Novak Djokovic is going through a strange time in his career, having failed to win any of the last five major championships, and has now lost 5 of his last 6 Grand Slam finals. Usually, the Serb is a model of ruthless consistency until the latter stages of a slam, but his 2014 Wimbledon campaign hasn't been without it's stutters. Very few people would have predicted that Marin Cilic would at one point lead the world number two by two sets to one. Still, for all his troubles, Novak Djokovic can reclaim the number one ranking if he goes all the way and wins his seventh major title on Sunday.
In contrast, everything is very clear for Grigor Dimitrov right now. He's just beaten one of the big four for the first time at a Grand Slam, reaching his first semi final, and he did so convincingly, not to mention the fact that since October, he has won four ATP Tour titles, one on each surface. As of next week, he will be a member of the top ten for the first time in his career, too. Not a bad tournament for the Bulgarian, then, and whatever happens now, this is a big step forward. Dimitrov hasn't always enjoyed being compared to Roger Federer in the past, but he probably won't complain too much if he goes on to win The Championships this year and everyone and his dog points out that the Swiss Maestro did the same thing 11 years ago after he, too, lost in the first round of the French Open.
Head To Head: Djokovic and Dimitrov have faced off four times, with the Bulgarian's only win coming in dramatic fashion on the Madrid clay last year. At Roland Garros 2013, Novak Djokovic took a convincing 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 victory over his young rival in the pair's only meeting in a Grand Slam. They have never played a professional match on grass.
Prediction: This match does have the potential to be an absolute classic, but I think Djokovic has had his obligatory slip up by dropping two sets to Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals. Dimitrov has made many headlines in the past few weeks and his stock has risen in remarkable fashion, but, like Nick Kyrgios failed to back up his win over Rafael Nadal in his quarter-final match, I think the Bulgarian will struggle to take back-to-back wins against top opponents. Nobody should be shocked if Dimitrov comes close or even wins this match, because he really is just that good now, but my pick here is Novak Djokovic to win in four sets.
Roger Federer vs. Milos Raonic
Roger Federer has a history of struggling a bit the day after his great rival Nadal is knocked out of his way at a Grand Slam, not least when he came within a few points of losing to Tommy Haas before going on to claim his only French Open title in 2009. It wasn't all that surprising, then, that he dropped his first set of the tournament to countryman Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday. True to form, though, the 4th seed overcame his compatriot in four sets to reach his 9th Wimbledon semi final. It's worth noting that in his last eight visits to this stage, Federer has never lost, and ended up lifting the trophy on seven of those occasions. You feel now that this really is the great man's best chance of adding an 18th major trophy to his cabinet, and that the next few days could be essential in determining whether or not he will keep his place at the top of the "total slam titles" table from Rafa, when all is said and done.
Milos Raonic was under more pressure than most would think when he faced off with Nick Kyrgios on Wednesday. The Canadian has always had the edge in the race to the top of tennis of the current generation, but with Grigor Dimitrov crushing Andy Murray to reach his first slam semi-final and the Australian teenager having just beaten Rafael Nadal on the biggest stage of all, it was Raonic's turn to keep himself in the "next big thing" conversation, and he delivered with an ultimately comfortable victory, despite dropping the first set. As a result, Raonic is set to contend his first Grand Slam semi final on Friday, and, unless Dimitrov wins the title, will rise to number 6 in the rankings.
Head To Head: Federer has a 100% record in his four clashes with Milos Raonic, but in each of their three set meetings, the Swiss star has been forced to come from behind to succeed, twice requiring a third set tie break to overcome his young opponent. In the fourth round of the Australian Open 2013, Federer comfortably won their only previous meeting in a Grand Slam in straight sets. Their only previous match on grass came two years ago, where Federer won 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 in the quarter-finals of Halle.
Prediction: Given how well each of these players has served throughout the tournament, I'm expecting the first two sets to go to tie-breaks, with one going each way. Eventually, though, I think Federer will seize control in the third set and go on to reach his ninth final at SW19. I'm backing Roger Federer to win in four sets as well.
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