Wimbledon 2021: Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty eager to lay down Final roots
Thursday marks Day 10 of Wimbledon and with it the start of the semi-finals. The women will get proceedings underway first before the men get their turn on Friday. Ash Barty and Novak Djokovic have set their sights firmly on glory, so read our full preview to see how we think they will get on. We will also check in on the latest match odds.
Ash Barty v Angelique Kerber: Barty carries the weight of expectation on her shoulders
This women’s semi-final clash will take top billing on Centre Court. Barty’s pedigree is undeniable, and she is aiming to emulate Amelie Mauresmo by completing a unique junior-senior double at the All England Club.
Apart from being pushed hard by Carla Suarez Navarro in the first round, Barty has had a fairly charmed route to the semi-finals. She has now moved to within two wins of clinching a maiden Wimbledon crown on the 50th anniversary of her idol Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s triumph. Currently, Barty is valued at 21/50 to beat Angelique Kerber.
In Kerber, Barty will face an eminently difficult challenge against a player who has rediscovered her form. Kerber is brimming with self-confidence, and the German has won ten consecutive matches. She also has the upper hand over Barty in head-to-head meetings (3-2). You can get odds of 29/20 for the match to go the full distance.
Karolina Pliskova v Aryna Sabalenka: Sabalenka won’t hold back
You can expect the grass to be scorched with some heavy-hitting from Aryna Sablalenka. She has racked up 157 winners over the past fortnight, with an average of more than 30 per match.
Sabalenka has also clocked up serves of up to 122mph, which is second only to Coco Gauff’s 125mph. In recent times, the Belarusian has buckled under the pressure of high-profile Grand Slam matches, but she has negotiated some tough tasks to date at Wimbledon. She is currently backed at 17/10 to get past Pliskova, and reach the Final.
It seems like serving could swing things in the match. Pliskova was too strong in her quarter-final, as she overpowered Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic in the quarter-finals. The Czech star has been formidable on serve, racking up 40 aces, and putting her atop that particular leaderboard. Pliskova is still waiting to clinch her first Slam title, but she’s making all the right noises.
Novak Djokovic v Denis Shapovalov: Djokovic eases into past four
Djokovic continued his serene progress with a straight-set quarter-final victory over Marton Fucsovics. The world No.1 – who has lost just three of his 35 matches on tour this season – is just two wins away from a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title.
Djokovic may have looked tense at times, and had to fend off four break-points, but he can sense a sixth Wimbledon triumph. He was relatively content with his display, describing it as a “solid performance”.
However, Djokovic could have his hands full against the 22-year-old Denis Shapovalov. The Canadian – who was taken to five sets against Karen Khachanov – has been hailed as one of the most promising talents on the ATP Tour. Shapovalov has a crunching forehand, and he will need to stretch Djokovic on both wings. Shapovalov is trading at 13/1 to win Wimbledon.
Matteo Berretini v Hubert Hurkacz – Berretini continues to sweep everything in his path
Matteo Berretini has been in blistering form. After overcoming good friend Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals in four sets, the world No.9 became the first Italian man in the Open Era to cement a Wimbledon semi-final berth, and he looks comfortable on grass.
However, Hurkacz served notice of his talents once again, as he stunned Roger Federer in straight sets, even taking the final set to love. The Pole, who won his first Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open back in March, combines finesse and power, and he will ask questions of Berretini.
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