Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will bring the curtain down on the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. It’s been another awesome Wimbledon although I can’t hide my disappointment at the two men’s semi-finals that took place on Thursday. In the first match, Djokovic edged Grigor Dimitrov in four sets, 6-4 3-6 7-6(2) 7-6(7). It was an insanely weird match that saw both players, especially Dimitrov, slipping and sliding all over the place like they were on an ice rink. The match made you think there was something wrong with the court surface, but after watching the second semi-final, I think it was just Novak and Grigor!
Djokovic looked out-of-sorts for much of the match as he blew several leads and frequently left the door open for Dimitrov to make a comeback. Djokovic was intent on coming to the net, but he looked incredibly uncomfortable and unsure of himself up there. Dimitrov had a fine chance to push this into a fifth setter, but was unable to convert on a 6-3 lead in the fourth set tiebreak. To Novak’s credit, he pulled it out of the bag in the end. He was helped out though with a delightful slice of cake from Dimitrov, who double faulted at 6-6. All in all, this was a fantastic tournament for Dimitrov and if he keeps this form up, he will be a dead cert for the World Tour Finals in London.
In the second semi-final, Federer produced a remarkably efficient display to beat Milos Raonic, 6-4 6-4 6-4 with NO tiebreaks. Milos played three poor service games and that was the match. Federer played a great match and it felt much like the Fed of old when he used to just turn it on at the end of sets. It was an incredibly predictable affair and disappointing, at least from a viewing perspective, that Milos wasn’t able to make one of the sets competitive.
I’m excited about this Federer v Djokovic final. There are a few crazy stats about this final that I noticed on Twitter…
Federer leads the H2H with Djokovic 18-16. They have played three times in 2014 and Federer has won two of those encounters. My favourite of those three encounters was the final they played in Indian Wells. It was a tremendous contest, full of fabulous shot making that Djokovic won in a third set tiebreak, 3-6 6-3 7-6(3). Djokovic’s one win is sandwiched by Federer victories in Dubai (3-6 6-3 6-2) and in Monte-Carlo (7-5 6-2). In that last match, Djokovic was clearly bothered by a wrist injury. All three of their matches have featured some of the year’s best tennis, which is an encouraging prospect for the third Grand Slam of the year.
The contrast in styles and a little edge that persists between Roger and Novak will make this a fascinating finale. Of the “big four” match-ups, it is easily the most watchable. After watching their semi-final matches, Federer is playing the better tennis, which automatically makes me feel wary. However on grass, I think Federer has a pretty hefty edge. He’s not won a Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2012, but equally, Djokovic has been on a barren run and endured some crushing losses at the Grand Slams in the past two years…
2014 French Open Final: Nadal d. Djokovic 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4
2014 Australian Open QF: Wawrinka d. Djokovic, 2-6 6-4 6-2 3-6 9-7
2013 US Open F: Nadal d. Djokovic, 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1
2013 Wimbledon F: Murray d. Djokovic, 6-4 7-5 6-4
2013 French Open SF: Nadal d. Djokovic, 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7(3) 9-7
That loss at the French Open to Nadal in 2013 was huge for Djokovic’s confidence. I’m not saying Djokovic hasn’t played well at these Grand Slams, but all of these losses must have been tough to take for someone of his calibre. So who is going to win? Normally I am all woolly and find it difficult to pick someone. This time round, I feel quite confident in going for Federer.
Prediction: Federer d. Djokovic in 4 sets