for Federer in four sets, although it could easily be straight sets. So if I was you I’d predict one of those two.
Edit: Ok I added up the points and Joe did indeed win with 18 points. Congrats! A lot of people predicted Djokovic in straight sets, but it sure took some risk to predict Federer in straights against Murray. With these points, Joe is back in the lead but only by one point over Nakul. It’s very close at the top and still anybody’s game. It will be interesting to see who wins the first tournament, and the prestigious Wimbledon at that! Also, don’t forget to check the points in case I made an error.
The is in your court.