Yesterday the final four women left in the draw battled it out to see who would go through to this year's final.
The first match between Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka was a good match with some brilliant play by both ladies, some superb shot making and nerves also coming into play on both sides. It went to three sets and for me it was always Kvitova's to win or lose - she just had so much more power than Azarenka and her game seemed overall more solid and complete. She did indeed prevail and goes into her first Grand Slam final.
The second match between Marie Sharapova and Sabine Lisicki wasn't an entertaining or enjoyable overall. There were moments of brilliance by both ladies - although usually not at the same time. However, Lisicki's serve, which has been tremendous during the tournament deserted her and for a good part of the match she couldn't buy a first serve. Sharapova's serve, always the first thing to do, was also under par and she served an incredible amount of double faults and yet she still managed to come through in straight sets. I swear her screaming gets louder and louder.
If Sharapova's serve is as erratic and Kvitova's nerves get the better of her I fear we are in for a very poor match on Saturday.
Men's Semi Finals
Today Novak Djokovic (seeded 2) takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (seeded 12) and Rafael Nadal (seeded 1) takes on Andy Murray (seeded 4) - in that order. And no of course TV viewing didn't have anything to do with the Nadal vs. Murray match being played second *g*
Having seen both Djokovic and Tsonga play on Wednesday I think so much in this match is going to come down to how Tsonga plays. Can he recapture the high he had during the match with Federer? Can he remain focussed and 'present'? Can he engage the crowd? If he can do all of those, then I can see him beating Djokovic - especially if it's Djokovic's standard drops, as it did against Tomic.
Much rests on this match. If Djokovic wins then no matter what happens in the final, he will become world #1. If he loses and Rafa also loses today Djokovic will become world #1. If he loses and Rafa wins, then unless Rafa goes on to take the title again, Djokovic will become world #1.
I think there's more pressure on Djokovic than on Tsonga. The pressure of being the higher seed, the pressure of 'if I win I'll be world #1', the pressure of having had such a fantastic start to the year, the pressure of being called 'the best player this year so far'. It's all on Djokovic. Very little is on Tsonga; he can just go out there and play his game. Although, having said that, Tsonga isn't without pressure; he is playing in his first Wimbledon semi-final and a win will put him into the final. So pressure on both of them, but more, I think, on Djokovic.
If Tsonga wins it will be a repeat of last year in more ways than one. Tsonga, as Berdych did last year, will have put out Federer in the quarters and Djokovic in the semis. And if that isn't enough, Tsonga is seeded #12 this year; last year Berdych was also seeded #12.
Tsonga does have a 5:2 head-to-head with Djokovic, but those wins have all been on hard courts.
In the second semi final Murray will be attempting to do what he's failed to do the each time these two have met at Wimbledon: beat Rafa. The first time he didn't even come close, in fact he got a tennis lesson from Rafa. Last year, however, despite Rafa winning in straight sets, it was much closer.
Murray is playing well, Murray is playing very well indeed, in fact he's quite possibly playing better than Rafa. But Rafa can, and does, up his game when it is needed - but then so can Murray.
Both men are carrying injuries, Rafa's foot and Murray's hip/groin, but I don't think that will be a factor today.
Murray knows how to beat Rafa and has done so four times - Rafa has got the better of Murray eleven times. Rafa has won their last three meetings; Murray the one before that. Both have prevailed in Grand Slams, at this stage, so despite the 11:4 in favour of Rafa, there really isn't any huge statistic in favour of either man - except maybe one: Murray has never beaten Rafa on grass. Could this be his year?
Murray can and does get down on himself when he thinks he's not playing well and that always affects his game. So like all tennis matches so much is down to mental attitude and not just the physical game.
Both will be under pressure: Rafa to defend his title and also his world ranking; Murray to become the first Brit to play in a Wimbledon final for seventy-three years (It's been seventy-five since a British man won Wimbledon). The crowd in true British fashion whilst being behind Murray a little more will support and encourage and applaud both men. So unlike in some places, Rafa won't be playing the crowd as well as Murray.
I think both matches could be tight; both could go to five. On paper Djokovic and Rafa should emerge as winners.
However, I'm going to go with Tsonga and Rafa.
And one more 'stat' if my 'prediction' is correct and if Rafa beats Tsonga on Sunday, then the top four men's points will be the same at the end of the tournament as they were at the beginning, as all four will have got to the stage they go to last year.