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Five to follow: Federer, Djokovic look to triumph over youth

Roger Federer hits a volley on Centre Court
by Nicholas McCarvel
Friday 4 July 2014

It’s the old guard against 'generation next' on Friday at Wimbledon, as former champions Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic meet young guns Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov, respectively.

Djokovic and Federer look to meet in a Grand Slam final for the just the second time in their careers – and the first since the US Open in 2007. Below, a rundown of the action on Day 11. 

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) v [11] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
Centre Court, 1pm

Long chosen as “The Next Big Thing” in men’s tennis, Dimitrov proved that he’s ready to step up to the proverbial (and literal) plate with his quarter-final upset of defending champion and British hope Andy Murray.

The 23-year-old Bulgarian gets no chance to catch his breath as he takes on top seed and 2011 Wimbledon winner Djokovic in the semi-finals.

These two have met four times, Djokovic winning three of them. Dimitrov’s lone win came on clay last spring, though Djokovic revenged that loss with a straight-sets victory at the French Open weeks later.

Current form could draw the players even, Djokovic struggling through a five-set win over a game Marin Cilic and Dimitrov storming past Murray in straights.

“We all know how Novak is competing and how he's playing when he's at his top level,” said Dimitrov, who’s into his first-ever major semi-final. “I'm not expecting an easy match. He has the experience and all that behind him. But in the same time, I've been playing great tennis.  I believe in my skills at the moment.”

“The fact that he hasn't lost a match in the grass court season this year says enough about his quality,” Djokovic said of Dimitrov, who was a winner in Queen’s. “Many people look at him as a potential Grand Slam winner. Maybe here, maybe in the Grand Slams to follow.”

Dimitrov looks to follow in the footsteps of Murray, who won at Queen’s last year and then went on to win this title.

[4] Roger Federer (SUI) v [8] Milos Raonic (CAN)
Centre Court, Second after 1pm

Somehow, someway, Federer has made his way through most of this tournament flying under the radar. The seven-time champion made the final four without much fanfare and on the tail of some of the best tennis of his career, losing just one set and dropping his serve an equal amount of times to make his 35th Grand Slam semi-final in 61 major appearances.

He faces the Canadian 23-year-old who is in his first semi-final on this stage, a big-serving right-hander who knows he’s facing history, but is doing his best to ignore that fact.

“I'm going to step out there and I'm not playing the seven-time Wimbledon champion. I'm not playing the guy that's won whatever he's won, which I could probably list quite vividly,” Raonic said, continuing: “I'm playing a guy that is standing in my way of what I want to achieve, and I've got to focus on everything that's there, on the situation, how best to deal with it to give myself the best possibilities to achieve what I want.”

But Federer owns a 4-0 head-to-head record against Raonic, most recently winning in straight sets at the Australian Open last January. But their three other ATP World Tour matches have all gone the distance, the Swiss winning two of them in third-set tie-breaks.

“He’s got a big serve. That's the hardest to deal with,” said Federer, who last won here in 2012. “Here clearly on the grass with a serve like that it's never going to be an easy match. That's where you then sort of go back to your own game and say, ‘I'll take care of my own serves and see what I can do on the return.’  That's my mindset right now.”

[1] Bob and Mike Bryan (USA) v [12] Michael Lllodra/Nicholas Mahut (FRA)
No.1 Court, 1pm

The defending champions and top seeds the Bryan brothers get a challenge in Llodra/Mahut, the French team that they faced in the Roland Garros a year ago. The American world No.1s won that match and another since, bringing a 2-0 head-to-head record in for this semi-final. Llodra/Mahut have dropped just one set in this fortnight, the Bryans two.

In the other men’s doubles semi-final, No.5 seeds Leader Paes and Radek Stepanek take on Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock in the second match on No.2 Court.

[2] Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci (ITA) v [9] Andrea Hlavackova (CZE)/Zheng Jie (CHN)
Court 12, 11.30am

The No.2 seeds are the highest-seeded team remaining in the tournament and get a challenge in Hlavackova/Zheng, both accomplished doubles players who have recently teamed up. Errani/Vinci are two matches from the career Slam, having won before at the Australian Open (twice), French Open and US Open.

In the other women’s doubles semi-final, No.14 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic meet Andrea Petkovic and Magdalena Rybarikova. They play in the  match following Errani/Vinci.

[14] Max Mirnyi (BLR)/Chan Hao-Ching (TPE) v Jamie Murray (GBR)/Casey Dellacqua (AUS)
Court 12, Third after 11.30am – Quarter-finals

The Murray family stays in The Championships, but only thanks to Jamie’s run in mixed doubles. He and partner Dellacqua face a stiff challenge in doubles experts Mirnyi/Chan on Court 12.

Follow the latest news and scores from Wimbledon 2014 on Wimbledon.com or download the official iPhone, Android and iPad apps.

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