So we have come down to the best four players at this edition of Wimbledon. While three out of four are familiar faces, not many would have predicted the fourth semi-finalist.
For the first time in 20 years, there was a chance of the top four seeds making the semi-finals at Wimbledon and for much of the quarter-final matches, it seemed likely that we will have the traditional one vs four and two vs three as our semi-final line-up.
Richard Gasquet, however, had different plans. Eight years after he made his first (and only) semi-final appearance at the SW19, he's back for another fling with destiny. Even then, he knocked out a more fancied opponent (def. Andy Roddick) over five sets to face the then top seed (Roger Federer) in the last four. He now faces Novak Djokovic after beating Stan Wawrinka in five sets.
Both matches look similar on paper. Novak Djokovic & Andy Murray represent the current version of men's tennis. Supreme athletes with a baseline game to grind down opponents. Both have got good serves, outstanding forehands & maybe even better backhands.
Roger Federer & Gasquet symbolise the older tennis of working around opponents & working with finesse rather than power.
Novak Djokovic vs Richard Gasquet
Djokovic has dominated Gasquet in every match they have played except once in 2007 and that head to head record (12-1) is indicative of who the overwhelming favourite is.
However, Gasquet has played some really good tennis, something that he was always capable of, but with a newly built fitness & a new found temperament that few thought he possessed.
If Gasquet finds rhythm on his backhand then Novak could be in for a surprise. however, as well as Gasquet has played this Wimbledon, I doubt he'll cause much trouble to Novak who should be through in straight sets.
Roger Federer vs Andy Murray
This could be a clash worthy of a final. There aren't many challenges in tennis more difficult than beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon, especially in the semifinals where he has never lost before.
Murray has often played his best tennis at the All England club and has won his last two matches in the last four here ( 2012 & 2013). This will be a match decide by a lot of mini-battles. Murray's grit vs Federer's poise, Federer's serve vs Murray's retrieving abilities, Federer's net game vs Murray's passing, Federer trying to shorten the points while Murray looking to extend the rallies.
Their head to head record is also very close with Federer having the slightest of edges at 12-11 & this match should be no different. It might just come down to the playing conditions because Federer is impeccable under a roof while Murray has an advantage in open conditions.
The 2012 final between these two gave ample evidence of that when Murray won the first set under the open sky & Federer won the next three once the roof was closed.
So get ready with buckets of popcorn & sit back on your couches to enjoy the men's semifinals. A possibly close fought encounter followed by a pulsating match. There's no better way to bring in the weekend.
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