Andy Schooler delivers his verdict on the Wimbledon 2021 men’s semi-finals and takes another look at a top-heavy outright market.
Djokovic to win 3-0
Novak Djokovic v Denis Shapovalov
Djokovic is now well past halfway to completing the calendar-year Grand Slam and little shows his dominance of the sport better than the fact he’s going off 1/12 in the Wimbledon semi-finals against the world number 12.
The Serb wasn’t at his best against Marton Fucsovics on Wednesday but still wrapped up a comfortable straight-sets win.
Shapovalov has a stronger serve than the Hungarian but it still hasn’t had a huge impact against Djokovic in their previous meetings.
All six have been won by the Serb, arguably the greatest returner of all time, with Shapovalov winning just two sets.
Admittedly none has taken place on grass but I find it hard not to see another dominant display from the world number one.
Looking longer-term, this is very much a chance to put one of the young contenders back in his box for a while and I’d expect to see a fully-dialled in Serb here.
Clearly, there’s not a great deal of value to be had given his short win price but for those looking for a bet, 8/13 about fifth straight-sets win in seven meetings against this opponent is one for the brave.
Hurkacz to win
Matteo Berrettini v Hubert Hurkacz
As the odds suggest, the chance of an upset in the second semi are much greater – underdog Hurkacz can be backed a 2/1.
That makes some appeal given the Pole has dropped just two sets at the tournament so far, both to the world number two Daniil Medvedev.
While Roger Federer was far from his best in their quarter-final, Hurkacz deserved great credit for the way he played. He was broken only once and out-aced the former champion 10-5.
He’ll face a bigger server in Berrettini here but it was a little worrying for the Italian that Felix Auger-Aliassime created so many chances (12 breakpoints in all) on that booming delivery on Wednesday.
Berrettini lost his serve three times in that match – having only dropped it twice in the preceding four matches.
Hurkacz also comes into this match having won the pair’s only previous meeting at tour-level, 6-4 6-3 in Miami two years ago.
Both men have improved significantly since then but it’s certainly a potential mental advantage for the Pole.
He won the Masters event in Miami in April only for an “infection” to ruin his claycourt season.
Back to top form, I feel he’s being underrated in this clash.
Novak Djokovic to Win the Title
Djokovic was odds-on at the start of the tournament and now he’s into 1/4.
Clearly, that’s very short but – as was the case at the start – it’s hard to envisage any other winner.
He brings a 6-0 head-to-head to his semi-final and to further bolster his chances, he’s also unbeaten against both potential final foes – 2-0 up on both.
Berrettini (5/1) is the one you’d say has the weapons to spring the upset if anyone is going to.
A good serving day could cause Djokovic problems, although very few have managed to keep him on the back foot in a best-of-five-set match.
In any case, I’ve obviously stated that Hurkacz (10/1 for the title) has a decent chance of beating Berrettini.
One of those two has to be the bet if you are having one now but frankly, I can’t see Djokovic losing from here. However, 1/4 is not a price I’d be getting involved with.