STAR PREVIEW: Men’s Singles Final Wimbledon

It is the unstoppable force against the immovable object of tennis. There are 17 Wimbledon Finals, 12 Wimbledon titles, and 617 Grand Slam match wins between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer and we are treated to another clash between the two in the final.

Both men were favourites for their semi-final encounters, but all eyes were on the second semi, where Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played a blistering three-hour encounter that saw the Swiss come out on top 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 6-4. Whilst the ending was dramatic – Nadal saved four match points with some unbelievable tennis – Federer, joint second favourite before the tournament, was superior through the match and was too good for Nadal in the end.

He will have to be better still to take down Djokovic. The World Number 1 and defending champion had only a minor moment of worry during 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 23 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who was playing in his first Grand Slam semi-final, and that followed on from a comfortable tournament for the Serb so far. Before the semis he had beaten Philipp Kohlschreiber (6-3 7-5 6-3) Denis Kudla (6-3 6-2 6-2) Hubert Hurkacz (7-5 6-7 6-1 6-4), Ugo Humbert (6-3 6-2 6-3) David Goffin 6-4 6-0 6-2, dropping only three sets during the tournament.

How does one separate the two? Federer’s main weapon appears to be his first serve, which has helped him make a strong start, but in what is likely to be a long game based on head-to-head records, service points will be crucial. With that in mind, his army of fans will be very happy that he won 70% of his service points against Nadal, but the two are very evenly matched in this area – Djokovic has made 89% of his service points during this tournament, and Federer 86%.

One thing that the Swiss will have noticed was the performance of Bautista Agut in the second set, when he stood firm on his baseline and frustrated Djokovic with accurate services. Federer is more than capable of doing the same in this game at some point, although Djokovic can be expected to try and make this a real running game, as he did when finding another level in the semi-final after losing the second set.

Another key factor will be the crowd, which was evenly split for Federer’s semi but which will be fiercely partisan. Djokovic looked annoyed when the crowd cheered for Bautista Agut as he won the second set and the Centre Court faithful will want only one thing on Sunday.

The best place to look might be their head to head records, which include two Wimbledon finals. The last of those took place in 2015 when Djokovic won, and the Serb generally has the better of the two. This is the fourth Grand Slam final between the pair, and the last time that Federer won in that situation was 2007.

This ought to be a fine sporting occasion, but over the course of the afternoon, Djokovic’s running game and return service can prove too strong for Federer, although the eight-time Champion is not going to go down without a fight. The favourite in four sets could be the value, and the Set Exacta markets could pay handsomely if this is the case.

The Championships, Wimbledon
Men’s Final, All England Club in Wimbledon, London
Play begins 2:00pm Live Coverage on BBC 1HD & iPlayer from 12:45pm

Recent Head To Heads – Djokovic v Nadal
2015 Wimbledon, Grass, Final Djokovic 7–6(7–1), 6–7(10–12), 6–4, 6–3
2015 Cincinnati Masters, Hard, Final Federer 7–6(7–1), 6–3
2015 US Open, Hard, Final Djokovic 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, 6–4
2015 ATP World Tour Finals, Hard, Round Robin Federer 7–5, 6–2
2015 ATP World Tour Finals, Hard, Final Djokovic 6–3, 6–4
2016 Australian Open, Hard, Semi-Final Djokovic 6–1, 6–2, 3–6, 6–3
2018 Cincinnati Masters, Hard, Final Djokovic 6–4, 6–4
2018 Paris Masters, Hard, Semi-Final Djokovic 7–6(8–6), 5–7, 7–6(7–3)

All matches: Djokovic 25-22.
All sets won: Federer 70-67.
At the Grand Slams: Djokovic 9-6.
At Wimbledon: Djokovic 2-1.
In Grand Slam finals: Djokovic 3-1.
In all finals: Djokovic 12-6.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Novak Djokovic 3-1 2 pts at 3/1 with
BACK Novak Djokovic -2.5 Games 5 pts at 4/5 with
BACK Novak Djokovic – LWWW Set Exacta 1 pt at 9/1 with
BACK Novak Djokovic – WLWW Set Exacta 1 pt at 10/1 with

PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 175.54 points
(excluding Cricket World Cup ante-post, John Deere golf, Cricket World Cup Final)