Since the headliner is scheduled first today, and is obviously the most intriguing matchup of the day and perhaps the summer, let’s begin by talking Federer-Djokovic.  The head to head right now is 14-9 in Roger’s favor and Roger is 4-3 against Djokovic since last year’s terrible 5 set loss here in which Roger blew several match points.  Here’s a good bit of information: since last October, Djokovic has lost 5 completed matches (76-5 in those matches).  Four of the losses have come to Federer, and one to Michael Llodra of all people.  In their illustrious head to head, they have met in 6 major semi-finals (3 US, 2 Australian, 1 French) and are 3-3, but all three of Djokovic’s wins have come in late afternoon (US Open) /evening matches (Oz).

Roger is a fast starter and usually thrives on being first up.  He seems to have some problems at Flushing in the twilight when the sun is escaping and night is setting.  Recall the first rate meltdowns against Del Potro and Djokovic in ’09 and ‘010.  In three early starting major semis versus Djoker (USO ’09, USO ’08, and AO ’08), Roger has dropped one combined set.  Federer has always spoken highly of the virtues of being a morning person.  He has espoused the old axiom that every hour before noon time is essentially worth 2.  We think the early start definitely favors him because it is where he is most comfortable beginning.

In watching Djokovic-Tipsarevic the other day, we credit Tipsy for pushing Djokovic and winning a set, and almost two, before eventually packing it in.  Maybe you saw Djokovic working indoors at the indoor bubble over at the NTC in preparation, and he was going very hard, crushing, absolutely crushing 2 handers.  With their friendship annd coming from the same backyard, Djokovic did not want to lose to Tipsarevic, and he anticipated Tipsy’s best match.  Good calls.  Tipsarevic was the first man to get a set off him in this event, and really, the first guy to push him to hit hard off both wings.  We were privileged enough to be in the building for Djokovic-Berlocq last Thursday.  The match was a complete joke, but we noticed something that we thought consistent from Djokovic in rounds 1-4, that he was avoiding crushing the forehand.  Lingering shoulder issues maybe.  We’ve all seen Tipsarevic play well, push great players, etc.  But let’s be real.  The guy has never even won a tournament.  Ever. 

Looking at how Federer played his last two matches, two clinics, and how Djokovic played Tipsarevic, we are wondering if the grinder among them is tired/worn from a year of grinding and basically making every final of every event but one, and if the glider among them is fresh and hitting his stride.  Because Roger has not looked this good in years, and despite a low ace total against Tsonga, he has been hitting all the spots with his serve.  Djokovic allowed something like 14 break points against Tipsarevic.  We don’t expect him to win if he gives Roger those chances.

12:05 EST

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Novak Djokovic:  – 175

Roger Federer:  + 150

The odds have been fluctuating on this match since last night, but more pertinently, in the last hour, toward Roger.  Djokovic was – 190 just a few minutes ago.  Late money is on Roger.  That’s worth noting.

Est. for aproximately 3 PM EST

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Andy Murray:  + 210

Rafael Nadal:  – 250

Obviously we were extremely disheartened by Roddick’s performance yesterday, and his inability to even tire out Nadal, which as was noted by contributor Mr. White, at least Ferrer would’ve given Nadal a match.  We will go further than that.  We think at this point that Roddick should quit tennis.  Seriously.  All this talk of Nadal’s beefed up serve…Patrick McEnroe should note for us which player in history has started out with an anemic, basic point starter serve and ended up serving bombs and aces? 

Roddick can not return serve.  He is the worst returner in the game.  And he can’t hold serve against Nadal on a relatively fast court.  I have tremendous respect for Boris Becker.  When that guy walked away, he could still play.  But there was one guy he couldn’t beat, and that was Pete Sampras.  So Becker retired behind the sentiment that if he could not beat the best then there was no reason to suit up.  Nadal is not even the best by any stretch of the imagination, though he’s obviously no slouch.  He has had a cake draw, and it hurts Murray that the lad was taxed by Isner for 3 plus hours.  But Murray has made a living off his conditioning and has beaten Nadal in this very spot in 2008 and in 2010 in Melbourne.  Though Murray is only 4-12 lifetime in the h2h, all four victories came on hards.  Murray is playing very well on hards, taking out Djokovic and winning Cincy, and he would love to avenge a bad Wimbledon loss in the semis in which he was well on his way to a win.

1st Ladies Semi-final

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Angelique Kerber:  + 325

Sam Stosur:  – 450

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2nd Ladies Semi-final

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Caroline Wozniacki:  + 300

Serena Williams:  + 400

…..

We endorse no action on the Stosur match right now.  We hate Stosur as a big favorite, we hate her in a big spot, and frankly, we doubt she makes the move she has in the women’s game if the Clijsters, Henins, Serenas, Venuses, Sharapovas, Ivanovics, and Safinas are around and consistently good.  Kerber has impressed her.  We have not been surprised by her at all, and we loved her early.  Later we may venture a wager theoretically on AK.  We will not touch Stosur.

Should we even mention the late match?  Obviously Wozniazki has no business winning, and Vegas has given her no mind whatsoever.  We don’t like a – 400 line on principle because the payout is tiny.  That said, we have Serena twisted up in a nice parlay theoretically so far.  Also, we theoretically are riding with what we feel are smart bets regardless of who is favored.  Federer and Murray.  That’s why it’s called gambling.  We may even like Federer in 4 at + 550.

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