Sunday 2021 Wimbledon Men’s Final Best Bets, Picks, Prediction: Back Berrettini to Stun Djokovic (July 11)
AELTC/Ben Solomon – Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: Novak Djokovic.
- Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini meet on Sunday in the final of Wimbledon.
- Djokovic is going for his 20th Grand Slam title, while Berrettini is seeking his first.
- Kenny Ducey previews the match below and explains the best way to bet it.
Djokovic vs. Berrettini Odds
|Time||Sunday, 9 a.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via DraftKings.|
Novak Djokovic will aim for the 20th Grand Slam title of his career on Sunday, and standing in his way will be the tall, powerful Italian, Matteo Berrettini. The 25-year-old will be making his first appearance in a Grand Slam final, but his seasoning this year makes him a formidable opponent, as do his weapons.
So, will Berrettini have the same fate of all the young men who came before him and tried to dethrone Novak Djokovic? Let’s have a look at the numbers.
Novak Djokovic Not in Top Form
Put bluntly, the Serb has looked better. It’s true that the World No. 1 has dropped just one set all tournament, which strangely came in his opening-round win over wild card Jack Draper. Since then, he really hasn’t been tested one bit.
That was until he ran into bright young Canadian, Denis Shapovalov, in the semifinal. The 22-year-old just overwhelmed Djokovic with his power, getting out in front and serving for the first set before ultimately getting broken and losing in a tiebreak. Shapovalov had 12 break points all told, but only converted one, and absolutely should have led that match two sets to love.
Djokovic is a master on faster surfaces like grass with his ability to skid the ball off the back baseline with incredible depth, but the depth and the pace has really been lacking. In that match he served up plenty of high and short balls for Shapovalov to crush, and that’s going to put him in an adverse position once again when he faces a man who crushes balls like no one else on tour.
There’s also the fact here that Djokovic hasn’t really dominated like we’re used to seeing him do in Slams over the past few seasons. He fell behind by two sets in the French Open final this year, had that strange Australian Open where it appeared he was hurt before playing a great final, he was blown out at Roland Garros last year, he was defaulted at the U.S. Open, and earlier that year at the Australian Open he had to come back from a 2-1 deficit to beat Dominic Thiem.
The constant there is that Djokovic has remained capable of using his experience to get past his pesky opponents, but he’s rarely looked simply too good to beat. There has also been an element of nerves with his young opponents, which of course could be a factor on Sunday.
Matteo Berrettini is a Serving Machine
Along those lines, it’s possible that the only thing that can hold Matteo Berrettini back from winning Wimbledon is his mind. The body — and the physical talent — is simply unmatched with this guy. He’s not only improved the accuracy on his cracking forehand, which is by far the biggest in the game, he’s also served well enough to rank ahead of John Isner on points won behind his first serve. He’s refined his game over the last two years, adding a lot to his flat backhand and getting stronger at the net, and that’s scary when you consider he was good enough to make the semis at the U.S. Open in 2019.
It’s also a scary thought that he’s got those tools on a surface like grass, where the ball will skid and you’ll be given even less time to return. Although Djokovic is one of the game’s greatest returners, even he will be struggling and giving it everything physically to make any sort of in-roads on the serve.
Berrettini landed 63% of first serves against Hubert Hurkacz and won a ridiculous 86% behind them. That number’s bound to come down a little, but given that his season-long numbers are around 62% and 79%, it’s certainly possible we could see something similar in the final. If he’s able to land that many serves again, he’s not going to be broken much at all.
Berrettini’s record on the grass over the last two seasons on the surface is insane. At 22-2, I think we could slowly be approaching Nadal-on-clay territory. With these weapons, it’s only going to get harder for opponents to beat the Italian on grass.
The head-to-head here might be a little scary, with Djokoivic crushing Berrettini 6-2, 6-1 at the ATP Finals a couple of years ago and beating him in four sets in Paris this spring. With that said, there’s necessary context.
First of all, I never put any weight into the ATP Finals. It’s essentially an All-Star Game, with the top-10 players in the world competing at the end of the season for money. It’s fun, but strange results always ensue, and some guys like Berrettini in 2019 just show up to take photos and take in the atmosphere. Secondly, the French is held on clay, where Berrettini’s weapons aren’t nearly as scary, and he also had plenty of chances there to take a lead anyway.
I read this match very closely and think Djokovic’s expert returning will be put to the test. Considering he’s been so pedestrian in most of his Grand Slam finals lately, I could see him pulling off another comeback victory, or closing in three very tight sets. I expect Berrettini’s serve to be rock solid here, and I don’t think he’ll get broken too many times, so I’m loving the game spread. I’m also going to have exposure to the moneyline with the matchup much closer than the price would indicate.
Pick: Berrettini +5.5 Games | Berrettini +380 (0.25u)
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