The women’s semifinals lived up to the lofty expectations on Thursday, but focus for many tennis fans has shifted to the schedule for Day 11 and the men’s semifinals at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships.
Those in attendance at the All England Club or watching at home on the Fourth of July will be in store for two marquee battles.
Not only will seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer square off against Milos Raonic, but the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, Novak Djokovic, will also go to battle with No. 11 seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Here is all the vital information needed to enjoy two of the most exciting matchups of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships thus far.
|Date||Time (ET)||Watch||Live Stream|
|July 4||8 a.m. - 2 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
*Live Stream via WatchESPN.
|Player 1||Player 2||Court||Predicted Winner|
|Novak Djokovic||vs.||Grigor Dimitrov||Centre||Djokovic, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2|
|Roger Federer||vs.||Milos Raonic||Centre||Federer, 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4|
*For the full schedule, check out Wimbledon.com.
Must-Watch Matchup: No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov
The on-court war between Federer and Raonic will undoubtedly be an interesting semifinal, but the must-watch matchup of Day 11 will be No. 1 seed Djokovic taking the court against No. 11 seed Dimitrov.
At just 23 years old, Dimitrov is learning on the job about the pressure of contending for a Grand Slam title. While Djokovic has done a lot to build the sport and help younger players, he will not be giving his Bulgarian challenger any favorable treatment on Friday.
Tennis broadcaster Richard Ingham Evans talked about the possible changing of the guard and how interesting it could make the Day 11 action:
Perfect semi-final line for reflecting the changing game. Federer/Raonic; Djokovic/Dimitrov. Vets/youngsters. Makes for a fascinating Friday— Richard Ingham Evans (@Ringham7) July 2, 2014
There is no discounting the road Dimitrov took to make the semifinals, beating the likes of No. 21 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, Leonardo Mayer and No. 3 seed Andy Murray in the quarterfinals, but he has not faced a player like Djokovic yet.
After his quarterfinal win over No. 26 seed Marin Cilic, Djokovic told BBC television (h/t ATPWorldTour.com), about his disappointment in his play and the mental fortitude needed to pull out the victory:
I played a very bad game, with a couple of bad errors in the second set and the momentum changed for him to get back into the match. He found his rhythm on serve, but I allowed him to step in. It was frustrating for me.
You're fighting on the court as much as your opponent, and you try to just mentally be strong and find that inner strength that can help you in those particular moments. That's what helped me.
When asked specifically about Dimitrov, Djokovic spoke with Wimbledon’s official Twitter account about how much momentum his challenger is carrying into the semifinal battle:
Djokovic on SF opponent Dimitrov: "It's a big win for Grigor, he's on fire. He hasn't lost on grass this year. He's the player to beat"— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 2, 2014
As pointed out by Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times, though, Dimitrov has entered uncharted waters at Wimbledon:
Novak Djokovic survived in five against Marin Cilic, setting up a semifinal against first-time semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov. #Wimbledon— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 2, 2014
For Djokovic, he had an incredibly tough road to the semifinals despite his No. 1 overall seed, but has still managed to dominate.
Who ya got?
If Djokovic can keep himself on or in front of the baseline and not move behind it, the speed of his return and the accuracy of his shots will force Dimitrov off balance and out of his comfort zone.
The pressure will already be on Dimitrov playing in the quarterfinals, and Djokovic knows exactly what it takes to turn up the heat.
Predicted Winner: Djokovic, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
Stats via Wimbledon.com.