And we are down to just four at our third Major of the season. No surprises really with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray getting through to the Wimbledon semifinal round, but Richard Gasquet? He’s the outlier in the quartet, but does he realistically have a chance to spoil another Big 4 final?
To my picks.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic v No. 21 Richard Gasquet
To answer my first question, it’s no. Richard Gasquet won’t spoil the Big 4 party.
Novak Djokovic leads Gasquet 11-1, and to make matters that much worse Gasquet is coming off a 3-and-a-half hour 5-set quarterfinal win over Stan Wawrinka. That’s not a good preparation for Djokovic.
After a brief scare in the fourth round courtesy of Kevin Anderson, Djokovic looked extremely good Wednesday against Marin Cilic. And against Gasquet I expect a similar effort. because unlike Anderson who plays big man-type tennis, Gasquet doesn’t have that massive serve so points will go longer allowing Djokovic to find more groove and rhythm.
The Frenchman, though, is playing about as well as he has in a long time. And he’s got some impressive wins this week beating Grigor Dimitrov, Nick Kyrgios and then Wawrinka.
The book on Gasquet is his forehand isn’t that strong and mentally he falls apart. So far, however, the forehand has held up and mentally he’s kept it together, avoiding a “replay” against Kyrgios and fighting through the nerves late in that win over Wawrinka.
The problem is, Djokovic on grass is a much better player than Stan and the head-to-head I think will be too much to overcome.
That said, Gasquet should be playing with house money. He’s got to be happy just to make a semifinal, so anything else from here is a bonus. Therefore, I expect him to unload his deep arsenal of shots and give it a go against the World No. 1. Still, it won’t be enough.
The pick: Djokovic in four
No. 2 Roger Federer v No. 3 Andy Murray
The only person playing better than Andy Murray the last few months has been Novak Djokovic. If fact, he’s te only guy to beat the Scot since February.
The Married Murray’s won 25 of 26 matches with wins over guys like Kei Nishikori and Rafael Nadal in Madrid, David Ferrer and Nick Kyrgios at the French, and this week he has wins over Ivo Karlovic and Vasek Pospisil.
Let’s be honest, though, other than the two wins in Madrid, there’s not a whole lot of “wow”.
Federer’s hasn’t had quite the run like Murray, but like his counterpart he’s also undefeated this grass season grabbing Halle for his lead-up title. Federer has recent wins over Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka at Rome, Gael Monfils at the French and on the grass he’s beaten Ivo Karlovic and this week Gilles Simon. So that, too, is a whole lot of “meh”.
Point is, both say they are confident, playing better than ever, all those buzzwords, etc. But in comparing results, I’m cancelling out their resumes. I just think it’s about even in terms of who’s in better form.
The head-to-head similarly tells us it’s quite even at 12-11 for Federer. However, the Swiss has taken the lead winning the last three since Murray’s 2013 surgery.
Murray, of course, beat Federer to win the gold in 2012 just after losing to Roger is a tight 2012 Wimbledon final.
So aside from the humiliation Murray suffered at the 2014 ATP Finals, this is a close call.
For Federer, he’s got to continue to serve well, get to the net and attack. Murray will break his serve, but as long as he’s applying the pressure and converting well he’ll be OK.
For Murray, again serve well, but he has to return well off the second serve and get Roger on the move.
In the end, I just can’t get past Murray 1-13 record vs the Top guys. But I’m going to. I’ll drink the Murray Pimm’s and take him to stop Roger in a classic.
The pick: Murray in five
ESPN has live coverage of the Wimbledon men’s semifinals starting at 8am ET.
FRIDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT – 1:00PM
Novak Djokovic (SRB)  v Richard Gasquet (FRA) 
Andy Murray (GBR)  v Roger Federer (SUI) 
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