We have men's semi-final action at Wimbledon today, with Matteo Berrettini facing Hubert Hurkacz and Novak Djokovic taking on Denis Shapovalov. Dan Weston returns to preview the matches...
"If he gets the better of Denis Shapovalov this afternoon in the second semi-final, it will Djokovic's his 30th Grand Slam final and he would have the opportunity to win his 20th Slam title."
Hurkacz's win over Federer continues breakthrough year
In Wednesday's quarter-finals, we saw the notable exit of Roger Federer, who was eliminated in straight sets by the Miami Masters winner, Hubert Hurkacz. The Swiss legend even suffered a 29-minute final set bagel, in what was a very impressive performance from the Pole, Hurkacz.
This has been a real breakthrough season for Hurkacz, who was ranked outside the top 30 at the start of the year but could be pushing top 10 depending on the outcome of this tournament, and that ranking rise should be given extra credit given the longer-term period which the rankings are currently judged on due to the tour pausing for four months last year.
On a side note, I think this now needs to be replaced with the previous 12-month rolling ranking format, given that it's around a year since the tour resumed. Hurkacz will move into the top 10 in the Race to Turin (the calendar year rankings) regardless of his continued success over the next few days at SW19.
With 720 ranking points available for a semi-final spot in a Grand Slam, Denis Shapovalov will also be pushing towards the top ten in the Race to Turin even if he loses today, while of course, Djokovic and also Berrettini are pretty much assured of their position at those Tour Finals already.
Berrettini with edge based on tournament data
In today's first semi-final, scheduled for 13:30 UK time, Berrettini is the 1.511/2 favourite over Hurkacz, despite the lower-ranked player's win over Federer.
I think this price is about right, despite Hurkacz having beaten both sixth seed Federer and second seed Medvedev in consecutive matches in what has been an extremely impressive tournament.
Despite this, seventh seed Berrettini has a marginal edge on service points won (both are around the 72-73% mark) in the tournament this year with the Italian also having an advantage on return, winning almost 4% more return points won. Both players have comfortably held serve over 90% of the time, suggesting that this match could be pretty serve-orientated, and potentially close with the potential to be determined by a few key points.
Based on 12 month hard/indoor court numbers as well, Berrettini's price looks pretty accurate. My model has him at 1.511/2 to make his first Grand Slam final with a win today, so in complete agreement with the market line.
Five set quarter-final victory could hamper Shapovalov against Djokovic
Of course, the challenge of reaching their first Grand Slam final won't be applicable for Novak Djokovic, with the world number one now having won at least two of each of the Grand Slam events over the course of his illustrious career.
If he gets the better of Denis Shapovalov this afternoon in the second semi-final, it will Djokovic's his 30th Grand Slam final and he would have the opportunity to win his 20th Slam title.
The outright market suggests that this is extremely likely, with the Serb now into 1.292/7 for the title. Given that he's 1.111/9 to get the better of Shapovalov today, it would suggest that he'd be 1.162/13 to beat either Berrettini or Hurkacz on Sunday - probably a little bigger against Berrettini, a little shorter against Hurkacz.
The market price today on Djokovic is a bit short in my view, but it's not hugely so. He's dropped just one set to get to this stage - incredibly, the first set of his tournament against the British wild card, Jack Draper - and is yet to be priced bigger than 1.051/20 for any of his five matches so far.
As for Shapovalov, he's now won two five-setters. He got the better of Philipp Kohlschreiber in round one in five, while also his win over Karen Khachanov on Wednesday went the distance, and he was also forced to fight back from 2-1 down in that clash with the Russian. That match lasted for almost three and a half hours, and would certainly not be considered a positive in advance of a best of five set match against the supremely fit world number one.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
Daily Offer - Get a £5 Free Bet on Multiples
Place £20 worth of multiples over the course of a day, and, after the bets have settled, you'll get a free £5 to use on multiples. Bets must settle before 23:59 on the day they're placed. No opt-in required, T&Cs apply.
Dan's 2021 P&L:-
65 Units Staked
64.65 Units Returned