Number two seed, Novak Djokovic is the odds on favourite to win his Wimbledon semi final encounter with Frenchman and number 12 seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday. Should that be the outcome then it will be the first time that Djokovic, who is the reigning Australian Open Champion has reached the final in SW19.
Tsonga however will be no pushover, far from it in fact as he proved after his stunning fightback in the quarter final against six times champion, Roger Federer. Tsonga had gone two sets down to Federer, who had looked like he was on his way to a routine victory, but Tsonga staged a remarkable comeback against Federer that left the Wimbledon Centre Court crowd breathless and Federer heartbroken!
It should also be remembered that Tsonga made the final of Queens last week, where he lost in three sets to Andy Murray. However that tournament appears to have been the perfect preparation event for him as he is now well adjusted to the grass, is serving better than ever as he demonstrated against Federer and his timing is absolutely spot on.
Djokovic won his semi final against the number 158th ranked player in the world, Bernard Tomic from Australia who is only 18 years of age and who had to qualify to play here. Nonetheless he led Djokovic on a merry dance for long spells in this match, before an obviously frustrated Djokovic won through in four hard fought sets. The win was the Serb’s 46th win from 47 matches played this year, a run that for many make him the man to beat at this year’s tournament.
Djokovic and Tsonga have some history having first played against each other on tour in the final of the 2008 Australian Open which Djokovic won in four sets, giving him his first Grand Slam title at the age of just 19. However, Tsonga has since strung up a run of five wins in their last six head to head matches, including one win that gave him some revenge for that defeat in the 2008 Australian final. That win, which was the last time they met, came in the quarter finals of the Australian Open last year, which Tsonga won in five hard fought sets and it gave the Frenchman a 5-2 advantage in the head to head statistics between the two. This makes Tsonga great value to win this semi final at odds of 7/4.
There is no doubt that this will be a cracking semi final which will give the winner a first opportunity to play in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. For Djokovic it is his third semi final here, he lost at this stage 12 months ago to Thomas Berdych and in 2007 he retired injured against Rafael Nadal. For Tsonga it is a first Semi Final at Wimbledon, he did make the Quarter Final 12 months ago where once again it was Andy Murray who got the better of him.
A difficult match to call, but the uncertainty shown in Djokovic’s game against Tomic in his Quarter final and the emphatic nature of Tsonga’s comeback against Federer in his, tilts it in the favour of the Frenchman. Add to the mix that he has such an emphatic head to head advantage against the Serb, then a win in four sets looks a sound bet to be on.