Barty Time for Djokovic Again at Wimbledon

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Ash Barty and Novak Djokovic remain on course for SW19 glory

Ash Barty hopes to secure a first Wimbledon title this weekend.

We’ve reached the semi-final stages at Wimbledon and there are some familiar, and unfamiliar names with an eye on glory at SW19 over the weekend.

Thursday is ladies semis day and, after world number one Ashleigh Barty takes on Angelique Kerber first on Centre Court, it’s the turn of the lesser-heralded Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka, who go head-to-head in the second semi.

Barty on a Roll

Barty is the overall favourite to triumph at a tempting 6/4 come Saturday, and few will give Kerber a chance of upsetting her in their last-four showdown, even if she has a Wimbledon title to her name, after winning here in 2018.

Australian Barty has been in supreme form all tournament, dropping just one set so far en route to the semis – and that was in her nervy first-round win over Carla Suarez Navarro.

Kerber has not had quite as smooth a run to this stage and she was tested by both Sara Sorribes Tormo and Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second and third rounds, before overcoming the talented Coco Gauff in the fourth round – impressively in straight sets.

Both players clearly have a chance, but it looks like this is Barty’s time. She’s eight years Kerber’s junior and can triumph in three sets, on offer at 23/10.

Despite the much-talked about absences of defending champion Simona Halep and four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka this year, on top of the early exit of Wimbledon stalwart Serena Williams, the tournament has gone to form.

If Barty comes through, as expected, she should take on second seed and world number four Sabalenka in the final, provided she beats eighth seed Pliskova.

Sabalenka Ready for the Final

Sabalenka, who is 20/43 to prevail, is playing in her maiden Grand Slam semi-final after a gritty win over Ons Jabeur in the last eight, and the 23-year-old admits she now has the confidence in her own ability that was previously lacking.

She said: “I was struggling at Grand Slams with all emotions going through. After every Slam I was so disappointed with myself that I can’t handle this pressure.

“I actually thought that I will never make it to the second week. We worked a lot with my psychologist and with my coach. I’m really happy that here in Wimbledon I’m in the second week, I’m still in the tournament and I still have this opportunity to win a Slam.”

Can Anyone Stop Djokovic?

On Friday, it’s the men’s turn and it remains difficult to see past reigning champion and top seed Novak Djokovic for the top prize on Sunday.

The Serb has waltzed his way to the last four and his meeting with Denis Shapovalov shouldn’t hold too many fears.

Djokovic is firmly on course to equal Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s all-time record total of 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles and can see off 10th seed Shapovalov in another straight-forward, straight-sets win.

These two have met six times previously – although never on grass – and Djokovic has won all six, four of which have been in straight sets. Take the 34-year-old to repeat that trick on Friday, available at 20/31.

Hurkacz can Upset Odds Again

The other men’s semi gives the lesser-known Matteo Berrettini and Hubert Hurkacz the chance to both make their first-ever Grand Slam final.

Berrettini, seeded seventh, is the obvious favourite after he’s won three of his matches at SW19 so far in straight sets, but Polish world number 73 Hurkacz can spring a surprise after he performed outstandingly to see off Roger Federer in the quarters, having ousted Daniil Medvedev in the previous round.

The 43/20 on offer for the 14th seed to win looks too long and he can book his place in the final by upsetting the odds again.

They have met just once previously on the ATP Tour – on the hard courts of Miami in 2019 – and Hurkacz won that clash in straight sets to further enhance his appeal.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.

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