The semifinal line-up is set for the Battle of the Brits at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, with, perhaps unsurprisingly, all of the top four seeds having made it out of the round-robin stage. But who will book their place in Sunday’s final?
Battle of the Brits Semifinal Predictions
Kyle Edmund vs Cameron Norrie
Head-to-head: Edmund 1-0 Norrie
In their only previous encounter, which came last season on the grass in Eastbourne, Kyle Edmund gave Cameron Norrie a bit of a lesson, losing only four games. But the slower, indoor hard-court at the National Tennis Centre should be much more to Norrie’s liking. It may need to be. Edmund has been imperious so far this week, beating Andy Murray in a three-set thriller, before dispatching James Ward and Liam Broady with ease, and he appears to have used the break to his advantage.
Norrie endured a more difficult start to his campaign at the Battle of the Brits, struggling past Ryan Peniston before losing in straight-sets to Dan Evans. That left him needing to beat Paul Jubb in his final round-robin match to stand a chance of progressing. But he rose to the occasion magnificently, winning the first eleven games to take an unassailable lead and ultimately wrapping up a comprehensive 6-0 6-2 win. That should give him real confidence heading into this clash.
But he will still likely be up against it when he steps on to court to take on Edmund. The Yorkshireman will surely come out firing and look to use his big forehand to dominate. Norrie, though a good mover and solid baseliner, does not have the weaponry to match Edmund blow for blow. Edmund proved as much last year in Eastbourne and he has been playing well enough so far in Roehampton to suggest that Norrie could be in for another tough day.
Prediction: Edmund in 2
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Dan Evans vs Andy Murray
Head-to-head: first meeting
It is quite surprising that this will be the first competitive meeting between this pair, although perhaps less so when Evans’ relative late development into a top player is considered. The Solihull native currently sits at a career-high world #28, but he spent much of his career playing below ATP-level, ranked outside the top 100. For example, whilst Murray has played 876 matches on the main tour, and Edmund 226, Evans has played only 138 ATP matches.
But Evans has looked determined to make up for lost time of late and his performances at the Battle of the Brits have been inspired. It looks like he has used the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic to improve his fitness and spend as much time as possible on the practice court, and it has paid off handsomely so far in Roehampton. Indeed, the only set he has dropped so far was against Peniston yesterday in a dead rubber.
But facing Murray will mark a step up in the quality of his opposition. The Scot may not be the player he once was, but he has been tested in a variety of ways this week and he has passed the majority of those tests. He was beaten by Edmund, but that was a match in which he had his chances. Physically he has looked solid and his movement has improved match by match, although it is still a concern that he has spoken of being able to feel his hip.
That said, it is hard not to view Evans as the favourite heading into this match. He is playing some of the finest tennis of his career, arguably even better than his ranking of world #28. That is not a level Murray has looked likely to reach as yet at the Battle of the Brits. Evans can test Murray’s movement, particularly with his sliced backhand, and will likely get more returns in play than Murray’s previous opponents. It may well still go the distance, but expect Evans to edge it.
Prediction: Evans in 3
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