Roger Federer and Tommy Haas will reprise their French Open meeting in the Wimbledon semi finals and if there is half as much tennis betting drama this time around as there was at Roland Garros, punters are in for a treat.
Haas squandered a two-set and a break in the third advantage in that match as Federer battled his way to a historic 14th Grand Slam title. It was his best Grand Slam performance since his quarter final appearance at the 2007 US Open and confirmed the injury troubles that blighted him throughout 2008 are behind him.
He took his recovery to the next level at the Gerry Weber open at Halle, winning his first tour title since February 2007. It proved he could win tournaments on grass and persuaded me to follow him at Wimbledon.
Haas beat Novak Djokovic in the final at Halle and with the Serbian the top seed in his quarter at the All England Club, I fancied Haas to win his quarter. Despite some nervous moments in the third round against Marin Cilic, the bet paid off.
Federer, as ever, is another level. The five-time winner was clinical in dealing with the big-serving Ivo Karlovic in the last eight and it is easy to think that if Haas couldn’t beat Federer on the clay of Paris, he certainly will not on grass.
The Swiss legend leads their head-to-head record 9-2 and has won their last seven meetings, although Haas can take heart from the fact their two grass meetings, at Halle in 2005 and 2006, were tight. Haas has turned himself into a serve-and-volleyer over the last two weeks but facing Federer might bring a change of plan, as he likes nothing more than a target at the net to unfurl his passing strokes against.
Federer will surely win but a 3-1 scoreline could provide value. Haas won a first set tie-break in their Paris meeting despite not winning a point on the Federer serve until that point and will not be daunted by the pressure of the occasion.
4 hours ago