ATP Tour: Wimbledon Championships Semi-Finals

Wimbledon Championships Semi-Finals

We take a look at the ATP Tour's Wimbledon Championships semi-finals taking place on Friday 12 July 2019.

ATP Tour 2019 | Wimbledon Championships
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Men’s Semi-Finals - 12 July 2019

Roger Federer (23/20) 
vs Rafael Nadal (13/20)
So begins another chapter in one of the most celebrated sporting rivalries of all time. Think of the post-race confrontations between Prost and Senna, or the iconic clashes of Ali and Frazier. This will unbelievably be the 40th time that these titans of men’s tennis meet. Rafael Nadal brushed Sam Querrey aside with almost embarrassing ease. The Spaniard is aiming to capture his third Wimbledon title and first since 2008. His most difficulty came against the combustible Kyrgios, for whom a big serve and crunching forehand are paramount - remind you of anyone? Nadal’s serve has improved mightily since 2008 and he is certainly starting to look more like the complete grass-court player. But outside of Roland Garros, he has suffered some agonizing defeats to Federer and Nadal in recent times. It will be key for Nadal to take the initiative and not allow Federer a foothold in the match. 

Federer’s comeback victory over Nishikori saw him register his 100th Wimbledon victory. He will need to be mindful of giving Nadal any of the leeway that he offered Nishikori. Prior to that resounding defeat at Roland Garros, Federer had beaten the Spaniard in six consecutive matches. He seems to have found ways to combat the heavy topspin that Nadal deploys. Nishikori’s combustible energy levels have been the perfect preparation for facing the Spanish great. It doesn’t seem as if his renewed clay-court obligations haven’t affected his performance thus far. He looks as lithe as ever and has found tremendous success with a solidified backhand side. He currently leads Nadal 2-1 on grass, though their last meeting will offer little solace. That epic five-set defeat to Nadal in the 2008 final - regarded by many as the greatest ever tennis match - almost signalled the complete shift from Federer hegemony to this new triptych of power.

This is a tough one to unpack. In many ways, it would have made a fitting final looking at their respective performances thus far. And that is a strong testament to the longevity of these two superstars. In order for Federer to progress, he needs to start fast. He needs to win the first set more than Nadal does. I just have a sneaking suspicion that the Spaniard will persevere. 

Roberto Bautista Agut (6/1)
vs Novak Djokovic (1/12)

Novak Djokovic’s straight-sets victory over David Goffin had an ominous feel to it. It just seems as if the Serbian defending champion has got stronger and stronger as the tournament has progressed. The four-time champion’s decision to completely abstain from all grass-court tennis prior to Wimbledon was certainly the right decision, especially in the aftermath of that agonizing defeat to Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros. The Aussie Open Champion had a favourable draw with Federer and Nadal dominating the other section. Early results also saw the top seeds in his half whittled down dramatically. Though he is certainly one of the greatest players ever, you always feel that he’s fighting for the same recognition and praise lavished on Federer and Nadal.

Roberto Bautista Agut could be the answer to a trivia question one day. Who was the other man to qualify alongside the big three at the 2018 Wimbledon event? This is his first Grand Slam semi-final and follows a fairly steady stream of progression. Melbourne saw the Spaniard reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final and the Pella victory brought his year-to-date win-loss ratio to 28-11. Outside of Rafa Nadal, he is the first Spaniard to reach a Wimbledon semi-final since 1972. His victory over Guido Pella saw him hit 31 forehand winners. He is going to struggle to find the time to run around that backhand side and create the space to penetrate the court so effectively. In many ways, Djokovic plays a similar game to Bautista Agut, just with that extra cutting edge. However, Bautista Agut will have plenty of cause for optimism looking at recent results.

While Djokovic leads the head-to-head 7-3, Bautista-Agut has won their last two meetings. And more to the point, both of those defeats came this year. Those defeats at Doha and Miami took place on Agut’s preferred hard-courts. This will be their first ever meeting on grass but it’s really all academic. Despite this year’s results, Djokovic is the only winner here. But at 1/14, perhaps there’s something to be said for a four-set Djokovic victory at 24/10. Hurkacz did take a set off the champion earlier in the event and the Spaniard has good vibes against Djokovic of late.  

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets 

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