One major upset in Wimbledon 2012 seems to have made up for every expected result (according to seeds, atleast) so far. Rafael Nadal did not make it to the second week of the tournament, with his earlier exit (second round to Rosol) since Wimbledon 2005 (3rd round to Muller). The shockwaves that followed were phenomenal, with Federer almost falling prey to the hype next day in his third round game against Julien Benetteau.
Walk in the Park
After being two sets down, though, Federer went on to pull off his second come-from-behind victory in as many slams this year. This was in stark contrast to 2011, where he lost two matches (against Tsonga at Wimbledon and Djokovic at US Open) after being two sets up. This could mean something to his fans, who are the first to admit that he isn’t a comeback man. He finishes matches fast, whether he wins or loses. Djokovic, meanwhile, has cruised through to yet another semi-final, his 9 th consecutive semi final overall, almost unnoticed. He has had no problems so far.
Murray has huffed and puffed his way to yet another Wimbledon semi-final, his fourth consecutive year in the last 4. This time, arguably, he stands the best chance of moving into his first Wimbledon Final-with Nadal out of his draw. He faces the mercurial Frenchman Tsonga, who is in his second consecutive semi-final after upsetting Federer last year.
Apart from these usual suspects (World No. 1 v/s World no. 3) and World No. 4 v/s World No. 5, Del Potro will be particularly disappointed with his 4th round loss to Ferrer. Cilic is still failing to live upto his potential, after contesting the second longest Slam match in history in his 3 rd round win over American Sam Querrey, followed by a straight set loss to Murray. Raonic is yet to find his range, as is Goffin, who did well to reach the 3rd round.
The Royal Box, living upto its name
Semi 1: Novak Djokovic (1) v/s Roger Federer (3)
Though Federer is seeded 3 here, he is expected to climb up the rankings when they come out next week. What is interesting is that if he beats Djokovic here, and goes on to win the title- He will be back to the top. World No. 1 once again. Surely, that is motivation enough for the man on 285 weeks at No.1, one behind the great Sampras. Also, he is without a Slam for 2.5 years, an eternity in his books, and is due one last hurrah.
But in his way stands his biggest threat and recent bogie man, the Super Serb Novak Djokovic, who faces Federer in the final 4 for the third time in the last 4 slams. Federer will be looking to exact revenge over the Serb, after a humiliating straight set loss at Roland Garros a month ago. His record is still 14-12 against the Djoker, but he has lost 6 of the last 7 meetings. Clearly, the Serb’s star is on the rise. Djokovic can do no wrong. He seems to have found that formula against Federer, and goes in as favorite- even though these two players have NEVER faced eachother on grass before. While the surface is slower than the hard courts, where Federer does better against him, Djokovic will fancy himself on a surface that could be called Green Clay- with baseline endurance players dominating most rallies. There is a lot on the line for the Swiss Champion, but Djokovic is looking to win his 6 th Grand Slam in two years, and establish himself as favorite for the Gold Medal on this same surface a month later.
Please, Lord, be British this week
Few would argue against such form, but if there was ever a big stage for Roger Federer to keep his date with destiny for one final time, this is it.
Federer could take the Serb to 5 sets, but if he does, Djokovic could be favorite in the fifth. Therefore, Federer will win this high quality encounter in 4 explosive sets- with atleast 2 tie breaks.
Semi 2: Andy Murray (4) v/s JW Tsonga (5)
When Nadal went out to Rosol more than a week ago, the cheers that echoed through the dark gloomy skies had a distinctively British feel to it. Nadal had, after all, dismissed their favorite child from Wimbledon in the last 4 for two years in a row now, and Murray wasn’t getting any younger or better. The mental discipline that Murray lacks, seemed to have taken a turn for some good when he ALMOST beat Djokovic in a thrilling 5-setter at the Australian Open. But once again, the Brit fell agonizingly short on the biggest stage. Today, it could be his greatest chance to reach the Wimbledon final after 2009-where he inexplicably lost to Andy Roddick in the last four. Tsonga is still a massive opponent, and is a Grand Slam finalist, but Murray would take this clash anyday over a Nadal or Djokovic encounter. Tsonga, meanwhile, is in sparkling form dropping only a set on his way to the semis. He looks more consistent, but will have to play at his best to beat the Home Favorite in a battle of nerves, more than skill.
But the Lord is Serbian, no?
Murray will take this in straight sets, a sort of anti-climax to their form books. He has been coming through tough situations so often this week, and that could work in his favour against the Frenchman, who hasn’t really been tested yet.
Friday could be Federer and Murray’s greatest chance this year to reach the final and even win this Slam, with only Djokovic standing in their way. Only Djokovic, as Nadal seems to have found out over 7 painful Slams.