WE were a little unlucky in the Wimbledon semi finals in the sense that three of the four sets played out between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were fairly typical of their career series, but the one that wasn’t ended in a first set tie break.
That rather edgy first set downed our no tie breaks wager, but anyone that took a chance on the 3-1 win for Novak Djokovic that I suggested at 3.75 in the other semi final would have enjoyed a nice winner.
We’ve made a fair profit of just over three points on the daily bets so far this Wimbledon and on Sunday we have the final that seemed the most likely one at the outset.
Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer
I said at the start of the two weeks at the All England Club that it was hard to see past Djokovic winning the title and I’m sticking to that ahead of the 48th career clash between these two superstars.
Federer, as I said could happen in my semi final preview, raised his level quite a few notches from previous rounds against Rafael Nadal to take down the Spaniard and move through to a 12th Wimbledon singles final.
I didn’t fancy backing him to do so mainly due to his age and the form that Nadal had shown up until that point, but it was a rather muddled performance from Nadal, who didn’t return well and failed to show that same form other than in patches.
And the same applies again in the final, with the soon-to-be-38-year-old having to come back from a tough battle, physically and emotionally, against his old rival just to make the final.
Fed is yet to beat Nadal and Djokovic at the same major and it goes against all precedent that he’s still out there producing a high level against the world’s best at his age.
Whether that Nadal battle will have any effect on Federer in the final I’m not sure, but in any case he has his work cut out against an opponent that’s ultra solid, makes very few mistakes and is almost six years younger.
Djokovic has won eight of the last 10 meetings between this pair and key to his success over the Swiss in those matches and in their two Wimbledon finals (in 2014 and 2015) is the respective amount of second serve points won.
The Serb is able to defend his second delivery quite a lot more effectively than Federer, as the numbers show.
When Djokovic beat Federer in the 2014 final he won 65% of his second serve points (Federer 44%) and a year later Djokovic won 60% on his second ball (Federer 48%).
And those two wins were against a Federer serving at 69% and 66% of first serves in and of course four to five years younger than now.
If we take their last 10 main level clashes on all surfaces we see that it’s a similar story, with Djokovic winning 62.2% on his second serve and Federer 49%.
The Serb has also held serve 10% more often at 90% to Federer’s 80%, so it’s largely the disparity on second serve points won that has tipped the balance in Djokovic’s favour in this career series lately.
Fed has also struggled to convert break points against Djokovic, with the Swiss taking a mere 23% of his break chances in their last 10 clashes and just 14% in that 2015 Wimbledon final.
I’d probably want a bigger price before backing the Swiss here, as he’s a 2.50 chance today, which isn’t much bigger than four years ago when he was a 2.26 shot to beat Djokovic in that Wimbledon final.
It’s certainly not an impossible ask for Federer – few things are on a tennis court for this man – but he’ll have to play not far off flawless tennis and for a sustained period to beat Djokovic and I’d want better odds on that happening at his age after a tough semi final battle.
History suggests that Federer simply has to win the opening set to have much of a chance against this opponent, with Djokovic winning 18 of their 19 matches when he’s taken the opening set (and all six at Grand Slam level), so Djokovic to win the first set and the match at a shade of odds-against is an option, along with Djokovic to win or Djokovic to win 3-1 at 4.25.
- 0.5 points win Djokovic to beat Federer 3-1 (4.25, Unibet)