Friday, July 05, 2013

2013 WIMBLEDON: Men's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the men's semifinals at the Wimbledon Championships for 2013. Last year I correctly predicted 2 of 2 men's semifinals and correctly predicted 2 of 2 women's semifinals. This year I have correctly predicted 2 of 2 women's semifinals and 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs. David Ferrer (ESP) [4] Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [8]. The inexorable march to a final between the two best players in the world continues. This match is between the two players in the tournament who through five rounds of play are the only two to win 15 sets each without losing any. This is the 12 professional meeting between Del Potro and Djokovic and although Djokovic has a healthy 8-3 lead the most important match the two have played, the Bronze Medal match from last year's year's London Olympics, was won by the 6'6" Argentine. I think it is very significant that Del Potro was able to win that match, since it was on grass and played at the same venue as Wimbledon.
These facts provide Del Potro with a reasonable source for the belief that he can win this match, as does his straight set demolition of David Ferrer, an opponent whom he now only has lifetime 3-6 deficit against. However, Del Potro is playing in his first Wimbledon semifinal while Djokovic is playing his 6th which is also his 3rd Wimbledon semifinal in the last 3 years--a period which includes his run to the title in 2011.  However, there's a reason Djokovic is the world #1 and is approaching the prime of what appears to be a career which could potentially rival Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (Djokovic has now made 17 major quarterfinals in a row and 13 major semifinals in a row. To put it simply, Del Potro is a very good player, but it is becoming increasingly clear that Djokovic is a great one. Nevertheless, I am quite confident that del Potro will take at least one set from Djokovic but I'm finding it hard to imagine how he will win three in the same match. PREDICTION: Djokovic.

Roger Federer (SUI) [3] Jerzy Janowicz (POL) [24] vs. Andy Murray (GBR) [2].  The great hope of Great Britain to win its home slam tournament has now reached the semifinals for the last 5 years in a row. Last year was the first time he was able to win a Wimbledon semifinal, defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Previously he had lost to Nadal twice (2010 and 2011) and Andy Roddick once (2009). Jerzy Janowicz is by the far a much lower ranked played than Murray could have imagined he would be facing to reach his second Wimbledon final. After all, both Nadal and Federer were in his haf of the draw, but neither of the Greats made it past the first Wednesday of the tournament!
Janowicz is the first Polish male player to reach a major semifinal, having won relatively easily the first quarterfinal between men from the same country at Wimbledon since 2000. He is a full-fledged phenom: 22-years-old, 6-foot-8 and moves like a much shorter man but serves like someone even taller! He announced his arrival in the upper echelon of tennis last November when he beat Murray in 3 tough sets on an indoor hard court at the Paris Masters. That win should give the youngster the idea that it is possible that he could thrill Poland while dashing the hopes of England by winning on Friday. Murray clearly did not play his best tennis on Wednesday, dropping the first two sets to Fernando Verdasco before coming back for only the 7th time in his professional career to win a 5-set match from a 0-2 set deficit. However, those were the only two sets that Murray has lost all tournament long. I suspect the Brit will right the ship pretty quickly and give us the Djokovic-Murray major final we have seen at the 2012 US Open (won by Muray) and the 2013 Australian Open (won by Djokovic). PREDICTION: Murray. 

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