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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Wimbledon Day 13 Picks 2015: Men's Final Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer (July 12th)

I always find it a little strange when Wimbledon comes to a close as three of the four Grand Slams in the tennis season are completed and there is certainly a prolonged period following this event that we won't see the biggest players out on the Tour. This year the Davis Cup is played at the end of next week before a number of European clay court events are held heading towards the back end of July/early August when the US hard court swing begins.

However, the majority of the big names probably won't be back on the court until the Canadian Masters which is scheduled for the second week of August as their month long bid to become the US Open Champion will begin from that point. It is Cincinnati which follows the Canadian Masters and then a two week break until the US Open begins on the 31st August, which is later than it has in recent years.

At the moment, the biggest story going into the US Open is Serena Williams trying to complete the Calendar Grand Slam, the first player to do that since 1988 and only the fourth female player to manage the feat. It is hard to imaging the American paying public to be focusing on anything else heading into the final Slam of the season and I imagine Serena Williams is going to be on every front page in the States at that time.

Williams has the chance to do that having added the Wimbledon title to the other three Slams she is currently holding after beating Garbine Muguruza in straight sets on Saturday. It was another dominant performance from Serena Williams for the most part and showed once again she is head and shoulders above the rest of the WTA Tour, something that will be highlighted by her points differential in the Rankings on Monday.

There is no doubt in my mind that Serena Williams has the talent and motivation to surpass Steffi Graf and Margaret Court for most Grand Slam titles won by a female player. Very few players can live with Serena Williams at her best and her Seeding means it would take a gigantic shock for someone to knock her out early in the week when she is expected to be at her most vulnerable. Just a quick look through the names in the WTA top forty players and I wouldn't be confident of any of those beating Williams straight up, although a couple could certainly have half a chance if the American is not at her best.

Garbine Muguruza has nothing to be embarrassed about- she showed tremendous heart and character, as well as supreme talent, to fight back against Serena Williams in the second set and I think she will really grow from the experience of this Final. Nothing I saw lessened my belief that Muguruza is destined for the top of the women's game and becoming a multiple Grand Slam Champion and I think she is confident enough to recover from this loss in a much more productive manner than others might.

There are still areas Muguruza can improve, but she cracked the top 10 in the World Rankings and I think she will be a feature at the business end of Grand Slam tournaments in the years to come. She remains the player I am most intrigued by as she looks to fulfil considerable potential and I hope Muguruza uses this experience to propel her to where I think her game can take her.

Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer: After watching the way the Semi Finals unfolded, I think the superlatives that were used to praise Roger Federer in his win over Andy Murray couldn't quite capture how impressive he was. That was easily the best I have seen Federer play in 2015, even better than his straight sets win over Novak Djokovic in Dubai, and now he looks for his eighth title at Wimbledon and his 18th Grand Slam.

On the performance offered on Friday, it is no surprise to me that Federer has been set at a shorter price than twelve months ago when he played Djokovic in the Wimbledon Final. It wasn't enough for the layers to change their minds when it comes to setting the favourite, but I know there has been a lot of support for Federer in the outright market.

In all honesty, Federer has been the far superior player during the course of the tournament as he has dropped just one set. His serving had looked incredible going into the Semi Final as he had dropped serve just once, but Federer looked even better against Andy Murray who has to be the second best returner on Tour behind Novak Djokovic.

That didn't help Murray on Friday as he earned just one break point, failing to convert that in the first game and barely threatened the Federer serve for the rest of the match. He won just 23% of points against the Federer serve which is incredible and the Swiss man will win this Final if he can continue to hit the lines with the regularity he has shown in the tournament.

However, I still believe Novak Djokovic is going to get plenty more balls back in play than Murray and I do think he has been comfortable, if not exceptional for all but the Kevin Anderson match. Djokovic has been serving well and even the left shoulder issue in the Semi Final looks to be one of precaution than any serious injury he has picked up.

Unlike Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic has been getting the better of Federer in recent meetings more often than not and he will have good memories of beating the Swiss man here last year. I do think Djokovic does struggle to deal with the occasion at times which might seem a strange statement on first viewing.

But look at the results- Djokovic is just 4-6 in his 10 Grand Slam Finals since the beginning of the 2012 season and even the win over Roger Federer last year at Wimbledon was after Djokovic choked away a fourth set lead when it seemed the match was going his way.

As good as Novak Djokovic is, he doesn't have a go-to shot when under pressure and is very good at everything but not exceptional at anything. His movement is superior to Federer's but the it is the aggression of the latter that will push the tempo in this one, especially if he continues to serve as effectively as he has through the grass court season. However, I can't shake the feeling that Novak Djokovic has been doing just enough to get through and has another level in his pocket as he looks to erase the painful memory of losing at the French Open.

His performances in the biggest matches has to be a concern with Federer playing at an extremely high level, but Djokovic has beaten him in 5 of their last 7 Grand Slam matches. I expect the Serb will drag Federer into deeper waters and that should see his superior fitness come into play and I am looking for Novak Djokovic to defend his first Grand Slam title outside of Australia.

My heart would love to see Roger Federer win another Grand Slam, but my head says Novak Djokovic is going to be a little too strong. I fear Federer may have peaked just one match too early and the World Number 1 underlines his position at the top of the World Rankings with a four set win in a high quality match.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 25-25, - 3.53 Units (99 Units Staked, - 3.57% Yield)

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