Wimbledon 2015: All you need to know about the men’s semifinals3 min read . Updated: 10 Jul 2015, 06:59 PM IST
Novak Djokivic vs Richard Gasquet; Roger Federer vs Andy Murray; who will prevail?
It’s squeaky bum time at SW19! It’s down to the last four, as we head into the defining weekend of The Championships at Wimbledon this year. For those heading to Centre Court this Friday, the mouth-watering clash between world No. 2 Roger Federer and crowd favourite Andy Murray is what they’d call a dream semi-final. Federer will be competing in his 10th semi-final at Wimbledon, while Murray will make his sixth appearance in the last four. The clash is a repeat of the 2012 final, where Federer triumphed, equalling Pete Sampras’s record of seven Wimbledon title wins. The duo also met in the 2012 London Olympics final, but this time Murray emerged victorious, winning the gold medal.
In the other semi-final on Friday, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will be up against Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who dumped recently-crowned French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka en route to the semi-final. Djokovic is the defending Wimbledon champion, while Gasquet will be making his first semi-final appearance at SW19 since 2007.
Federer vs Murray
It could well be the classic the fans have been waiting for, given that both players are in prime form ahead of their clash and the head-to-head that separates the two. Federer enjoys a slight edge over Murray in the overall head-to-head, winning 12 against Murray’s 11. Both Murray and Federer have one win each on grass, but Federer, given his experience, has prevailed over Murray four times in grand slams, as opposed to Murray’s solitary win over the Swissman.
Federer, who is bidding for a record eighth Wimbledon title, has been enjoying a typically perfect run in the build-up to the semi-finals, with a couple of minor, really minor blips along the way—a solitary set dropped and just the one serve broken. The fourth round win against Roberto Bautista Agut was probably Federer’s best match in the tournament, just for the sheer performance that he put on show, a throwback to the Federer we knew, and loved watching. Federer beat Giles Simon in the last eight to reach the semis.
Murray too has been in fine form this Wimbledon, a result of a good run in the grass season leading into The Championships. He won the Queen’s comprehensively, and his tournament form thus far has been very convincing, making him a strong contender for the title, should he make the final. Murray, with all the pressure of being the crowd favourite, will be looking to put his A-game out, something he’s done throughout the tournament. Just like his opponent, Murray negotiated his opening rounds of the tournament with consummate ease, before dropping a set each against Italian Andreas Seppi in the fourth-round, and Croat Ivo Karlovic in the round of 16. Murray reached his sixth Wimbledon semis with a straight-sets victory over unseeded Canadian Vasek Pospisil.
Djokovic vs Gasquet
The draw against Gasquet will come as a mild relief for the reigning Wimbledon champion and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. In a classic five-setter, Frenchman Gasquet defeated Djokovic’s recent nemesis Wawrinka in the quarterfinal. Wawrinka defeated Djokovic in the recently concluded French Open final. In the 11 matches between Djokovic and Gasquet, the Serbian has the clear edge, having lost just one of those matches. In fact, Djokovic hasn’t lost to Gasquet since 2007. The pair recently met in the fourth round of the French Open, where Djokovic prevailed in straight sets, defeating Gasquet 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the next stage. But this time around, it might just be slightly different.
Gasquet’s displays in the Wimbledon thus far have been rather impressive—not just in the opening rounds, where he breezed through, but as he went along and tougher opponents came by, the Frenchman stepped up, overcoming them, even mentally. Gasquet is known to have “the most beautiful backhand in the game", even described as “balletic". Gasquet overcame Nick Kyrgios, Grigor Dmitrov and Wawrinka en route to the semis.
Djokovic, fresh from his French Open disappointment, began the tournament rather rusty and slow. However, as it went along, he has returned to what is known as championship form. After straight-set wins in the opening three rounds, Djokovic’s only major hiccup in the tournament came in the fourth round against promising South African youngster Kevin Anderson, when he came from two sets down to eventually win the match in five. That match against Anderson turned out to be the turning point for Djokovic as he rolled past Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals to set up a clash with Gasquet.
Djokovic undoubtedly goes into the clash as a firm favourite, given his all-round game, the sheer mental strength to put in clutch performances, and big match temperament, which has seen him prevail multiple times in the final rounds.