Djokovic vs Berdych – Djokovic wary of favourite tag
Novak Djokovic will ignore his perfect record against surprise semi-finalist Tomas Berdych when the pair meet on Centre Court on Friday for a place in Sunday’s Wimbledon showpiece match.
The world number three beat his Czech opponent in straight sets in each of their two previous meetings, and another straight sets win for Djokovic is priced at 7/2.
But Djokovic had the utmost respect for Berdych even before he sent Roger Federer packing in Wednesday’s quarter-finals, and he expects a tough semi-final.
Djokovic, the 2008 Australian Open champion who is the only semi-finalist without a grass-court title, knows Berdych has improved out of all recognition since their last clash in Miami 16 months ago.
Friday’s tussle will be their first Grand Slam clash and their first meeting on grass, the surface on which Berdych has looked increasingly comfortable, with the prize a place in the final against Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray.
Berdych produced the performance of the tournament so far to beat Federer in four sets, and the Czech 24-year-old is 7/2 to win in the same manner against Djokovic.
Two of Berdych’s matches at Wimbledon this year have lasted four sets, and his third round win against Denis Istomin was settled in a deciding fifth set. You can bet on Berdych’s match with Djokovic lasting exactly five sets at 2/1.
Djokovic also has a habit of going the full distance, as he needed five sets to seal his first round win over Olivier Rochus.
Having also been pushed by Lleyton Hewitt in their four-set fourth round meeting, Djokovic will relish the prospect of another lengthy encounter.
With both players’ recent penchant for long-haul battles, Djokovic’s major tournament-winning experience will be crucial, and a Djokovic win in five sets could be worth backing at 9/2.
Can Djokovic go all the way? He is 9/2 to win Wimbledon. See the full Tournament Winner market.