Thursday, July 09, 2015

2015 WIMBLEDON: Men's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the men's semifinals at the Wimbledon Championships for 2015. Last year I correctly predicted 2 of 2 men's semifinals and 1 of 2 women's semifinals. This year I correctly predicted correctly 2 of 4 women's quarterfinals, 2 of 2 women's semifinals and 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [4] Richard Gasquet (FRA) [23]. The #1 seed  has only lost two tiebreak sets in the first 5 matches played in his title defense here and is now rewarded with not having to face his good friend Stan Wawrinka (who denied him his most desired trophy last month) in order to reach his 4th Wimbledon final in the last five years. Wawrinka demonstrated with his inability to close out Richard Gasquet that despite winning two major tiles in the last 18 months it is still premature to talk about a "Big 5" at the top of men's tennis. The Frenchman, who still has the best one-handed backhand in tennis, was able to show his mental fortitude in a surprising (to some) 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-4 11-9 victory over the #4 seed. The win was only Gasquet's second in seventeen tries over Top 10 opponents but he is now undefeated in the three major quarterfinals of his career. Unfortunately, he is 0-2 in the two major semifinals (l. to Rafael Nadal at 2013 U.S. Open  and l. to Roger Federer at 2007 Wimbledon) he has contested. Unfortunately for him, he has to face Djokovic who has a 11-1 head-to-head advantage over him and as recently as last month beat him easily (6-1 6-2 6-3) at the French Open. I doubt this match will be that lopsided but the result will be the same. PREDICTION: Djokovic.

Andy Murray (GBR) [3] vs. Roger Federer (SUI) [2]. This is much more likely to be the more compelling semifinal of the two that will be played on Friday. The head-to-head between these two players is quite close (12-11 lead for Federer) and the two have not played so far in 2015 with Federer winning their last meeting 6-0 6-1 at the end of last year in London. The two have only played on grass twice despite meeting 23 times on tour, with Federer winning the 2012 Wimbledon title and Murray winning the Gold Medal match a few weeks later (both played on Centre Court at the All-England Club). Federer is playing in his record 37th major semifinal (25-11) while Murray is playing in his 17th major semifinal (8-all). It has to be acknowledged that Federer is the better "big match" player (which is sort of amusing to say considering that Murray won the biggest match of maybe any tennis player's career by ending Great Britain's long drought for a home grown champion in Wimbledon in 2013.) Murray was actually well on his way to winning their first meeting in the 2012 Wimbledon final when Federer was able to change tactics once the roof was closed in the second set and won the match in four. Murray has the better record than Federer so far this year (41-6 win-loss record compared to 34-6) but at this year's Wimbledon Federer has had his serve broken once and has faced only three breakpoints total. If they both play as well as they have played up to this point, I expect a repeat of last year's finalPREDICTION: Federer.

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