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Murray rocked, Federer rolls: Semi-finals set on Day 9

Andy Murray on Day Nine at Wimbledon
by Nicholas McCarvel
Wednesday 2 July 2014

There were no two-sets-to-love-down heroics in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon this year for Andy Murray. A year after the British hope came back in this very round from a major deficit to go on and win the title at SW19, Murray was left wanting on Wednesday, humbled by a 23-year-old Bulgarian who has had his Grand Slam breakthrough. Here, a rundown from Day Nine at The Championships.

Match of the Day: [11] Grigor Dimitrov d [3] Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-2
Out goes the defending champion. Wimbledon was turned on its head on Monday when former champions Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova both lost, but their dramatic exits couldn’t match that of the men’s defending champion, Britain’s home hope for a second consecutive Wimbledon crown.

Murray appeared out of sorts from the start, broken early in the first set and struggling to match the pace or the shot-making of his 23-year-old opponent.

“It’s never easy to play against Andy, especially with the home crowd,” said Dimitrov, who scored his first-ever top 10 win at a major. “I’m just happy.”

For the past two years, Dimitrov has been eyed as a “next big thing” in men’s tennis, but turned tomorrow into today with his win over the two-time Slam champion.

The second set proved key: Murray was level at 3-all in the tie-break but appeared to take his foot off the gas at that point, Dimitrov earning two set points at 6-4 and closing it out with a Murray backhand into the net as the Bulgarian coaxed him in. In the third, Murray wilted, unable to penetrate the court and being broken twice, the match ending on a netted groundstroke from the Brit.

Honorary Match of the Day: [1] Novak Djokovic d [26] Marin Cilic 6-1, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-2
After three sets in this match it looked like neither Murray nor Djokovic was going to march into the semi-finals, the 2011 champion here falling behind against the Croat Cilic. But Djokovic, famous for his fitness, was at his clinical best in the final two sets, moving the big server from side to side and dictating points from the back court.

It was a battle of former greats, too, with Boris Becker in Djokovic’s box and Goran Ivanisevic in Cilic’s.

Quarters Complete: [3] Simona Halep d Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-0 and [13] Genie Bouchard d [9] Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4
A day behind thanks to rain on Saturday and Monday, the women’s draw completed its final four quartet with wins from Halep and Bouchard.

The Romanian trailed 2013 finalist Lisicki by 4-1 in the early stages before the No.3 got her game together, winning the final 11 games of the match and rolling into the semi-finals a few weeks after her first-ever appearance in a Grand Slam final at the French Open.

Bouchard continued her impressive streak, the Canadian overcoming Sharapova-beater Kerber in straight sets and making her third Slam semi-final in three tries this season.

On Thursday, Halep and Bouchard will go toe-to-toe while Czech compatriots Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova will square off in the other semi.

You Didn’t Miss: [4] Roger Federer d [5] Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 and [8] Milos Raonic d [WC] Nick Kyrgios 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4)
Federer flying under the radar? It’s certainly felt like that so far for the seven-time champion, who for the first time this tournament dropped serve (once) and lost a set (the first) against his friend and sometimes doubles partner Wawrinka, who won the Australian Open crown in January.

Instead of a pre-tournament forecast semi-final against Rafael Nadal, Federer will get first-time semi-finalist Milos Raonic, the first Canadian man to make it this far at a major in the Open Era. Raonic took out fellow big-server Kyrgios, the teenager who took down Nadal in a scintillating round four encounter.

Photo of the Day (above): Andy Murray walks from the Members’ locker room to leave the All England Club after his loss on Wednesday afternoon.

Tweet of the Day: A visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but it didn’t go exactly how they wanted it to with Andy Murray losing.

 

Stats of the Day:

  • With his semi-final victory, Federer reaches a 35th major semi-final (out of 61 played).
  • Dimitrov’s triumph over Murray was his first-ever win against a top 10 player at a major.
  • Now 33, Martina Hingis is still playing on the pro circuit – but only in doubles. On Wednesday, the original Swiss Miss played another player from her country in mixed doubles: 17-year-old Belinda Bencic. Bencic, who made the third round here in singles, is also coached on occasion by Hingis’ mother, Melanie Molitor.

Quote of the Day: Bouchard explains her brush with royalty – literally – from inside Centre Court: “When we walked out of the Members' locker room, all these security guards rushed over to us and were like, ‘Nobody move! Move your bags to the side. There's some royals coming through.’ So we were just waiting, and then suddenly Kate and William walk by. I was a little bit in awe. That was my royal sighting of the day. It was funny, because we actually walked to our court late because Kate and William had to use that hallway. So it's funny how Wimbledon does it.”

Video of the Day: How fast can racket stringers string? Very, very fast.


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