Djokovic v Shapovalov, Berrettini v Hurkacz; Wimbledon SFs Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | July 8th, 2021, 2:29 pm

Novak Djokovic has yet another historic weekend of tennis in front of him at Wimbledon. Just two wins away from equaling Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20, Djokovic will look at what’s left of the men’s draw and it should leave him with a nice, fat smile on his face.

Sure, there’s danger but I think he’ll take it. Denis Shapovalov, Hubert Hurkacz and Matteo Berrettini have no experience going this far at Wimbledon, none have ever even been to a Grand Slam final and combined they are 0-10 against Djokovic.

That said, anything can happen. So what’s happening on Friday? The men’s semifinals.

Matteo Berrettini v Hubert Hurkacz
I picked Berrettini at the start of the event to make the final and I’m going to stick with that pick here.

Hurkacz, in my mind, is a tougher out for the Italian than Roger Federer. As we saw in his win over the Swiss, he has a complete game and can hurt you from just about anywhere on the court.

My issue with the Pole, though, is free points on his serve. Berrettini gets a ton while Hurkacz, who is just as big at 6’5″, isn’t quite that ace machine.

And right now, that Berrettini serve is in rhythm.

Off the ground, I also think Berrettini has the bigger forehand. So the two biggest shots on the court will be the Berrettini serve and the Berrettini forehand. If both those are firing I think it will be tough for Hurkacz to overcome.

Hurkacz, though, will be in it. He just beat Daniil Medvedev, he destroyed Federer and back in April he had a great run winning Miami. I know he’s had a 6-match losing streak on the clay and into the grass, but he’s clearly put that out of his memory bank. So he’s playing with a lot of confidence.

Berrettini is as well. He won Queen’s, has won 10 straight, has been to a Slam semifinal before, has two grass titles and is serving huge right now.

I know Hurkacz beat him in Miami over two years ago, but I can’t draw much from that. I’ll take the Berrettini weapons here and I think Hurkacz might feel a little post-Federer letdown.
The Pick: Berrettini in 4

Novak Djokovic v Denis Shapovalov
Credit to the lefty Shapovalov for breaking through this week at Wimbledon. The 22-year-old held off Murray in that super-tight first set, then got on a roll sweeping through the Scot then rolling Roberto Bautista Agut. Yesterday, he took out Karen Khachanov in five sets. So he’s playing well and having a really good grass season with a Queen’s semifinal and a Stuttgart quarter to add after his missed Paris due to a shoulder.

But Djokovic is the clear favorite here. He’s 6-0 against Denis and just to (or two) close to the finish line here to be denied. I know he didn’t look great against Marton Fucsovics, but the guy still won in straights pretty comfortably!

And in best-of-3, with Shapovalov’s streakiness, maybe he has a chance, but over five sets it’s going to be too big of an ask to maintain that kind of level against a player like Djokovic (who is a more than a few levels up from who Shapovalov has played thus far!).

Shapovalov plays high risk, high reward and I don’t think that’s a winning plan against the best defensive player in the sport in Djokovic. And Djokovic has been serving so well and Shapovalov’s return is a weakness.

All that should spell trouble for the Canadian who has done great to get this far, but eventually falls in this one. I think Shapovalov gets hot for a set, but that’s it.
The Pick: Djokovic in 4

1. Matteo Berrettini v Hubert Hurkacz
2. Novak Djokovic v Denis Shapovalov

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19 Comments for Djokovic v Shapovalov, Berrettini v Hurkacz; Wimbledon SFs Picks And Pans

Van Persie Says:

All good with Wimbledon so far, Nole is doing great, but it pisses me of to see that Rolex commercial with Perpetual on every break on Eurosport… “It doesn’t matter who wins in the end”… this BS doesn’t suit to the mentality of a champion. No player who wants to win a championship will buy that!

jatin Says:

Incredible performance from Djokovic again..
Shapo played amazing. He was the better player in first 2 sets but had little to show for it.
Great tournament for him.
But Djokovic is just in different league right now..

Beretenni should atleast take 1 set from him given his form. But it will be supremely difficult to beat Novak here.

Van Persie Says:

It was not a walk in the park with Shapo.
With Beerettini it will be also hard 😁

Van Persie Says:

I really, really wish that Nole reaches 20 on Sunday.

