Despite the early tournament carnage, the men’s semi finals both look competitive on paper. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray made it as expected while Juan Martin Del Potro finally ended his awful run against David Ferrer. Jerzy Janowicz took advantage of Federer and Nadal’s exit to become the first Polish male semi finalist ever in a Grand Slam.
Novak Djokovic has yet to drop a set in his run to the semi finals and looks in the best grass court form of his career right now. Tricky opponents Tommy Haas and Tomas Berdych were both defeated in straights but really should have at least won one between them. Despite the quality of tennis Djokovic is displaying, he is vulnerable to a streaky player. Berdych in particular, with part thanks to a flat start from Djokovic, took a double break lead in the second set but once more showed his mental frailties when put under pressure by Djokovic.
Although the head to head doesn’t make the greatest of reading, Juan Martin Del Potro may not suffer from the same problem. He has wins over Djokovic in the past two years, including last year on the grass at the Olympics. After a heartbreaking defeat to Roger Federer in the semi finals, he bounced back to win the bronze medal match.
What really will decide how great the chances are of Del Potro winning though is the status of his bad knee. Already heavily strapped pre-match, he suffered a concerning fall early in the quarter finals against David Ferrer. However, it didn’t stop him winning surprisingly easy over the Spaniard but Djokovic poses a far bigger test.
Djokovic in 4
Janowicz’s historic run to the semis has been one of the stories of the Championships, even if the draw opened wide for him to take advantage. He is much more aggressive and high intensity than your usual big man, although he does possess the usual booming serve – which has currently topped out at 140mph this fortnight.
He looked at home on centre court in his win over Nicolas Almagro in straight sets but struggled a bit against a more tactically astute player in Jurgen Melzer, although he eventually came out on top in a tough five setter. There is no doubting the weapons of Janowicz but against Murray it may be a step too far at least this year unless the 2012 finalist repeats his incredibly flat performance from the early sets of his victory over Fernando Verdasco.
Errors plagued the usually solid Murray but he showed toughness to make it through. It was worrying that Verdasco was allowed to dictate so much although Janowicz may not yet possess the consistency to stay tough in the rallies with Murray. 30 aces helped Janowicz defeat Lukasz Kubot in the quarters but against Murray that weapon will be neutralised to some extent but will be vital to help him get out of trouble on pressure points. It will be an exciting encounter nonetheless and is incredibly refreshing that one of the “next generation” has made the breakthrough in getting this deep in the tournament.
Murray in 3 tight sets