After a good day on Wednesday, Thursday was a letdown with some bad luck hampering our progress.
We were the victims of some real misfortune in the Roger Federer versus John Isner match, when a net cord that dribbled over on match point handed the Swiss the win in the all too predictable tie break. Isner missed a host of half chances and he really should have won that second set, which was all that we required of him.
Kim Clijsters was heavily fancied before her match with Maria Sharapova, probably due to the windy conditions at Wimbledon, but her backers were disappointed when Sharapova produced a superb display of hitting to reach the last four.
Elsewhere, Andy Murray’s victory over Nico Almagro was in part aided by the Spaniard’s dodgy shoulder that I highlighted in yesterday’s article, but in all fairness Murray was always likely to be too consistent for Almagro.
His reward is a 14th meeting with Novak Djokovic and a first on grass. As Murray was my outright bet at the start of the tournament, I’m going to stick with the Brit as he takes another step towards a gold medal.
The second men’s semi-final is between Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro and I’d be very surprised if this match didn’t go the way of the Swiss. This will be their second meeting on grass, following their Wimbledon second round match of 2007, which Federer won in straight sets.
The head-to-head does not make for comfortable reading for Delpo fans; the unforgettable US Open win of 2009 and a victory later that year at the World Tour Finals are the only occasions that the Argentine has beaten Federer in 14 attempts. It would be some performance if he turned that around in an Olympic semi-final on grass.
Federer really has had Delpo’s number in the last few years, but their last meeting on the clay of Roland Garros was going the big man’s way until his knees gave out. I’ve never rated Del Potro on grass though and while he has done well to reach this stage on his least favoured surface, I’m sure that Federer’s box of tricks will be too much for him. I’ll take Federer to win 2-0 at around 1.62
The women’s semi-final between Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams has the makings of a real classic encounter, with both players coming into this match in prime form.
Azarenka was in fabulous touch against Angelique Kerber in one of the highest quality WTA matches that I’ve seen, but she - like Delpo - has to overcome a poor head-to-head against a legend of the game. An 8-1 deficit tells a tale and Williams was herself in fine form in hammering the hapless Caroline Wozniacki yesterday.
Of course, Wozniacki doesn’t really have any weapons with which to trouble the very best, but Azarenka does and if she reproduces her form of yesterday she could make more of a match of this than odds of 3.85 suggest.
Williams should be just about too good at the moment on this surface for Azarenka, but the Belarusian will make her have to battle and it’s worth backing over the 20.5 total games mark at around 1.90 in this one.
Back Federer to beat Del Potro 2-0 at 1.62
Back over 20.5 games in Williams v Azarenka at 1.90