Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray may be favourites to face off in Sunday’s Wimbledon final, but they have to get past two bear-sized, hard-hitting opponents.
Standing between Murray and a second consecutive Wimbledon final is the imposing 6’8’’ Jerzy Janowicz, who serves with insane power and drills a huge forehand, the two strokes helping compensate for some deficiencies in his game.
Janowicz’s record against Murray is an even 1-1, with the Briton losing their last match at the Paris Masters in 2012.
His service record reveals an average of 75 per cent points won on first serve, and 52 per cent on second, a tad better than Murray’s corresponding numbers of 74 and 50. Needless to say, on grass the big man’s serve has the potential of being even more destructive and much will depend on how Murray handles it.
The No.2 seed will have to recover the self-belief that seemed to have momentarily escaped him during the match against Verdasco.
As for the giant Pole, who broke down in a flood of tears after winning his quarterfinal, much will depend on how he copes with being in the pressure cooker of a Grand Slam semifinal.
In the other half, Djokovic faces Juan Martin del Potro. A massive 6’6’’, del Potro averages 74 per cent points on first serve, and 52 per cent on second — a close parallel of Janowicz’s.
Similarly, del Potro’s forehand, swat flat and hard with an unconventional eastern grip, is a formidable weapon.
While Djokovic has a sizeable 8-3 win-loss record against del Potro, the Argentinean won their last encounter on grass in 2012.
Unlike Murray, there hasn’t been as much as the hint of a snag in the progress of Djokovic, who has not dropped a set so far. del Potro will have to play beyond himself to win the match, something he may find difficult to do after injuring again a hyper-extended knee during his quarterfinal against David Ferrer and almost, as he admitted later, conceding the match.
Essentially, the contest will be about the big serves of the two underdogs (perhaps, a little about their free-stroking forehands as well) against the vastly superior all-court skills of the top two seeds.