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Five to follow on Day Nine

Novak Djokovic lines up a backhand stroke.
by Nicholas McCarvel
Wednesday 3 July 2013

After a day of compelling Ladies' Singles quarter-finals on Tuesday, the gentlemen take centre stage (and for four of them, Centre Court) to decide the semi-finalists for this year's Championships. We analyse those matches and look at other storylines you won't want to miss on Day Nine at Wimbledon.

Djokovic's Tall Task
Novak Djokovic has been the favourite at Wimbledon since Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer crashed out during the opening week, and on Wednesday he gets his biggest (and tallest) task in 6ft 5in Tomas Berdych, the big-serving Czech who was a finalist here in 2010. While Djokovic owns a commanding 13-2 head-to-head record against Berdych, it's Tomas who has won perhaps their two most important matches: their most recent (on clay in May) and their only grass match (in the semi-finals here, 2010). The victor will face the winner of David Ferrer and Juan Martin Del Potro. Ferrer leads their head-to-head 6-2, including a 2-0 record on grass and a win at Wimbledon a year ago. Neither Ferrer nor Del Potro has looked overly convincing, the Spaniard dropping five sets in five matches and, while Del Potro hasn't dropped a set, a knee injury in the third round is still lingering – making his movement questionable against the gritty Ferrer.

Murray Still the Man
What will be a first for Andy Murray on Wednesday when he faces Fernando Verdasco? It's the first time the British No.1 has met a left hander in the entire 2013 season. In fact, he's played 55 matches since meeting lefty Feliciano Lopez, another Spaniard, in the third round of the U.S. Open. Murray is on an 11-match winning streak vs. left-handers, dating back to his loss to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open in 2011. Murray is 8-1 lifetime against Verdasco, though the last time they met at a major it went Fernando's way – a five-setter at the 2009 Australian Open. The winner of this match will get a Pole as Lukasz Kubot meets Jerzy Janowicz in a unique all-Polish quarter-final. It's the first time any Polish man has made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon since 1980. It's also a first-time meeting between the 22-year-old Jerzy and Lukasz, who at 31 is playing in his first career Grand Slam quarter-final.

Doubles Haven
Would have to be No.2 Court, where some of the biggest names in the doubles game are competing, as well as a few recognisable singles personalities. Of the latter, former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic and 1999 Wimbledon semi-finalist Mirjana Lucic have formed an entertaining pair as they face No.8 seeds Su-Wei Hsieh and Peng Shuai. Following that match, Australians Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua – who were runners up at the Australian Open – meet No.2 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. Lisa Raymond, Bruno Soares, Frederik Nielsen, Scott Lipsky, Nenad Zimonjic and Katarina Srebotnik all compete in mixed doubles later in the day on the same court. Salivate, oh doubles whizzes!

In the Junior Neighborhood
Want to see up and coming Wimbledon stars? Sticking between Centre and No.1 Courts is a smart decision then as a smattering of the must-watch junior matches are taking place on Courts 14, 17 and 19, all right next door to one another. Kyle Edmund and Jonny O'Mara have an all-British battle second on Court 14, followed by up-and-coming American Taylor Townsend – both she and Kyle the No.5 seeds in their respective draws. On Court 17, boys' top seed Nick Kyrgios plays first before his fellow Australian (and the player he beat for the Australian Open junior title) Thanasi Kokkinakis takes on the fourth seed, Laslo Djere. On Court 19 is the most anticipated match-up of the girls' line-up as No.1 Belinda Bencic meets the highly-regarded Anett Kontaveit, seeded No.13 and the U.S. Open juniors runner-up a year ago.

A Day of Rest
Who was spotted out in Wimbledon village for a celebratory evening last night? We won't tell. But it's safe to say that all four of the women's semi-finalists had to have a night of rejoicing after winning two huge matches in as many days. They get a much-earned day off to rest before the Ladies' semi-final day on Thursday. For Kirsten Flipkens, it is a first Grand Slam semi-final of any sort while Agnieszka Radwanska, Sabine Lisicki and Marion Bartoli have been there before. Lisicki still looks as if she could hit her way to the title, but No.4 Radwanska is the insider pick for the win, and, well... you just never know with Marion.


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