Novak Djokovic vs Kevin Anderson live streaming, predictions and tips: Djokovic faces Anderson after record Wimbledon semifinals

Hannah Wilks in Wimbledon 14 Jul 2018
  • Novak Djokovic faces Kevin Anderson in the final of Wimbledon 2018 on Sunday
  • Djokovic vs Anderson is live from Wimbledon's Centre Court at 2pm BST
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Novak Djokovic

After the two longest men’s semifinals in Wimbledon history, the ability to recover is key as Kevin Anderson and Novak Djokovic face off for the title in the 2018 final.

Will three-time champion Novak Djokovic prove he’s back to his best by capturing his fourth Wimbledon title? He’ll have to do something that nobody else has been able to do – bring down giant South African Kevin Anderson.

After a Wimbledon full of shocks, it’s the final nobody saw coming as Djokovic takes on Anderson at 2pm BST on Centre Court on Sunday. All the talk in the first week, especially after the early exits of the likes of Marin Cilic, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem and the heatwave that seemed to favour certain players in particular, was of a potential rematch between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, ten years on from their epic 2008 encounter. Anderson and Djokovic had other ideas.

In many ways, it feels right that Djokovic could be the player who ends the six-tournament streak of Grand Slams won by Federer and Nadal, stretching back to Stan Wawrinka’s US Open run in 2016 – Djokovic’s last appearance in a Grand Slam final, and the longest he has gone without making one since winning his second title at the 2011 Australian Open. The younger generation have threatened sporadically, but ultimately not come close to breaching the long-established champions’ fortified position at the top of the sport, so who else would it be but Djokovic, who belongs in the conversation with the best of them?

Djokovic reminded us of that throughout his five-hour, 15-minute five-set victory over Nadal in the semifinals. Although they have played in a Wimbledon final, the Djokovic-Nadal rivalry was nevertheless missing a Wimbledon classic – but no more. Under the stress of unusual circumstances – starting a match late on Friday evening that clearly wasn’t going to be finished, resuming on Saturday with the pressure of knowing the winner had to play again on Sunday – Djokovic produced the best tennis we have seen from him in two years. He bullied Nadal around the court, especially in the first set, with exceptional shotmaking, and his serve, back to something close to its original motion thanks to Marian Vajda after being adjusted to accommodate Djokovic’s long-running right elbow injury, was superbly effective, firing 21 aces throughout the match and winning a higher proportion of points behind the first delivery (76% to 67%) despite an identical percentage of first-serves landed (71%). 

In a match in which so many of the stats were so even – both men finished with 73 winners to 42 unforced errors – that difference was crucial, and it’s not surprising that Nadal was rattled enough, in the third-set tie break, to make the tactical error of going to the drop-shot once too often, allowing Djokovic to chase it down and set up the set point he eventually converted. When the match resumed on Saturday, Nadal had clearly come out determined to be aggressive as possible, and it worked for a while as he took the fourth set; but Djokovic adjusted, and as the fifth set ebbed and flowed with nothing to choose between the two, the Serb’s ability to save three break points at 7-8 – two with impressive serves, and one with a moment of absolute magic, a passing shot winner that threaded a needle shaped like a mobius strip – proved crucial. Nadal saved one match point at 8-8, but Djokovic created three in a row at 8-9, and Nadal capitulated.

‘I'm really, really pleased. I was very emotional after the match, as well, because it's been a long 15 months for me, trying to overcome different obstacles,’ Djokovic said. ‘To be where I am at the moment is quite satisfying.’

Another man who will have been quite satisfied to see Djokovic play the second longest semifinal in Wimbledon history? Kevin Anderson.

The big South African’s tough road to the semifinal – a grueling four-set win over Gael Monfils, and then coming back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer 13-11 in the fifth set – left him seemingly at a physical disadvantage before that one even started, and while he certainly seemed to be mildly the fitter at the end of his six-hour, 36-minute duel with John Isner, there’s no denying that a 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 victory is hardly perfect preparation for facing Djokovic, so it at least levels the playing field marginally for Djokovic to have then had to play two days in a row, and a very physically testing clash at that. 

This is Anderson’s second Grand Slam final, but to have reached the Wimbledon final – the first man representing South Africa to do so since the 1920s – in this fashion, beating the eight-time champion and then surviving that marathon test from Isner, is an achievement which really puts his run at last year’s US Open in the shade. I don’t think anyone can dispute that Anderson has never played better than he has done in the last three matches he’s played. A consummate professional who leaves no stone unturned in his quest to be better, the South African has consulted a sports psychologist, and it’s notable how tremendously positive and energized he’s staying even under the most stressful and discouraging circumstances. Less airily, he’s using his inside-out forehand more aggressively and effectively than ever before, and his passing shots – against both Federer and Isner – were absolutely fearsome. And he’s doing all of that without sacrificing accuracy. Just 24 errors against Isner, even according to Wimbledon’s generous stat-keeping, reflects some tremendously clean ball-striking.

‘I don't know what got me through today's match other than just a will to try to succeed, keep pushing myself,’ Anderson said on Friday. ‘I tried as much as I could to just keep fighting. I take a lot of pride in that. Fortunately, I was able to find a way over the finish line.’

That said, no matter how long Djokovic’s two-match was, there’s no question in my mind that Anderson is at a serious physical disadvantage. He saw the trainer twice against Isner, and the 32-year-old South African has had serious injury issues over the past couple of years. Djokovic may not come into this match feeling completely sprightly – it’s been a very long time since he played a match of anything like the length and intensity as the one he played against Nadal, and then was expected to back ti up the following day – but it’s difficult not to see him having a significant physical advantage.

Then there’s the fact that, in six matches against Djokovic, Anderson has only won one – and that was the very first one they played, all the way back in 2008. Djokovic won the next four, including a Wimbledon match in 2011, in straight sets. And yet Anderson did push Djokovic all the way to five sets in 2015 – and the big South African is playing better now than he was then. 

A player with Anderson’s weapons, playing his very best tennis, is always going to be a really tough proposition as Federer, Monfils and Isner have found to their cost this week. But I simply don’t see how he’s going to be physically capable of producing, let alone sustaining, that kind of tennis again. Anderson might take a set, but if Djokovic serves as he did against Nadal, he should be able to make his opponent feel consistently under pressure on serve, and that will tell sooner or later. I think we can expect to welcome Djokovic back into the champions’ circle on Sunday.

Djokovic vs Anderson is live from Wimbledon’s Centre Court at 2pm BST on Sunday. Watch and bet on the match live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis > Novak Djokovic vs Kevin Anderson (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify

Share this with your friends

Your comments:

Novak Djokovic vs Kevin Anderson live streaming, predictions and tips: Djokovic faces Anderson after record Wimbledon semifinals

Novak Djokovic vs Kevin Anderson live streaming, preview and tips for the Wimbledon men’s final on Sunday 15 July 2018: Djokovic looks for first major title since the French Open in 2016 as the resurgent Serb faces big-serving Anderson. We preview the match and show you how you can watch the match live and bet in-play.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages