There was something of an upset in the Wimbledon Women’s Championship on Saturday as Simona Halep upset Serena Williams. Even more amazing–Halep flat out dominated Williams winning her second Grand Slam title (and first Wimbledon crown) 6-2, 6-2. The Men’s Final (which Wimbledon charmingly calls the ‘Gentlemen’s Singles Final) is set for Sunday morning as World #1 and overall grass court monster Novak Djokovic takes on World #3 ranked (and Wimbledon #2 seeded) Roger Federer.
So will it be ‘deja vu all over again’ with the underdog Federer pulling the upset? Doubtful. Although the expectation was that Rafael Nadal would face Djokovic in the ‘Gentlemen’s Final’ it was Federer who vindicated the Wimbledon ranking format by advancing to the championship match. Federer is no joke and at this level particularly the suggestion that at 37 years old he’s ‘over the hill’ relative to the 32 year old Djokovic is laughable. Federer has won the singles title at Wimbledon 8 times which is ridiculous. That’s one more than Pete Sampras and the same number won by legitimate legends Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Combined. McEnroe won 3, Borg 5. Were that not impressive enough, Federer has a tendency to win when he reaches the finals. He’s reached 11 finals and won 8.
Federer last won in 2017 beating Marin Cilic but it’s important to note that both times he’s faced Djokovic in the finals he’s lost (2014 and 2015). Djokovic has lost in the finals only once (2013) when Englishman Andy Murray became the first British singles winner since Virginia Wade in 1977 and the first men’s winner since Fred Perry in 1936. As in the case of boxing, ‘styles make fights’ and Djokovic has the edge in head to head grand slam play–he’s got a 2-1 edge at Wimbledon and a 9-6 edge overall.
Djokovic has looked more dominant in his march through the bracket than has Federer. With the exception of a set dropped to Hubert Hurkacz the only set he’s dropped was against Roberto Bautista Augt in the semifinals. Oddly enough, Federer dropped his first set of the tournament losing 6-3 to Lloyd Harris. Even his ‘straight set’ victories were less decisive than Djokovic’s. He dropped the first set to Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals and the second set to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.
One thing that Federer can’t do is to try and play ‘not to lose’. His aggression against Nadal was in large part likely for his win–taking 70% of service points against him is not easy to do. There is some question about Nadal’s mental edge in the semifinals as he appeared to come unglued after his 6-1 second set win. That could have made Federer’s efforts to force tempo all the more effective. That won’t be the case against Djokovic, however. Djokovic has been ridiculously consistent throughout this tournament and that should ultimately give him the victory. Federer’s strong service game should win him at least one set, however, and that gives us several ways to bet.