2019 Wimbledon ATP Semifinals Betting Odds, Preview: Will Roberto Bautista Agut Upset Novak Djokovic Again?

Credit:

Susan Mullane, USA Today Sports.

  • Sean Zerillo previews Friday's Semifinal action at the All England Club between Novak Djokovic and Roberto Bautista Agut and suggests a few bets that have value.

While the undercard semifinal between Roberto Bautista Agut (“RBA”) and Novak Djokovic doesn’t have quite the same allure at the 40th all-time meeting between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, it is an exciting match nonetheless.

RBA is in the midst of his deepest run ever at a Slam, having dropped just one set, while Djokovic finds himself in his ninth Wimbledon semifinal, in search of his fifth Wimbledon title in defense of his 2018 crown.

For his career, RBA is 0-9 against Federer and 0-3 against his compatriot Nadal, but he has beaten Djokovic both times that they have played in 2019, as a +388 underdog in Miami (hard court), and as a +398 underdog in Doha (hard court).

Can he pull yet another upset as an even more significant underdog?

Novak Djokovic (-955) vs. Roberto Bautista Agut (+740) | O/U: 32

  • Time: 8 a.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Where: Centre Court
  • H2H: Djokovic leads 7-3

The first factor that I always consider when evaluating a matchup this deep into a major is stamina – how much should I expect each player to have left in the tank?

For the tournament, things are pretty even – Djokovic has been on the court about 20 minutes longer, while Bautista Agut has covered slightly more ground:

However, the Spaniard was pushed much harder by Guido Pella in the quarterfinals than he was by any previous opponent.

Not only did RBA drop a set, but he also covered 30% of his cumulative distance for the tournament in the quarterfinal match alone, running 57% further than his previous match high.

Pella and RBA played some long games, reaching deuce 11 times in back to back games in the first set.

Djokovic has had an easier time in his last two matches after playing for over three hours in the third round against Hubert Hurkacz.

Overall, RBA and Djokovic have been in relatively equal form during the fortnight:

Each has dropped just the one set, they have a similar number of winners and unforced errors as one another, and they and are each winning their first serve, second serve, and return points all at similar rates.

Djokovic has converted 29 of 63 break point opportunities, while RBA has converted 27 of 58, each succeeding at a rate comparable to their rates of return points won.

RBA has been slightly fortunate to save 20 of the 24 break opportunities that he has faced, while Djokovic’s rate of 14 for 19 is more sensible — but these are relatively small samples.

RBA is more than capable of using his flat groundstrokes to get into long baseline rallies with Djokovic, and unlike David Goffin (who fell apart after the first set in the quarterfinals) I don’t expect RBA to waver if he falls behind early.

However, the same could be said for Djokovic — who has seen his service game broken just five times in this tournament, and he has come back to win all of those sets.

The test is also much different in a best of five set format than in a best of three, and Djokovic has won all three of their previous Slam meetings in four sets; winning by exactly six games each time.

Djokovic has never covered the current spread (-7.5 games) in his previous Wimbledon semifinals, and only one of his five wins came in straight sets.

RBA should be uber confident coming in, and he clearly won’t get down on himself even if he falls behind early.

As I mentioned earlier, RBA has beaten Djokovic twice this season, on January 4 in Qatar and on March 26 in Miami — and that was after dropping the first set in both of those matches.

What’s more, is that RBA has not lost a final set worse than 6-3 on grass or hard courts over the past two years – so he will continue to fight to the end of the match no matter how deep the hole gets.

At some point in this match, Bautista Agut will need to break the rallies and his defensive posture, become the aggressor, and look to consistently blow inside-out forehands past Djokovic for winners.

The accuracy of those shots will likely determine his fate, and how long the match will go. 

I think RBA does enough to cover the spread, even if he loses in straight sets, and would also consider playing the match to go Over 3.5 sets (+120), or for Djokovic to win by an exact set score of 3-1 (+275). 

The Pick: Roberto Bautista Agut, +7.5 Games (-105)

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