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2021 Wimbledon Semifinals Odds & Betting Preview for Djokovic vs. Shapovalov, Berrettini vs. Hurkacz (Friday, July 9)

2021 Wimbledon Semifinals Odds & Betting Preview for Djokovic vs. Shapovalov, Berrettini vs. Hurkacz (Friday, July 9) article feature image

TPN/Getty Images. Pictured: Novak Djokovic.

  • Wimbledon is down to just four players on the men's side as the semifinals get underway on Friday.
  • Matteo Berrettini and Hubert Hurkacz are vying for their first Grand Slam finals appearance in one match, while Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov play in the other.
  • Kenny Ducey breaks down below how he is betting both matchups.

The semifinals of Wimbledon are finally here, and they promise an incredible day of tennis on Friday. Two talented young players will vie for their first-ever trip to a Grand Slam final, while Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov rekindle their fun rivalry.

Is there any value in backing the underdogs to make some noise here? Let’s have a look at both matchups.

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Matteo Berrettini vs. Hubert Hurkacz

There’s plenty to like with Matteo Berrettini, particularly on grass. His giant serve and forehand might be the best one-two combo on tour, and with the ball skidding off the ground on this surface, they seem even more impossible to get over the net. He’s now 21-2 on grass over the last two grass-court seasons, and he picked up another title on the surface at Queen’s Club last month.

Fading a guy entering on a 10-match winning streak isn’t very fun, but I do think there are signs here that Hurkacz can pull an upset. First of all, he did win their most recent meeting, at Miami in 2019, where Berrettini failed to convert four break points in the opening game and never recovered. While the Italian wasn’t quite as polished as he is now, he did enter the slight favorite in that match, and judging by the fact that he ripped through the tour just a month later, I’m not willing to write off the result.

Over the last 52 weeks, Berrettini has landed 62.9% of his first serves, and won a remarkable 79.6% of points behind it — the third-best mark on tour, higher than even John Isner. With those baselines in mind, it’s interesting to note here that he’s landed just 59.6% of serves and served above his average twice. One of those matches was his quarterfinal win over Felix Auger-Aliassime, but he won a tournament-low 76% of points behind his first serve.

This is nitpicking, but it’s also vital when you look at the last meeting between these two, when Hurkacz returned the Berrettini serve excellently, limiting Berrettini to a 69% win percentage on his first serve. He’s been excellent on returns at Wimbledon and just broke through two solid servers in Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev with relative ease.

I think Hurkacz is capable here of making Berrettini play rallies, just as Felix Auger-Aliassime did, and I think that can lead him to an upset victory here. FAA had a whopping 12 break points in that one, and I think Hurkacz — a better player under pressure — will make Berrettini pay in those situations.

Pick: Hurkacz +200 (bet365)

Novak Djokovic vs. Denis Shapovalov

When you hear that Novak Djokovic is 6-0 in this head-to-head, it doesn’t really feel like Denis Shapovalov stands much of a chance. Looking deeper into the matches they’ve played, however, I do think there’s some value in attacking the total.

It’s true that Djokovic has been absolutely sickening on the grass, going 109-22 in all competitions over the course of his career, which would seem to put the young Canadian at even more of a disadvantage, considering it’s a surface he’s still very much learning. His overwhelming backhand can be a real weapon on the grass, though, and against Andy Murray and Roberto Bautista-Agut it sure did seem unreturnable.

The biggest takeaway from this run from Shap is his mind seems to be in a great place. His five-set win over Karen Khachanov was trying for his mental fortitude, with plenty of squandered opportunities, but a year or two ago it’d be tough to see him digging out of a 2-1 hole to beat a player as talented as the Russian. His work with a sports psychologist seems to paying off, which is a scary sight considering a confident Denis Shapovalov has been nearly unstoppable.

Anyway, back to this head-to-head — Shapovalov has not only taken a set off of Djokovic down at the Australian Open, where the Serb is unbeatable, he also came incredibly close to beating him in their last two meetings at the ATP Cup.

This is an event that Djokovic has helped Serbia win before, and one which counts for ranking points, so they’re absolutely results worth reading into. Shapovalov fell 7-5, 7-5 in 2021, and in 2020 he broke Djokovic serving for the match before nerves got the best of him in the tiebreak. He nearly pulled it all the way back after going down 6-1, but in the end his efforts were just not enough.

2020’s ATP Cup was one of the best tournaments I’ve seen Shapovalov play, with exceptional serving against some of the world’s best, and his form now closely resembles his form then. His serving has been good at Wimbledon, when he hasn’t been double-faulting, and his performances under pressure have been better than expected. While he hasn’t always landed his first serve, he’s won a ton of points behind it, and that is the kind of momentum you need to have coming in against the greatest returner of all time.

I’m not sure Shapovalov can muster up two sets in this one, but I do think he can grab at least one against the Serb. That, and the fact that I think we see a tiebreak in this one, would indicate that we’ve got a recipe for an over at a great price.

Pick: Over 32.5 Games -129 (DraftKings)

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