WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Wimbledon tips for the semi-final between defending champ Novak Djokovic and Brit crowd favourite Cameron Norrie.
19:00 (AEST), Fri 8th Jul @ All England Club, Wimbledon
History: Played 1: Djokovic 1 V Norrie 0
Last meeting: ATP Finals, 2021 (RR): Djokovic d Norrie 6-2 6-1
Final Thoughts: Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal from a barnburner against Nick Kyrgios has left the Wimbledon men’s draw with a solitary semi-final fizzer between Novak Djokovic and $8.70 outsider Cameron Norrie.
Ninth-seeded Brit Norrie is enjoying his first run beyond the third round of a grand slam. He’s played well but has undoubtedly capitalised on a favourable draw.
The 26-year-old has faced just one seeded player so far – overcoming 30th seed Tommy Paul 6-4 7-5 6-4 in the Round of 16. Norrie was pushed to his limit by journeyman David Goffin in the quarter-finals, clawing back from a set down twice to win 3-6 7-5 2-6 6-3 7-5.
Top seed Djokovic progressed to the quarters without too much trouble. He easily accounted for Thanasi Kokkinakis and Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets for the loss of just seven games in each. Rising grass-court specialist Tim van Rijthoven was put away in four sets by an 11-game margin despite putting up solid resistance.
But Djokovic looked in real trouble in his quarter-final against 10th seed Jannik Sinner, losing the first two sets. As he invariably does, the 35-year-old clicked into gear to carve out a 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory.
Norrie won just three games in his only previous encounter with Djokovic, a blowout during last year’s ATP Finals. Norrie’s career record is short on victories over the game’s truly elite – he is yet to beat anyone who has been ranked first or second. Wins over Stefanos Tsitipas in Acapulco this year and Andrey Rublev in San Diego in 2021 are rare exceptions.
An extremely fit player with a well put together game, Norrie doesn’t appear to have the extra X-factor or power to take the next step. Djokovic, the winner of the last three Wimbledon titles, has lost just one of his last 18 grand slam semi-finals and is unlikely to have too much trouble progressing to his 32nd major final.