Match Preview Berdych vs Djokovic 12.07 Wimbledon 2017
Wimbledon, London, UK, Grass Courts, ATP
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Today sees us turn our attentions to the men’s side of the draw at Wimbledon, and take a look at the Quarter Final matchup between Czech world number 15, Tomas Berdych and Serbian world number 4, Novak Djokovic.
These two are certainly no strangers to one another, having met on twenty eight previous occasions, with Djokovic leading the head to head 25-3. Only two of their previous meetings today have been on grass however, and Berdych actually won their first in straight sets at Wimbledon back in 2010. Djokovic won the second, again at Wimbledon in straight sets in 2013.
Wimbledon Results So Far…
Berdych beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in Round 1, 6-3 3-6 7-6 6-4, before winning through another four-setter in Round 2, this time against Ryan Harrison 6-4 6-3 6-7 6-3. The Czech then breezed past a tired looking David Ferrer in Round 3 in straight sets. Round 4 was Berdych’s largest challenge to date, as he and Dominic Thiem fought out a three hour, five set marathon, Berdych eventually found enough big serves and forehands to win through though, 6-3 6-7 6-3 3-6 6-3.
Djokovic beat Martin Klizan in Round 1, after the Slovak had to retire injured at the beginning of set 2. Round 2 saw the Serb breeze past Adam Pavlasek 6-2 6-2 6-1 and Round 3 saw him defeat Juan Martin Del Potro’s conqueror, Ernests Gulbis, 6-4 6-1 7-6. The much benigned (by Djokovic) Round 4 match that was played yesterday against Mannarino was the Serb’s fourth match of the fortnight without dropping a set, as he brushed aside the Frenchman, 6-2 7-6 6-4.
Berdych has had to scrap his way to this Quarter Final, he’s had a pretty tough draw and has done well to navigate it. Djokovic has had a very kind draw to date, and has in the main looked very sharp. The question mark with Djokovic however is, how is that shoulder-injury that he looked to sustain in yesterday’s match with Mannarino? it will be very interesting to see if that flares up again today.
Berydch’s mean serving stats for this fortnight so far look like this; he’s won 76% of his service points and held serve 96% of the time.
Djokovic’s mean serving stats for this fortnight so far look like this; he’s won 71% of his service points and held serve 95% of the time.
Both have very strong serves, Berdych hits his very hard and very flat and will be leading the ace count between these two today i’m sure. Djokovic tends to vary his serve a lot with a mix of spins off both the first and second delivery. Both players traditionally have a pretty high first serve %, so don’t expect to see too many breaks today. Of course if Djokovic is nursing a shoulder injury, serving will be more challenging for him, it will be very interesting to see if the speed on his first serve is effected by this.
Berdych’s mean returning stats for this fortnight look like this, he’s won 33% of his return points, 36% of his break points and opponents have held 83% of the time against him
Djokovic’s mean returning stats for this fortnight look like this, he’s won 43% of his return points, 39% of his break points and opponents have held 67% of the time against him
Djokovic is probably the best returner the game has ever seen, and these stats back that up, however it’s worth noting that he hasn’t played anyone who you would consider to have a ‘big serve’ as yet, so the numbers here are slightly falsely inflated. Berdych has an average return of serve, especially off the first delivery, where he sometimes struggles with consistency and to get enough depth on the ball. He will go after the second serve though, so expect him to attack these with his big forehand.
Djokovic is the picture of consistency off both wings, his forehand is hit with lots of topspin to all corners of the court, his backhand is a slightly flatter shot, however he does mix in plenty of slice off this wing too in order to keep his opponents guessing. The Serb loves to counter-punch from the back of the court and can turn defence into attack very quickly. His athleticism means that he can get so many balls back into play making his opponents play one more shot, this ‘brick-wall’ style makes him so hard to beat. Berdych has a huge forehand that he will look to get into play as much as possible today, he also has a solid two handed backhand that he can rip winners off, especially when driving it hard and flat down the line. The Czech will, like Djokovic spend most of his time at the back of the court, and will be far more comfortable when attacking rather than defending, the latter of which is probably his largest weakness. Berdych will look to end the points quickly today, as any extended rallies will certainly favour Djokovic.
Assuming Djokovic’s shoulder is fine, I expect him to win this in three or four sets (not a bold shout I know). His strong return of serve should nullify Berdych’s largest weapon, and his ability to defend against that big Berdych forehand should cause the Czech some problems today. All this being said, if Djokovic’s shoulder is not 100% then Berdych stands a chance. Especially if Novak can’t generate any pace off his serve or groundstrokes, the topsin he puts on the ball will then sit nicely in the tall Czech’s hitting zone. Should be a good match this, enjoy!
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