Novak Djokovic may be the frontrunner to secure a second Wimbledon men's title this year, but all eyes will be on Andy Murray and Jerzy Janowicz on Friday when they battle it out for a chance to play in the finals.
Murray, fresh off a dramatic five-set comeback over Fernando Verdasco in their quarterfinal on Wednesday, will have his work cut out for him against the 6’8” Polish phenom. Janowicz is a tremendously powerful hitter who, at 22, has to feel confident about his Wimbledon success this year.
For all the early tournament talk about shocking upsets, things have played out rather matter-of-factly in the last two rounds. Will Murray fall victim to another upset in prolonging England's court drought at Wimbledon? Will Janowicz’s masterful run end at the hands of the No. 2 player in the world?
Let’s take a look at the vitals of their semifinal match and make a couple of predictions.
Where: The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club; London, England
When: Friday, July 5, coverage begins at 7 a.m. ET
Television/Streaming: ESPN and WatchESPN
Serious Service Prowess
Murray came down to earth with a hard-fought five-set victory in the quarterfinals after winning each of his previous contests in straight sets. After being on cruise control through the first four rounds, he found himself battling for his Wimbledon life against an opponent with a massive serve.
The good news is that Murray has now been tested and has come out on the other side with his confidence intact. The bad news? He’s now set to face an opponent with perhaps the most dominating serve in tennis.
Janowicz uses his size and power to dominate in the service game, making his opponents work for every break. As much as Murray struggled against Verdasco, he can’t feel overly confident in his ability to overcome Janowicz's power.
Murray has a terrific return game, but it won’t be easy to counteract Janowicz, especially if the Pole can take at least one set to a tiebreak.
Prediction: Janowicz will clinch at least one set by winning in a tiebreak.
Up for Grabs
Murray should be the favorite to advance into the men's finals, but this match won’t be cut and dry.
The world No. 2 is a wily technician who uses his tennis acumen as much as he uses his physical abilities. Janowicz is still developing his game, but he won’t be intimidated by the pressure of his deepest career Grand Slam run.
No matter how you slice it, tennis fans are going to be in for a terrific match on Friday. In a clash of conflicting backgrounds and styles, it’s unlikely the outcome will be decided in just three sets.
Murray has the talent to control this match. Janowicz may have the raw power to claim a set or two based on his serve alone, but he simply lacks the experience to have earned the edge heading into this match.
Look for Murray to drop an early set to Janowicz before settling in to close it out in four sets by a slim margin.
Prediction: Murray wins, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3.