Wimbledon 2015 Semi-Finals Preview Federer Vs Murray Djokovic Vs Gasquet


Photo courtesy of nyt.com

The Wimbledon semi-finals feature a much anticipated clash between seven time Champion Roger Federer (2) and 2013 Champion Andy Murray (3) while defending champion Novak Djokovic (1) takes on 2007 semi-finalist Richard Gasquet (21). The Tennis Review previews the action and predicts the winners.

Roger Federer (2) Vs Andy Murray (3).

Head to head: Federer leads Murray 12-11 and has won their last three matches including a 6-0, 6-1 win over Murray at last season’s WTF in London. Federer also leads Murray 1-0 at Wimbledon, beating him in the 2012 final, and leads him 4-1 in Grand Slams. Murray, though, does have one big win over Federer on grass- the 2012 Olympic final which the Scot won in straight sets.

Form coming in: Neither man has really been pushed to their very best so far. Federer has had the smoother ride, dropping just one set to big-serving Sam Groth, and he got past the usually difficult for him Gilles Simon in straights in the previous round, but Simon was well below the form he had shown in his fourth round win over Berdych.

Murray has been patchy, and dropped sets to Karlovic and Seppi, his second serve proving to be a liability, and if Pospisil had a better return of serve, that match would likely have gone to four sets as well.

Who should win?: Murray is the bookies favourite, but Federer should win. This season he has played well on the tour’s quicker surfaces, beating Djokovic in Dubai, and winning in Halle.

Federer is also the better grass court player and is committed to being aggressive, playing at the net, and going for his shots.

The Swiss is also by far the better server- he has been broken only once, by Simon in his last match, since playing Phillip Kohlschreiber in the first round of Halle three weeks ago- and the energy he will save cruising through his service games can be spent on trying to break Murray. That might not prove to be too hard either as the Scot has been struggling with his serve all fortnight.

Federer also has the edge when it comes to the game’s most vital deciding factor- mental toughness. Federer is world no.2, has 3 wins over Djokovic the past 12 months, and has, throughout his career, proven to be mentally tougher than Murray who has, more often than not, succumbed to the pressure in big matches against his biggest rivals. Federer’s superior mental toughness should enable him to take charge of this match by the second set and finish it without any undue fuss.

Murray could win if: Federer has had his off days over the last few years in Slams, most notably against Ernests Gulbis at Roland Garros ’14 and Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open this season. If Murray sits back at the start of the match, as he tends to do, feeling out his opponent’s level and then adjusting his game accordingly,  and sees Federer is below par then he will be ready to strike.

Murray also has a chance if he can stay with Federer during any of the Swiss’ peak periods and if he can use his defensive skills to get enough balls back in the lulls for Federer to start making errors and drop a set or two. The longer the match goes on, the more of a chance Murray has to win as Federer’s first serve starts to wane and Murray, whose return is one of the game’s best, gets a chance to grab a decisive break in the fifth set.

Prediction: Federer to win in four sets.

Novak Djokovic (1) Vs Richard Gasquet (21)

Head to head: Djokovic leads Gasquet 12-1, losing just one match to him back in the 2007 WTF. In his 12 wins, Djokovic has dropped just 2 sets to  Gasquet. They have played twice at Grand Slams, both times at Roland Garros, including this year. This is their first ever meeting on Grass.

Form going into the match: Djokovic struggled against a big server, as he is prone to do, when he went five sets against Kevin Anderson in the fourth round. However, Anderson was on form going into the match and has rarely played better in a slam than he did in the first few sets of that match.

Against another big server, Marin Cilic, in the quarters, Djokovic cruised to victory and did not have to go into his upper gears. Gasquet, meanwhile, had to go up a few gears to win the fifth set of his match versus Wawrinka 11-9, and also had to play his best to beat Nick Kyrgios in four sets in round three.

Who should win? Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite here. He may not be the greater grass court player- grass brings out the best in Gasquet whose defensive game, slicing and volleying skills come to the fore on the surface- but he has the greater all surface game, vastly superior athleticism, and is by far and away the better big match player.

Gasquet will win if: He plays the kind of inspired tennis he showed in the fifth set versus Wawrinka and Djokovic has not just a bad day but one of the worst in his career.

Prediction: Djokovic to win in straight sets.

Commentary by Christian Deverille

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