RICKY’S PICKS AND PREVIEW FOR THE WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS • NOVAK DJOKOVIC VS. KEVIN ANDERSON

Written by: on 14th July 2018
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Wimbledon Championships
RICKY'S PICKS AND PREVIEW FOR THE WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS • NOVAK DJOKOVIC VS. KEVIN ANDERSON

epa06886084 Kevin Anderson of South Africa serves to John Isner of the US in their semi final match during the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 13 July 2018. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO COMMERCIAL SALES  |
Kevin Anderson of South Africa serves to John Isner of the US in their semi final match during the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 13 July 2018. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson will be facing each other for the seventh time in their careers when collide in the Wimbledon final on Sunday.

 

Djokovic leads the head-to-head series 5-1, including 1-0 at the All-England Club. That’s where their last encounter came, with a 2015 fourth-round battle going the way of Djokovic–who recovered from a two-set hole to triumph 6-7(6), 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 on his eventual way to the title. He has won five in a row against Anderson since losing a three-setter 10 years ago in Miami.

 

Win or lose, this event has put an exclamation point on Djokovic’s resurgence following a period of inactivity and an injury-plagued slump. The Serb set the table for it by showing tons of improvement during the clay-court swing, with a semifinal run in Rome and a quarterfinal showing at the French Open. He finished runner-up to Marin Cilic at Queen’s Club before maintaining his stellar grass-court form through five mostly routine efforts against Tennys Sandgren, Horacio Zeballos, Kyle Edmund, Karen Khachanov, and Kei Nishikori. Djokovic then took his comeback to new heights by scraping past Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9), 3-6, 10-8 in a semifinal played on Friday and Saturday.

 

The world No. 21 may not have a full tank of gas for the final, but it’s safe to say that Anderson is also running low on energy. Not only did he outlast John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 in the second-longest match in Wimbledon history on Friday, but he also preceded that result by pulling off a shocker over Roger Federer 2-6, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 in the quarters. Anderson has also advanced this fortnight with more straightforward victories over Norbert Gombos, Andreas Seppi, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Gael Monfils.

 

“I don’t know if I’ll be the clear favorite in that one,” said Djokovic. “I think we’re quite even. He played the U.S. Open final last year. He’s definitely playing the tennis of his life. He’s coming off from two epic marathon five-set wins. I don’t think he has much to lose really tomorrow. He’s going to come out with big serves and big tennis. Hopefully I’ll be able to weather the storm.”

 

In reality, of course, Djokovic is the heavy favorite. After all, this is a nightmare matchup for Anderson–because Djokovic owns arguably the best service return in tennis. Nadal probably would have been the 6’8” South African’s preferred foe, as even though the Spaniard’s baseline game is every bit as good as Djokovic’s, his singular shot of the service return is not in the same league. Thus Anderson would have had an easier time inducing short returns out of Nadal and dictating play to a more consistent extent.

 

And when Nadal is a more favorable matchup, that’s not a good thing for Anderson. As everyone remembers, he got trounced by the world No. 1 in his only previous Grand Slam final at the 2017 U.S. Open. Another tough day for Anderson could be in the cards against a former world No. 1 who has won Wimbledon three times.

Prediction: Djokovic in 3

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

Want a quick laugh From Dusan Vemic? click below

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkA_1JKDvdI/

 

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