Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympic Tennis Men's Semifinals preview

Roger Federer (1) vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (8)
Federer continued his serene progress through the tournament by easily defeating John Isner in the last eight. The scoreline might suggest a close match, but the reality was that Federer was barely troubled. If it wasn't for Isner's serve, Federer would have won more comprehensively.

Del Potro looked extremely convincing in beating the talented Kei Nishikori. His serve was extremely efficient, and at times it seemed all Nishikori was doing was scrambling and hoping that Del Potro would commit errors. The one concern was that he let Nishikori back into the second set after leading by two breaks.

As impressive as Del Potro was in the quarterfinals, he is not going to get the same opportunities to go after his shots against Federer on grass. Federer can be troubled by Del Potro's heavy shots, but his greater finesse and tactical variety on the surface should see him win in two comfortable sets.

Andy Murray (3) vs. Novak Djokovic (2)
Murray was absolutely brilliant against Nicolas Almagro in the quarterfinals. He took a few games to settle in, but once he got a read on Almagro's serve, he completely dismantled his opponents game. Murray was simply superior in every aspect of the game and sauntered to a comprehensive victory.

Djokovic was facing the toughest quarterfinal opponent in Tsonga, but came through extremely impressively. He was finding the mark with his first serves, returning brilliantly and there simply was no competition once the baseline rallies started. As Tsonga attempted a last hurrah with some breathtaking net play, Djokovic dug in and chose the right moment to unfurl some brilliant passing shots to seal the match.

These two have a great rivalry, and they haven't played each other on grass recently. This match-up is simply too close to call. Like Federer, Murray has the potential to unsettle Djokovic with his greater variety, however Djokovic could reciprocate with his unbelievable defence. Ultimately it could all come down to who serves better in what should be a classic semi-final.