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Friday, 4 July 2014

Wimbledon Day 11 Picks 2014- Men's Semi Finals (July 4th)

The women's Final was decided on Thursday after Petra Kvitova moved through for a chance to win her second Wimbledon title and Eugenie Bouchard got over the hump and reached her first Grand Slam Final after two Semi Finals at these events already in 2014.

That has the makings of a top Final, although one that could be played under the roof on Centre Court if the rain that is expected throughout Saturday actually arrives. However, before that, the men get a chance to set the final two players once the Semi Finals are played on Friday and both should be fascinating matches.

It is a shame that the second Semi Final is likely to coincide with the France versus Germany World Cup Quarter Final, although the schedule makers must have realised the Novak Djokovic-Grigor Dimitrov match is the one that the TV companies would want sole focus for.

That is not to say that the Milos Raonic-Roger Federer match isn't 'interesting', but it is clear that Dimitrov could be the new face of men's tennis and taking on the World Number 2 is the kind of match that tennis needs to show off as much as possible.

With any sport, getting a strong exposure is the only way it will thrive and going up against the World Cup Quarter Finals means it is tough to earn column inches- however, this match should intrigue enough people while waiting for the World Cup matches to begin and I am expecting a show from Dimitrov and Djokovic, two players that may be competing for Grand Slams along with Rafael Nadal over the next eighteen months.

Novak Djokovic win 3-1 v Grigor Dimitrov: There is a real confidence exuding from Grigor Dimitrov at the moment, although I don't think he will be concerning himself with the mental games being played by Novak Djokovic who described the Bulgarian as the 'man to beat'.

The win over Andy Murray was very impressive, even if there are reports coming out about something that potentially upset the defending Wimbledon Champion ahead of that match. It was a flat performance from Murray and perhaps has diluted the strength of the Dimitrov win somewhat, even if he was brutal in the dismantling of the Brit on Centre Court which left the audience in a deathly silence.

This time, I would expect Dimitrov to get the majority of the support from the crowd after his breaks of serve were barely applauded on Wednesday, although he is in a very strong place and I don't think it bothers him either way.

Dimitrov has won the title at Queens and is serving effectively, while also being a decent returner and I expect him to give Djokovic more problems than when they met at the French Open last year. He has to try and take advantage of any tiredness that Djokovic may feel after beating Marin Cilic in five sets in his own Quarter Final, even if the sets were generally fairly quick.

I just haven't been totally convinced by Djokovic to this point as he has suffered some lapses in concentration and cuts a more frustrated figure than I have seen in the last couple of years. Djokovic has been a consistent player at Wimbledon, even if he has found someone a little too tough more often than not and I do think he is going to give Dimitrov all he can handle.

It is a fascinating match between these two players and I do think we are going to see a hugely entertaining Semi Final- however, my overriding feeling is that Djokovic is still going to be a little too good over a best of five set match, even on his least favourite surface, and I will have a small interest in the World Number 2 winning in four sets.

Roger Federer - 3.5 games v Milos Raonic: The second Semi Final doesn't have the same appeal to the casual fans of tennis even if the seventeen time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer is involved, because Milos Raonic doesn't have the same high-profile as someone like Grigor Dimitrov.

However, Raonic has been the young player that has really been making a move up the World Rankings and will always be a danger with the serve that he possesses. There is clearly the desire to improve himself too with more forays into the net and an aggressive style of play on the court, but it remains a surprise that the Canadian has reached his maiden Grand Slam Semi Final on the grass courts of Wimbledon.

He hasn't shown an ability to really get to grips with the grass in the past, despite the serve, but Raonic has been in good form over the last two weeks and clearly feels his aim for the tournament isn't close to being realised unless he wins this match.

You cannot doubt that Raonic is a huge threat moving forward if he continues to serve with the size he has been in this tournament, but Roger Federer has seen it all in his time and has four previous wins over Raonic. Those wins and the mental strength of being able to keep focused and not become overly frustrated when serves whistle past him gives Federer the ideal chance to move into the Final in a bid to win an eighteenth Grand Slam title and one that I personally didn't expect him to get to.

Federer has taken advantage of the draw this week as well as the scheduling of Quarter Final opponent Stan Wawrinka and I do think he will get enough balls back in play to eventually extract errors from Raonic. The slice has been effective and could be even more in this match, while Federer will get to the net and test the Canadian's ability to constantly pass him.

There is bound to be at least one, possibly two, tie-breakers in this one with the way Raonic has been serving, but Federer will know he is rarely going to see the body serve and may be able to swing through enough shots to win this match 76, 76, 64.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic Win 3-1 @ 3.60 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Roger Federer - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 35-28, + 16.60 Units (118 Units Staked, + 14.07% Yield)

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