Sunday, July 3, 2011

What?s at stake in semis for Tsonga, Djokovic, Murray and Nadal

Busted Racquet looks at what's on the line for Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in Friday's men's semifinal and predicts who will play for the Wimbledon championship this weekend.

Novak Djokovic -- Sometime on Friday, Novak Djokovic will either be the new No. 1 player in the world or a guy who's suddenly in the midst of a terrible slump despite a 46-2 record this year.�Was it only four weeks ago that Djokovic was the hottest tennis player on the planet? You wouldn't know it by the lack of attention thrown his way during Wimbledon. One loss to Roger Federer in the semifinals of the French Open and Djokovic fell out of the conversation. Making his first Wimbledon final puts the Djoker back at the forefront of the game. A loss erases all but the memory of his 43-match winning streak. It's all or nothing for the Serb.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga -- A second appearance in a Grand Slam final and the chance to play spoiler for Novak Djokovic. The two have met seven times in their careers and Tsonga has won five. Djokovic prevailed in the biggest match though, winning the 2008 Australian Open final in four sets.

Rafael Nadal -- His fifth finals appearance since 2006 and a chance to win an 11th Grand Slam, moving closer to Roger Federer's record of 16. Defeating the hometown favorite in the semifinals for the second consecutive year, thus ensuring a healthy anti-Rafa sentiment should he play in Sunday's final. A chance to burnish his credentials as the best all-court player in history.

Andy Murray -- Everything. England's Wimbledon drought is well-documented; it's well known that Fred Perry was the last British man to win at SW19 in 1936. Only slightly less well known is this: the last Brit to make the finals was 1938. If Murray beats Nadal it's like the Miracle on Ice (not so much the miracle part, but the national pride it will elicit). The worry is that there will be a letdown in the final if Murray does pull off the victory. That 1980 hockey team avoided it in the gold medal game. I think Murray does the same.

Predictions: Djokovic d. Tsonga, Murray d. Nadal

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