A friend of mine told me: the perfect tennis player would have Nole’s determination and stubborness not to give up, Rafa’s discipline and passion and Roger’s elegant style of play.
That would be impossible!

tennismonger Says:

@ VP –

Two outta three ain’t bad! ;-)

We’re watching history being made…I can’t see Matteo stopping the tide. Novak is just too dialed in…we’ll see!

chrisford1 Says:

Dennis Shapovalov is now Top 10 and richly deserves a spot there. Improving tremendously with new coaching and his own maturity.
But it is heart crushing to face Djokovic in Serbinator Mode, and also know that aside from one blip in 2010, in his whole career Djokovic is 219-1 in Slams when he gets up 2 sets.
Up two sets in the bank, his foes face the Noleconstrictor. Once his coils are around them, fighting back requires playing above their normal level, making more errors while Djokovic sets his superb defense in place and ability to hit his forehand and backhand percentage shots better than anyone. Go to net and you have Djoko’s great lobs and passing shots. Move back to gain time to reduce errors and get set, Novak dinks you.
All the time, on each error the coils tighten and it has to nag on player’s minds. “I beat him this set, what is coming but a longer time it will take to lose??”
The Noleconstrictor imposes domination, and for me is one of the most fearsome things in Novak’s arsenal. I hope no other player learns to do it so well, as we all like come from behind victories.

Dave Says:

Djokovic said in Serbian that he had stomach problems the last day or so. And that he felt discomfort throughout the first two sets. He felt rusty and weak for the majority of the match, hence the weaker performance, especially on return because he couldn’t stretch as usual, but didn’t make any excuses, and acknowledged that Shapo was the better player for the majority of the match, and that he somehow found a way to win.

I feel a lot more confident about him winning in the final after hearing this. He looked terrible and off from what I saw of the match today. And he reacted with so much emotion at the end like the Fritz match. He wasn’t even close to his best today. Shapo won more points after 2 sets.

Wog Boy Says:

Dave, have you seen Nole stats from the match?
They are actually very good, 33 winners to 15 UE in almost 3 hours 36 games plus TB match? Serve and winning serve percentage are also very good, I wouldn’t say he played badly, sorry for disagreeing.

Giles Says:

Stomach issues? What stomach issues?! Will this man’s fakery never stop??
Maybe he really will have stomach issues on Sunday! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼
He’s a compulsive liar! Sheesh!

Dave Says:

I saw the stats as well. You’ve watched enough matches with him to know when something isn’t right. Serving and volleying 12 times in a match? Saying he felt dizzy in the second set. His depth of shot wasn’t there. When he’s locked in from the beginning against a player with lots of firepower playing their first semifinal, it’s not even close. 2016 Roland Garros is a great example of that. 6-2 6-1 6-4 against Thiem in the semifinals.

Wog Boy Says:

Dave, I am not saying he didn’t have stomach problems, Gisele is saying that, but I wouldn’t worry about her.

What I am saying is that he adjusted his game accordingly to his situation and his opponent and was successful, look at his net game in the match, 28/33!

Dave Says:

Oh okay. I agree with you there for sure. He was 11 of 12 on serve and volleys. And he won more first serve points as well than Shapo. I totally agree with you about adjusting his game because of the stomach issues. It’s just easier to win a match when you can rely on your biggest strengths and you don’t need to adjust to your situation. You have a lot more options.

skeezer Says:

7-0 is all the stat you need. Of course his stats will be good. Moving on…

Dave Says:

Exactly Skeezer. Could you imagine if Djokovic was play Bagdadis or Fernando Gonzalez in a grand slam final instead? He would win 6-2 6-1 6-2

skeezer Says:

Exactly. just a reverb from a few of the jealous Djoker fan base that has for years whining weakera when it comes to Feds accomplishments. They know who there are.

Dave Says:

No I know. I was just having fun. That’s cool

chrisford1 Says:

Eventually the fear factor will abate a little as Novak ages and starts losing more, but right now, even if coaches work to not make that a fact their pro player needs to know…
Djokovic beats a player in the 1st Set, 95.6% chance he will win the match. Up 2 sets, he’s lost once in his career from that position.

Agree with Wog Boy. Berrettini is a good looking guy with a pretty strong female fan (and females on the Tour) following.
Matteo is now the movie star looks guy in the Top 10. His Aussie GF Aija Tomjanovic is no slouch in looks either, even though she could probably grow a mustache to rival Matteo’s.

Wog Boy Says:

“Italians are coming”…in America. Check this add, you probably have seen it, but I love it:

chrisford1 Says:

It just seems such a short time ago we could have fun commercials with ethnic stereotypes patriotic symbols everywhere and superhot babes in skimpy attire proudly acting like vixens…So enjoyable! I hadn’t seen it before and watched 3 times. The last time maybe just to see if I was right about one of the hot female models..
I believe the one on the left of the three babes at the end is Cara Delevigne. The one in the middle, the tall, stunning brunette, is American former pool polo athlete. Anne Marks. 30 at the time the vid was made. (2013).
Now every major player involved in that video production would be condemned or blackballed by the media if it was done today.

BTW – Congrats to all you Aussies, WB, in having a Wimbledon Champion as down to earth and well liked as Barty is.

Top story: Shapovalov, Auger-Aliassime Lead Canada To First Davis Cup Title