McEnroe makes Federer ‘slight’ semi favourite

Updated: 26/11/2023

Roger Federer (6/5 – Match Result) should be the “slight favourite” for Friday’s Wimbledon semi-final clash with great rival Rafael Nadal (4/6), according to three-time former Men’s Singles champion John McEnroe.

Oddsmakers have it the other way around but McEnroe believes Federer has the greater chance of making it through to Sunday’s final based on the Swiss being more at home on grass.

Tennis fans are licking their lips in anticipation of the 40th meeting between the two legends, whose last clash at SW19 has gone down in folklore as probably the greatest match at Wimbledon.

That was back in 2008 when Nadal dethroned Federer 9-7 in the fifth set of a rain-interrupted classic to win his first silver gilt cup.

And the Spaniard’s performances this year have shown a remarkable return to form after years of struggling on the grass.

The left-hander has the highest percentage of points won on first serve of any of the four semi-finalists, although it is only one percentage point higher than Federer’s 82 per cent.

He also has more aces than any of the others at 47, five more than Federer and seven more than Djokovic.

The 33-year-old has served more double faults than his opponent, however, with 10 against the 37-year-old Federer’s eight doubles across his five victories.

Despite that, it might still be worth looking at Nadal To Win, Serve The Most Aces And Have The Least Double Faults (9/1 Pick Your Punt – Bet Request).

Federer’s reputation for making fast starts has been dented during his run to the last four with both first-round opponent Lloyd Harris and quarter-final victim Kei Nishikori beating him to the punch by taking the first set.

Nadal (8/11 – First Set Winner) has won all of his first sets so far without needing a tie-break and could get off to the fastest start on Centre Court.

Novak Djokovic (1/14 – Match Result) is almost as big a favourite for his semi-final against Roberto Bautista Agut as he was for his quarter-final clash with David Goffin.

The defending champion should take full advantage of any mistakes from the Spaniard, whose game has been based around trying to hit more winners than unforced errors.

Bautista Agut did beat the Serbian in their two 2019 meetings in Miami and Doha, but hasn’t got the better of the top seed in three previous five-set matches at the slams.

On those occasions, Bautista Agut did take a set so the temptation could be to go over (5/6 – Over Total Games Over/Under 31.5) on the number of games in the match.

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