Can the top faves prevail to set up a thrilling showdown? Or will the new guns upset the odds? Find out as we analyse both semi-finals and serve up our tennis picks.
The Changing of the Guard
It’s down to Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to stop the changing of the guard coming to fruition at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. Djokovic is on course for a seventh Grand Slam title while Federer is on course for a record 18th Grand Slam title. Rising stars Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic however might have a say in the matter, which if successfully accomplished by one or the other (or both) would signal the changing of the guard, a phenomenon that has been a talking point for several seasons.
Djokovic leads Wimbledon betting markets as the top favourite at -125 to win outright while Federer, the King of Grass, is matched at +250 to win outright. Grigor Dimitrov is tipped at +650 and finally Milos Raonic is matched at +800 to win outright; for both it is a first-ever Grand Slam semi-final.
-450 vs. Dimitrov +333
Analysis: Novak Djokovic emerged into the semi-finals after persevering in a five-set marathon over Marin Cilic. The Serbian starlet didn’t have it easy as he had to come back from 1-2 sets down to win in five. Indeed, Wimbledon betting markets, still reeling from the upsets of defending champion Andy Murray (quarterfinals) and Rafael Nadal (fourth round), appeared to be on the very of another seismic shockwave.
Prior to the quarterfinals, Novak Djokovic appeared to be coasting through his section of the draw. Only Radek Stepanek managed to take a set off him in the second round. So good was his form up to the quarterfinals that Djokovic (2011 Wimbledon champion) continued to lead the market to win outright. He started brightly against Cilic, winning the first set 6-1. Then, all of a sudden, Cilic raised his game and took it to Djokovic, winning the next two sets. In the fourth set, however, Djokovic righted the ship and went on to win the last two sets 6-2, 6-2.
Grigor Dimitrov claimed the biggest scalp of this year’s Wimbledon when he upset Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. The Bulgarian rising star played some inspired tennis to win in straight sets, to the utter shock and disappointment of a subdued home crowd that could only muster up polite applause as the carnage unfolded. Dimitrov thoroughly outplayed, outmuscled and outwitted Murray on the court. He pulled out all the stops, displaying versatility, variety and athleticism and, most particularly, his one-handed backhand in unbridled glory.
Tennis Betting Verdict: Following Dimitrov’s resounding victory over Murray, Wimbledon backers are pounding the Bulgarian’s odds to not only beat Djokovic at +333 in match betting markets but also his +650 odds to win outright. Experts are suggesting a changing of the guard is in the air and tennis bettors are buying into the idea with the Bulgarian in mind. Fact is he can beat Djokovic as well if he plays the way he did against Murray. He’s got bags of confidence since he joined up with Roger Rashid and it’s starting to yield results on court. Dimitrov trails 1-3 against Djokovic lifetime; his lone victory came in Madrid last year when he beat Djokovic 7-6(6), 6-7(8), 6-3. This is their first-ever meeting this season and first at a Grand Slam. Can he back up his big win over Murray with his biggest win yet in order to reach the final? He has the wherewithal to do it, but it remains to be seen if he can make use of it.
Tennis Free Picks: Dimitrov to win at +333 and in four sets or five sets at +800 or +900, respectively
Federer -333 vs. Raonic +250
Roger Federer reaches the semis with a four-set win over Stanislas Wawrinka. He takes on rising star Milos Raonic in the semis, after the Canadian beat Nick Kyrgios (another rising star who beat Nadal) in the quarters. In fact, the pair of rising stars denied the Wimbledon crowds and tennis fans the world over what they’d been hankering after the most, a re-match between Federer and Nadal in the semis, which would have been their first date at Wimbledon since the epic final they played in 2008, to date one of the best matches in the history of the game.
Federer enters this clash as the firm favourite at -333 to win outright, a market cast underscored by his relatively comfortable run through the tournament. He’s only dropped one set (to Wawrinka) in five matches while barely looking threatened in any. There’s also the fact that Federer’s won seven Wimbledon titles (2003-07, 2009 and 2012). Standing in his way of bidding for an incredible eighth title is Raonic, a player he’s owned in four meetings. Raonic arrives in the semi-finals relatively unchallenged – he’s benefited from some high-profile upsets in his section of the draw, namely avoiding Rafael Nadal. Of course, he can’t help it if top players don’t make it through, but the lack of a truly high profile win over the course of his run could work against him.
Tennis Betting Verdict
Federer looks to be in vintage form at the moment. What’s more, he’s hungry and determined to win an eighth title at a Grand Slam – a feat only accomplished by Nadal. Federer has a keen sense of history and his place within it. It matters to him to equal Nadal, surely.
Federer has to be extremely confident against Raonic knowing he’s beaten the big-serving Canadian four times already. Not that Raonic is a player to underestimate when he served up 39 aces against Kyrgios. But that’s exactly the crux of the matter. He can only hurt Federer with his serve and, maybe, his forehand. Federer’s complete game, versatility and variety so far has been up to the challenge. So it should still be.
Tennis Free Picks: Federer to win at -333 in straight sets at +138 or four sets at +275