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PREVIEW: Wimbledon 2022 – Men’s Semi-Finals

South African-born Cameron Norrie to face Novak Djokovic in Wimbledon semi-finals. Nick Kyrgios reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon when the controversial Australian defeated Cristian Garin, he will face Rafa Nadal.

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South African-born Cameron Norrie to face Novak Djokovic in Wimbledon semi-finals. Nick Kyrgios reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon when the controversial Australian defeated Cristian Garin, he will face Rafa Nadal.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2022 ATP Tour
Grand Slam Tennis
Wimbledon Tennis Championships
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, England (Outdoor Grass-court)
Men’s Semi-Finals- 9th July

Novak Djokovic (1) (1/14) vs Cameron Norrie (9) (7/1)

Serbian legend Novak Djokovic will be up against a nation on Friday. It has been quite a surreal year for 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic. 2021 was arguably one of the biggest years of his career. He won five titles (three of which were slams).

He actually fell one match short of winning that coveted calendar slam. But this year obviously started with the ignominy of the Aussie Open vaccine saga. He only started the tour proper in Dubai and he has only won one title this year.

But he still looks to be the man to beat on grass. His marvellous come-from-behind victory against Jannik Sinner extended his grass-court winning streak to 26 matches.

This will actually be the 11th Aussie Open semi-final of the Serb’s illustrious career. Djokovic is used to playing the spoiler role and won’t give a fig that the partisan crowd will be rooting for Cameron Norrie.

SA-born Brit Cameron Norrie has become the first British man since Andy Murray in 2016 to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

The lefty had to show his renowned grit to overcome David Goffin in a five-set epic duel. That was the 2nd time in this tournament that the baseliner had to claw his way back from two sets to one down. Norrie betters Djokovic in the title stakes this year (he won titles in Delray Beach and Lyon).

But to be fair to Djokovic, Norrie was seeded first for both of those lesser-grade events. Norrie did win in Indian Wells last year (highlighting his ability to win in glorified company). But this is completely new Grand Slam territory for the pugnacious Norrie.

Prior to his exploits this year, Norrie had never progressed past the 3rd round of a Slam. Norrie is going to need all of that home-crowd fanaticism to overcome the Grand Slam intelligence of Djokovic.

The Verdict: Djokovic to win in straight sets at 52/100- Djokovic leads the head-to-head against Norrie 1-0, beating the Brit in straight sets at last year’s ATP Nitto Finals. Take a look at Norrie’s path to the semi-finals. He is yet to play a true top-class contender for this year’s title. The highest seeded player he has faced is 30th seed Tommy Paul.

Norrie will obviously enjoy fanatical home support and his groundstrokes have looked powerful all fortnight. But his serve is probably the weakest aspect of his game. And Djokovic is probably the greatest ever returner in the history of tennis. I expect virtually every Norrie service game to be a struggle.

Nick Kyrgios (63/100) vs Rafa Nadal (2) (12/10)

This is the one that we have been waiting for. Ever since the draw was announced, it was just a matter of which Nick Kyrgios would pitch up this year. And this has certainly been the most focused Kyrgios I have seen in a long time (if you exclude that Tsitsipas shocker).

This is unbelievably the first Grand Slam semi-final of Kyrgios’ entire career. That is almost criminal for a man of his talent (especially on grass). But you can’t deny that he has looked far more engaged this year. It probably helped that his quarterfinal opponent was clay-court specialist Cristian Garin.

He won 73 percent of his first-serve points against the Chilean. It was a more workmanlike performance than his devastating 2nd round win against Krajinovic. But his limited time on court may come in handy against a Nadal who could be dead on his feet.

Rafa Nadal has stated that there may be a chance he doesn’t take to the court for this semi-final. He was in noticeable physical discomfort during his epic come-from-behind win against the American Taylor Fritz.

Some were even speculating that his father was insisting he stop due to an abominable strain. But the Spanish bull pulled through the Fritz encounter with typical gusto.

How much of Nadal’s post-match doubts are part of his legendary mind games? Nadal hasn’t reached a final here since 2011 and that includes two straight losses in semi-finals. It is going to take an extraordinary effort from him to come back against long-time nemesis Nick Kyrgios.

The Verdict: Kyrgios to win in four sets at 32/10- I know it is tantamount to blasphemy to go against Nadal in a Grand Slam semi-final. But there are many factors in the Aussie’s favour here. Firstly, Kyrgios has always proven to be a thorn in Nadal’s side. Yes, Nadal holds a seemingly handsome 6-3 head-to-head record against the Aussie.

But many of those encounters have been nail-biting affairs. Kyrgios memorably won their first encounter in this very event. You then have to factor in Nadal’s undeniable injury issues. The 36-year-old can’t defy age forever. And Kyrgios has been simply sensational at times.

He will look to manoeuvrer Nadal around the court with his expert drop-shots. I think this is the Aussie’s chance to finally fulfil all that potential.

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