They say that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. But in Roger Federer’s case this fortnight, why not both? Down two sets to one in his opening round against Adrian Mannarino, the Frenchman suffered an eventual match-ending spill, ultimately propelling the Swiss to his 18th career Wimbledon quarterfinal. Federer was extremely lucky to escape, but he’s been fantastic since, especially in his straight-set thumping of Lorenzo Sonego in the fourth round.

But Federer’s quarterfinal opponent, Hubert Hurkacz, needed a bit of good fortune as well. Down two sets to one against Daniil Medvedev, rain postponed their Monday match with Hurkacz leading 4-3, on serve, in the fourth set. The Russian was a -700 favorite heading into Tuesday’s conclusion, but came out extremely flat, dropping serve three times in the final 11 games. Hurkacz pounced to reach his first major quarterfinal.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Federer is listed as a -250 favorite and projected to win by 3.5 total games with an over/under total of 38.5 games. In their only meeting at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open, Federer dismissed the Pole, 6-4, 6-4, in the quarterfinals, hitting some impressive shots in the process.

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Federer came up with thrilling shots in Indian Wells, but after two knee surgeries, his movement is not the same. 

The 2021 version of Federer is more than a few steps slower than the one we saw two years ago. While he is still a superior grass-court player, Hurkacz has a notoriously tricky game. For a player standing 6’5” who regularly clocks serves 140 m.p.h., he relies on his defensive skills much more than you’d think. His ability to turn defense into offense from precarious positions is arguably his biggest strength on the tennis court. This could cause serious problems for Federer, as his first-strike tennis could play into Hurkacz’s strengths.

With a straight-set victory in either direction seeming unlikely, and two players who can zoom through service games, I will be on the over 38.5 game total. For predictions sake, let’s go with Federer continuing his comeback narrative, but any bets placed should definitely be on the smaller side.

The Pick: Over 38.5 total games