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Day Nine: Murray resists another Wacky Wednesday

by Nicholas McCarvel
Wednesday 3 July 2013

A week after a wacky day turned this Wimbledon into one of the weirdest in recent history, Wednesday looked to turn The Championships on its head once again. But Andy Murray wouldn't allow it, the world No.2 fighting back from two-sets-to-love down for the seventh time in his career to book a fifth-straight semi-final at the All England Club. We look at what else happened on Day Nine...

Match of the Day: [2] Andy Murray def. Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5
For a few hours on Wednesday, all of Britain held its breath as Andy Murray tried to dig deep and come from two sets to love down for just the seventh time in his career. Just shy of three hours later, Murray had his third set in hand, winning in a five-set classic on Centre Court that made him dig his deepest even when his best tennis had abandoned him. Verdasco played sensational tennis for much of the afternoon, firing a serve that Murray said he struggled with immensely and cracking forehands that skidded off the grass surface. But Murray hadn't lost prior to the semi-finals since 2008 and made sure he kept that streak going, advancing to the final four where he'll take on Poland's Jerzy Janowicz.

Honorary Match of the Day: [24] Jerzy Janowicz def. Lukasz Kubot 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
Never before had two Polish men met in the quarter-finals of a major, and nor had one ever got to the semi-finals, either. Both came to fruition on Wednesday when 22-year-old Janowicz overcame his 31-year-old compatriot Lukasz Kubot with a straight-sets effort to march into the semi-finals and a meeting with Murray. The big-serving Janowicz met Kubot at the net to hug after the match, then the two men removed their shirts and exchanged them - as is the customary show of sportsmanship in football circles - a move that drew loud applause from the No.1 Court crowd.

Upset of the Day: [8] Juan Martin Del Potro def. [4] David Ferrer 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(5)
A slip and a fall from Juan Martin Del Potro in the very first game of his quarter-final against David Ferrer had the tennis world - Del Potro included - thinking the Argentine was down and out from the match before it had really got going. But after being attended to by a trainer and doctor and taking some "magic pills," Del Potro came out swinging, hitting the ball with the same certainty that took him to the US Open crown in 2009. He was just 2-6 coming into the day against Ferrer, including four straight losses in the last year. But not even an I-run-everything-down Ferrer could fight off Del Potro, who ended the match with a classic exchange before belting an on-the-run, down-the-line forehand winner to earn a spot in the semi-finals against Novak Djokovic.

Stat(s) of the Day: Of 124 matches men's singles matches completed at Wimbledon so far this year, only 17 have gone to five sets, at 13.7 percent. This is the lowest percentage of five-setters here since 1968.

Mentioned before (and worth mentioning again): Jerzy Janowicz becomes the first Polish man to advance to a Grand Slam singles semi-final ever.

And also: Novak Djokovic (who beat Tomas Berdych in an unceremonious three sets), has now reached 13 straight major semi-finals, dating back to Wimbledon 2010.

Quote of the Day: Lukasz Kubot on exchanging shirts with Jerzy Janowicz after their match:
"I said, Let's go. Let's exchange. Let's make our tennis more famous, more popular, and show that Poland tennis is in the map of tennis. Because this never happen before, and that's it. I think it just shows how important is the fair play and shows the friendship on the court. We're just fighting with every point, but when match is finished we are friends. We are just showing that this is only sport."

Tweet of the Day: Laura Robson tracked the action and sent her compatriot a tweet of encouragement:

#comeonandy

— Laura Robson (@laurarobson5) July 3, 2013

Video of the Day: How is Novak Djokovic feeling at Wimbledon this year? Watch this behind-the-scenes video to find out:


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20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.

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