TENNIS analyst Gavin Mair (@gavinnightmair) brings us his best bet from Friday's action, as Wimbledon begins to hot up.
Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal | Friday 13th July 2018, 15:00 | BBC
Yesterday, I suggested supporting Jelena Ostapenko who I believed had a shot against Angelique Kerber if she continued her form throughout the tournament. The match was entirely on the racket of the Latvian but she didn’t turn up, hitting a ridiculous 30 more errors than Kerber.
Episode 52 of the Novak Djokovic versus Rafael Nadal series will take place in the Wimbledon semi final to determine one of the two finalists at this year’s event.
Djokovic starts as a marginal favourite but I don’t think he ought to be favoured over Nadal in his current guise. The Serbian is sitting at number 21 in the world rankings and although some of his recent results have suggested that there is still life in the old dog, his performances tend not to fully convince.
There are several reasons to doubt Djokovic based on what I’ve seen in the past few weeks. Firstly, his final defeat to Marin Cilic at Queens showed a very nervous player at the business end of the match. For lack of a better term, Djokovic choked away his lead to Cilic allowing the Croatian to score the Queens title.
Secondly, I wonder how fit Djokovic really is. He has had the physio on the court during this event, and has been spotted on a few occasions applying ice on to painful body parts.
Thirdly, comparing his quarterfinal performance against Nishikori with that of Nadal against Del Potro was like night and day. Djokovic’s match was littered with stretches of poor form, with the Djokovic serve looking highly attackable.
Nishikori came into that match with some injury doubt and Djokovic wasn’t exactly pulling away from his Japanese opponent for most of the contest. Nadal on the other hand raised his game to dispatch Juan Martin del Potro who had looked in good nick prior to meeting Nadal, and who appeared forlorn after the match having thrown everything he could muster at the world number 1.
Nadal can attribute much of his success over the last few weeks to the weather, which has been pleasant to players that otherwise have problems performing their best on grass. Nobody picked Nadal to win this tournament prior to it starting but he is a champion player that once he gets deep into a draw can be impossible to stop.
It will take a sudden reemergence of the old Djokovic for the Serbian to better his old foe in this one, and it just isn’t going to happen.
Nadal to make it six wins out of six Wimbledon semifinals at 11/10 with Blacktype is a must bet.
Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal – Rafael Nadal to win (11/10 Blacktype)