Wimbledon Tennis 2013 Semifinals: Preview and Predictions for Men's Draw
After five rounds of action at Wimbledon 2013, we'll finally be treated to the semifinal matchups we all predicted at the tournament's start nearly a week-and-a-half ago.
OK, so few probably predicted that Jerzy Janowicz and Juan del Potro would be here. But Andy Murray and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic are still alive, which sets up two intriguing David vs. Goliath scenarios on opposite ends of the draw.
Can Djokovic earn a shot at a second Slam victory in 2013? Can Murray return to the Wimbledon final for the second consecutive year? Or will Janowicz or del Potro pull off the upset and disrupt the No. 1 vs. No. 2 final?
Novak Djokovic vs. Juan del Potro
How They Got Here
Novak Djokovic entered the tournament as the No. 1 player in the world and he hasn't done anything to disprove that distinction at Wimbledon.
The Serbian superstar has dominated every opponent he's faced, from his opening match against Florian Mayer to his quarterfinal performance against Tomas Berdych. He has yet to even drop a set at the All England Club.
As ESPN Stats & Info points out, Djokovic's serve has been a key to his domination in the bracket. He's been nearly unbreakable.
Novak Djokovic was broken in 1st 2 service games of 2nd set by Tomas Berdych; in 1st 4 rounds, he was broken 2 times in 57 service games— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 3, 2013
Overshadowed by the greatness of Djokovic has been an equally impressive run by del Potro. Like Djoker, he has yet to drop a single set at Wimbledon and picked up a quality win against David Ferrer in the quarterfinals.
As Sports Illustrated's Beyond the Baseline account noted on Twitter, del Potro almost withdrew from the tournament due to injury. Winning against an opponent like Ferrer on a less-than-perfect bill of health at this stage of the tournament is as impressive performance as we've seen this fortnight.
Del Potro says he was "really close" to pulling out. Credits "magic pills" from the doctor. Says it was his "best tennis" of tourney.— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) July 3, 2013
Del Potro's success throughout the tournament can't be denied. His serve will allow him to challenge Djokovic more than he's been challenged in England.
However, it's difficult to pick against the favorite. Del Potro sufficiently gutted out the leg injury against Ferrer to be successful enough, but Wimbledon has always been Ferrer's worst Slam and Djokovic truly thrives on the grass court.
Del Potro will steal a set, but it won't be enough to derail the Djoker from claiming another finals berth.
Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
Jerzy Janowicz vs. Andy Murray
How They Got Here
When we look back on this year's Wimbledon tournament, the emergence of Jerzy Janowicz as the next generation's first Grand Slam contender may be the biggest story. The 22-year-old Polish phenom has been on fire throughout the tournament.
His serve, which has topped out at 140 miles per hour at the All England Club, has made him nearly unbreakable as he has collected aces at an alarming rate.
He's won all but one of his matches in straight sets, including a 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 15 seed Nicolas Almagro, and another impressive win against countryman Lukasz Kabot in the quarterfinals. According to Tennis Facts on Twitter, Janowicz is now the first player born in the 1990s to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.
Janowicz becomes the first ATP player that's born in the 1990s to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.— Tennis Facts (@TennisFacts) July 4, 2013
After skipping out on the French Open, Murray took to Wimbledon with relatively fresh legs and looked as good as ever in the opening rounds from England.
Murray's dominance in the first four rounds of the tournament were comparable to the domination of Djokovic. The Scottish contender was never truly challenged as he took all four matches in straight sets.
Then came his quarterfinal match against Spanish upstart Fernando Verdasco. After cruising through the first four rounds, Murray looked downright defeated in the early going, dropping the first set 6-4 and then the second 6-3.
However, Murray put on a great display of mental fortitude as he rallied to beat Verdasco in the next three sets 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 to punch his ticket to the semis. According to ESPN Tennis, Murray has now won 24 of his last 26 matches.
By name recognition and world ranking alone, it's easy to see why Murray is favored to book another finals appearance. But the on-court statistics show that these two are evenly matched as they make their bid for the finals.
The only noticeable difference between the two is Janowicz's high number of aces (a tournament-leading 94).
Murray was able to survive a rough start against Verdasco in the early going of his quarterfinal match, but if he allows Janowicz to get the early momentum, stopping him will prove to be much more difficult.
This has truly been a magical ride for Janowicz, and he will show that he has what it takes to keep it going in a memorable match for fans.
Janowicz: 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
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