While all of the upsets, withdrawals, injury retirements and early first round exits may have opened up the doors to those in tennis not designated as “The Big Four,” things are actually still playing out almost to form. Especially considering that both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, the two pre-tournament favorites, remain in the draw and are one win away from facing each other for tennis’ ultimate crown, the Wimbledon title.
The most notable name that was missing from the Wimbledon quarterfinals was Roger Federer. A seven-time champion at Wimbledon, Federer entered the tournament coming off of a record-setting 36th consecutive grand slam quarterfinal, reached at this year’s French Open.
Shockingly to all, including oddsmakers that had Federer at 5/1 odds to take home the title, the Swiss phenomenon and defending champion was eliminated in four sets, all of which went to a tiebreak, in just the second round. It was Federer’s worst grand slam performance since the 2003 French Open and his worst Wimbledon performance since first winning it in 2002.
Federer was not the only big name to fail to make the second week. Following his own record-breaking eighth championship and fourth in a row, at the courts of Roland Garros, the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal was shocked in a straight sets first round loss. Like Federer, Nadal was one of the oddsmakers’ favorites. In fact, at 7/2, Nadal’s chances to win were exactly the same as Murray’s.
Obviously the expectation was that once again these four would clash in the two semifinals, but with Nadal’s fifth seeding that couldn’t have happened anyway.
But instead of Murray and Djokovic facing Federer and Nadal, the other two semifinalists are 2009 US Open winner, Juan Martin Del Potro (40/1) and Poland’s own Jerzy Janowicz, who was not even listed in the betting at the start.
The expectation is that Murray will dispatch Janowicz and Djokovic dismiss Del Potro, en route to a very much expected, Murray-Djokovic final. However, Murray did need five sets to defeat Fernando Verdasco (400/1 at the beginning) and with the way top seeds fell early, anything can happen.
Andy Murray v. Jerzy Janowicz Preview
Winning Wimbledon for Andy Murray would be the pinnacle of what any boy from Great Britain that grows up playing tennis could dream of. He did finally win his first grand slam after numerous attempts at last year’s US Open and was victorious in the 2012 Olympic gold medal match on the hallowed lawns of the All-England Club, but he has not yet tasted Wimbledon glory. And for Murray, this is the one he really wants.
In order to get it however, Murray will first have to get through 22-year-old upstart, Jerzy Janowicz, who he has faced twice, both on hard courts. Each have won a game in their head-to-heads.
Both Murray and Janowicz reached the semis after pretty easily dispatching their opponents. Both only needed one five setter, with Murray’s coming in a back-against-the-wall situation in the quarterfinals and Janowicz’s coming a round earlier.
Janowicz, now in the top 20 for the first time in his career, has been said to have a big game, with the ability to really overpower an opponent. His biggest asset is his serve which has hit up to 140mph on the gun during Wimbledon. It routinely sits at about 126mph.
Poland’s first ever grand slam semifinalist, Janowicz also leads all players this tournament with 94 aces, an average of about 18 a match. He is winning 84% of points on his first serve as well.
Against Murray, it will truly be a match of power versus finesse. Murray is not a guy to clog up stat sheets with high speed serves and a massive amount of winners. But he is a skill player from top-to-bottom and most importantly, Murray is a competitor. He does everything so well and moves so fluently on the court.
- Murray is favored at 2/11 (-550) odds at BetOnline & Bovada while Janowicz can be backed at over 4/1 with BetOnline. It should be an entertaining contest but in the end, Scotland’s native son can get the win. Murray is a grinder and against someone like Janowicz, he should have a significant edge and should win in no more than four sets.
Novak Djokovic v. Juan Martin Del Potro Preview
Had he not have been derailed by a series of wrist injuries, Juan Martin Del Potro might have been on track to meet Novak Djokovic in a grand slam final and not a semi.
But as it stands, the two will face off in what should be the more entertaining and more tightly contested semifinal of the Wimbledon Championships.
As expected, Djokovic had absolutely no trouble reaching his fourth consecutive Wimbledon semifinal. In fact, throughout the tournament, Djokovic didn’t drop a set and didn’t look in danger of dropping one either. In fact, compared to his semifinal opponent, Djokovic actually had a tougher road to the semis having faced three seeds, including #13 Tommy Haas and #7 Tomas Berdych.
Del Potro, who has struggled in slams in the past few years, is back in a semifinal for the first time since winning his only major title at the 2009 US Open.
Seeming to finally be healthy again, Del Potro is once again showing why some thought he could challenge the reign of the “Big Four.” In fact, building off of last year’s results, Del Potro has reached the quarters or better in four of his last six slams.
Known for his offensive style of play and one of the most powerful forehands in the game, Del Potro is another guy considered to be a power player. His height, 6’5, enables him to really crank up his serves which has helped him to this point.
However, it is widely known that Djokovic is the best returner in the game and can handle just about anything and any speed that comes his way.
- Leading their head-to-head 8-3, Djokovic looks to once again have the advantage here. He is favored at 2/15 with Bovada while Del Potro sitting is best at 4.75/1 (+475) with BetOnline. While the Argentine has been playing some of his best tennis and should give Djokovic some trouble, the former Wimbledon champ is playing even better.
It looks pretty good at this point that it will all play out to form, so expect Djokovic and Murray to meet in Wimbledon’s championship final.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.