Tennis

Djokovic and Federer off to Wimbledon semis; Murray ousted

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The Sports Network
7/2/2014 1:50:06 PM
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London, England - Top seed Novak Djokovic needed all five sets to win his quarterfinal match, while seven-time champion Roger Federer advanced in four and defending titlist Andy Murray was sent packing by rising Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov in straights Wednesday at Wimbledon.

The former champion and 2013 runner-up Djokovic trailed two-sets-to-one against 26th-seeded Croat Marin Cilic before turning things around for a 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-2 decision on the No. 1 Court.

The French Open runner-up Djokovic will meet Dimitrov in Friday's semifinals at the All England Club. It will mark the Serbian star's sixth final-four appearance at Wimbledon, where he titled in 2011 and lost to Murray in last year's finale.

Djokovic snuck past Cilic in 3 hours, 38 minutes with the help seven service breaks and six double faults by his Croatian counterpart. The Serb moved on despite striking 10 fewer winners (42-32) than Cilic, who had 16 more unforced errors (48-32) on Day 9.

The 6-foot-6 Cilic played in his fourth career major quarterfinal (1-3) and his first one since the 2012 U.S. Open.

The 27-year-old Djokovic is a six-time Grand Slam champion who has appeared in 11 of the last 15 major finals. He would replace Rafael Nadal atop the men's rankings with a title this weekend.

Meanwhile, the 11th-seeded Dimitrov leveled the third-seeded Murray 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 and the fourth-seeded former No. 1 great Federer overcame Australian Open champ and fifth-seeded fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4 on the famed Centre Court.

Dimitrov's serve was just too tough to deal with on Day 9, as the Bulgarian popped 10 aces and was broken only once en route to a convincing victory over Murray. The gifted star used plenty of variety, with topspin, volleys and a beautiful one-handed backhand to advance.

The 27-year-old two-time Grand Slam winner Murray succumbed in 1 hour, 40 minutes by tallying five double faults and striking 19 more unforced errors (37-18) than his Bulgarian counterpart.

Murray had won his last 17 matches at the All England Club, as he captured an Olympic gold medal here in 2012 and gave Britain its first male Wimbledon singles champion in 77 years last year. He was also a Wimbledon runner-up in 2012.

The 23-year-old Dimitrov, once nicknamed "Baby Fed," will now appear in his first-ever Grand Slam semifinal. He was a quarterfinalist at this year's Aussie Open.

"I'm excited and happy I went through in straight sets," Dimitrov told BBC television. "It's never easy to play Andy, especially in front of his home crowd. I was pretty fortunate today.

"As soon as we started warming up, I sensed his game wasn't at his highest level and I was pretty confident and playing good tennis. The first set helped me get into a good rhythm. The second set tiebreak was a key moment for me. Coming into the third set, I knew I had a lot of things under control.

"I was pretty steady during the whole match and came out the winner. I have two more matches to play hopefully. I'm trying to stay on course and prepare for the next one."

Dimitrov captured his first-ever grass-court title at London's Queen's Club three weeks ago and is an unblemished 9-0 on grass this year.

Federer, meanwhile, improved to 14-2 lifetime against his good friend Wawrinka after dropping the first set on Wednesday. The mighty Federer righted the ship by winning the second-set tiebreak and would assume control from there.

The Swiss icon moved on in 2 hours, 33 minutes with 10 aces and two breaks against Wawrinka, who settled for only one break against the all-time great.

Wawrinka was playing in his first-ever Wimbledon quarterfinal and slowed by some physical issues over the last three sets.

The 17-time Grand Slam king Federer is now 72-8 at Wimbledon, which includes a 2008 runner-up finish in addition to his seven championships. He'll now appear in his ninth Wimbledon semifinal and 35th career major semi.

The 32-year-old Federer now awaits a young gun in either Canadian Milos Raonic or Aussie Nick Kyrgios, who stunned Nadal on Tuesday.

Andy Murray (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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