A few lines from my notes today....
Finally on to Wimbledon and the long awaited Mens Semi Finals and it is here I come for my two "official" selections of the day. Huge pressure on Andy Murray who faces defending champion Rafael Nadal at this stage for the second year running.
Murray is in his best form of the season and having now been in several grand slam finals, it is time for him to make the big step forward. Having not played in 2009 and also winning in 2008, Rafa has not lost at the All England club since the 2007 final, so is looking for a 20th straight win. He will be boosted by a 11-5 h2h record over Murray , he is 4-2 in grand slams and 2-0 on grass, lets start with a look at one of those, the semi final meeting last year .Nadal won in three close sets ( 33 games) in which there were very few break points for either and the match was decided by a couple of big points which the spanish superstar played better. They last met at Roland Garros a month ago and again Rafa eased home in three close sets ( 32 games), but this time Murray had the chances to win, or at least take a set or two, earning 19 break points, that gives him an awful lot of hope for today.
If he can take Rafa that close on a court which is like a second home, he has a chance on a surface which suits him better, having said that, Nadal obviously feels at home here too, but there remains a big difference between the two surfaces. My point is that this is it, it will be hard to make excuses after today, if Murray cannot take Nadal at least to the wire at Wimbledon, when is it going to happen outside of the USA? The british player upped his game against big serving Lopez and Gasquet ( who had given him problems in the past) in the last two rounds and this is about as fresh as he had been in any of his grand slam runs. Rafa does have some ankle concerns too, I expect this to go to at least four sets today and quite possible five, it is possible to bet the "over" 39.5 games at up to 1.83, @ 1.80 + it would be my strong selection, if only the 40.5 game option is available to you, I would still take it, but for reduced stakes.