Wimbledon Day 9 recap: Murray out; Federer, Djokovic survive tough tests
LONDON -- It was almost another wacky Wednesday at Wimbledon. After Grigor Dimitrov knocked out defending champion Andy Murray, it looked like Novak Djokovic might be next, as he fell down two sets to one against Marin Cilic. But the Serb grinded to a five-set win, just as Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka split the first two sets of their quarterfinal match. However, once again the favorite came through, and Federer ousted his fellow Swiss in four sets. The semifinals are all set here at Wimbledon.
Andy Murray bowed out: Thoroughly outplayed by Grigor Dimitrov, the defending champion made -- by his standards -- an early exit from the tournament that transformed him into the savior of British tennis a year ago. His loss ended a run of five-straight Wimbledon semifinals, but it opened the door for Dimitrov to finally make a name for himself on the big stage. It's been a business-like effort for the 23-year-old Bulgarian. He's won four of his five matches in straight sets and his confidence and belief has grown with every win. There was no shock or over-the-top exhuberance from him after scoring his first win over a top-ten player at a Grand Slam. In fact, he keeps talking about winning two more matches. The ambition is there, and he's backing it up.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer avoided the upsets: Djokovic was the one who looked like a cow on ice in his five set win over Marin Cilic. He struggled with his footing all afternoon, taking awkward fall after awkward fall, but after dropping back two sets to one, he steadied the ship to win 6-1, 3-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-2. He'll play Dimitrov on Friday.
Federer also dropped the first set to a big-hitting Stan Wawrinka, but after taking the second set in a critical tiebreaker, Federer rolled to a 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 win. Wawrinka was gassed after rain delays forced him to play back to back matches on Monday and Tuesday, but credit to Federer for tightening up his game in that second set to take the wind out of Wawrinka's sails. The victory puts Federer into his ninth Wimbledon semifinal where he'll face Milos Raonic.
Nick Kyrgios ran out of gas: The 19-year-old Australian wildcard was trying to become the fourth wildcard to make the Wimbledon semifinals and the youngest to do so since Goran Ivanisevic in 1990. He couldn't back up his big upset over No. 1 Rafael Nadal, losing 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6, but it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. The teenager just didn't have the legs and consistency to get through Raonic, who played a thoroughly veteran and professional match. He never got rattled by Kyrgios, even after dropping the first set in a tiebreaker. With the win, Raonic became the first Canadian to make the semifinals of a Grand Slam since 1923 and just the third Canadian man or woman to make the semifinals of a major in the Open Era.
Women's semifinals are set: Simona Halep won 11 consecutive games to oust last year's finalist Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-0, and Eugenie Bouchard continued her dazzling form to beat Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4. The two will face off on Thursday for a spot in their first Wimbledon final. Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova will play an all-lefty, all-Czech derby in the other semifinal.
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Wimbledon today. Will there be more pictures of Kate, Amelie or Kim in tomorrow's papers? — Neil Harman (@NeilHarmanTimes) July 2, 2014