Who’s closing in on the men’s semis?

(Last Updated On: July 11, 2018)

FROM WIMBLEDON — In first glance, it looked like Milos Raonic is the favorite versus John Isner. But uh, uh. The American has beaten the Canadian three times, in Canada, in Cincinnati and Miami — all on hardcourt. In 2016, Raonic finally beat him, 7-6(5), 7-6(5) again at  Cincy. Both of them have huge serves, both of them can smoke their forehands, both of them have improved there backhands — slightly. When they come in, and if you have to bend low, then that is trouble because they are very tall and it is hard to put it away.
 
But this is about the grass, and while Isner is playing better in the  fortnight, he is going to have to move up very quickly, because Raonic is feeling it. Yes, the Canadian gets injured all the time, but at least when he is healthy — and that it pretty rare — he can move it around, with a lot of spin. Also, the ace-master Isner can actually scramble. Whomever gets a chance, he has to grab it now

“The keys is going to come down to one, two, three points here and there. That’s pretty much it,” Raonic said. “I don’t think we’re going to have many consecutive opportunities on each other’s serves. It’s going to be coming down to those moments about being sharp in the right moments, who is going to be able to step up, to dictate, putting more pressure on the other guy. It’s going to be decided by small margins.”

It was warm and sunny in the past nine days, but on Tuesday, it was cooler. However, it hasn’t rained. Because of that, the balls comes up higher. Raonic seems to like it, on court, that is.

“It gives you more things to sort of hit down on, hit through the court on. You’re not bending over as much,” he said. “Obviously that’s going to help him. I like to use the slice to come in. I like both conditions when it comes to being on grass. I think it’s definitely been the warmest I’ve ever played here. It definitely is a factor when it’s a living court. It’s the only live surface we play on.”

Raonic certainly loves grass, but he just can’t shake Isner. The American will bomb his big serves and his forehand. Isner will win on five sets.
    
Rafa Nadal will face Juan Martin Del Potro, which is a very tight match. The Argentine will attack him anytime he can, and he will certainly risk his serves. He can’t allow Nadal to yank him around.  Del Potro will push him early, and try to bother him, but Nadal  will pound him on his backhand and throw in some sweet passing shots. Nadal will win in four sets.

Roger Federer is the favorite everyday, so while Kevin Anderson is so mentally sound now, the South African has never beat the Swiss. Over the past year, he has improved a lot, but still, Federer is quicker, faster and conscious. ‘The Fed’ will win in four sets.

Novak Djokovic is churning. Day after day, he is more comfortable, and the 12-time Grand Slam champion is oozing. He has to face Kei Nishikori, who is right in there, but two days ago, he said that his elbow was hurting him, but he got through  Now Nishikori  has to find away to unearth him. The Japanese says: “This is a fresh start.’ Is it really? We will find out.

“I don’t know if we never played on grass. I think it’s going to be new game for us,” Nishikori said. “But he’s always like big war for me. I always enjoy playing against him. It’s always big challenge. Maybe I don’t have good result, good record with him, but I always enjoy playing him. He’s one of the best player on the tour.”

And so is Nishikori, in a smaller degree. For a few hours, Nishikori will handle him, rallying side to side. But in the fourth set, Djokovic will start to dominating his backhand and his serves. The Serbian will win in four sets, and after that, here comes playing Nadal — 52 times. That is a lot.

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