7/5/13 4:31 AM | Ricky Dimon
An mostly-unscathed top half of the Wimbledon draw has watched Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro advance to the semifinal. They will face each other on Friday.
Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro will be doing battle for the 13th time in their careers and for the third time this season when they meet in the Wimbledon semifinals on Friday afternoon.
Djokovic is leading the head-to-head series 8-3, but their only previous grass-court encounter came in the bronze-medal match of last summer’s London Olympics–also on Centre Court at the All-England Club–and Del Potro won it 7-5, 6-4. Djokovic triumphed four straight times after that (Cincinnati, U.S. Open, World Tour Finals, and Dubai) before Del Potro scored a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory three months ago in the Indian Wells semifinals.
Both players have been in outstanding form this fortnight. Djokovic has not dropped a single set in defeats of Florian Mayer, Bobby Reynolds, Jeremy Chardy, Tommy Haas, and Tomas Berdych while being pushed to just three tiebreakers in total. The top-seeded Serb is now 38-5 for his 2013 campaign, which is highlighted by the Australian Open title plus additional trophies from Dubai and Monte-Carlo.
Del Potro, meanwhile, is 15-0 in sets at Wimbledon and 4-0 in tiebreakers. The eighth-ranked Argentine has dismissed Albert Ramos, Jesse Levine, Grega Zemlja, Andreas Seppi, and David Ferrer despite more than his fair share of injury scares. He hyper-extended his knee in a slip against Zemlja and he did the same in game one of his quarterfinal showdown against Ferrer on Wednesday. Aside from that, though, Del Potro has had little trouble improving his 2013 mark to 25-8.
"I will need to be 100 percent or 110 percent against him," Del Potro admitted. "He’s the No. 1 (player in the world) and a former champion here. I remember the match during the Olympics last year, on the same surface. But this time the pressure is different. I will try to be ready and do my best."
The chances of Del Potro being 100 percent, however, are slim. Even with all things being equal, grass is by no means the underdog’s best surface–his showings at the Olympics and now at this Wimbledon notwithstanding. Djokovic, who is the best returner and baseline player in the game right now, should be able to exploit his opponent's relative immobility.
Unless Del Potro serves huge and is hitting his forehand like he did at the 2009 U.S. Open, this should be another straight-setter.
Find the latest tennis odds at Unibet.com
|1. Djokovic||12 500 pts|
|2. Murray||8 750 pts|
|3. Federer||8 670 pts|
|4. Ferrer||6 970 pts|
|5. Nadal||6 385 pts|
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