Wimbledon men's quarterfinals feature all four top seeds in action
LONDON – All four of the top men's seeds will be in action on Wednesday on Day 9 at Wimbledon for the men's quarterfinals matches. Andy Murray will kick off play on Centre Court and No. 1 Novak Djokovic will look to bounce back from his fifth set vs. Kevin Anderson that was played on Tuesday. The full television and broadcast schedule can be found here. Full order of play for Tuesday can be found here.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 9 Marin Cilic
Are we headed for a semifinal slate featuring the four men who top the ATP rankings? Djokovic gets the second slot on Centre Court on Wednesday against U.S. Open champion Cilic. The Serb is 12-0 against Cilic—the most lopsided record he has against anyone he's never lost to—with their only meeting on grass coming last year, where Cilic took him to five sets before losing 6–1, 3–6, 6–7, 6–2, 6–2. None of their three previous meetings at the majors have been won in three sets.
Djokovic was enjoying a clinical run through the draw before running into No. 14 Kevin Anderson, where he rallied from two-sets to love down to win 6–7, 6–7, 6–1, 6–4, 7–5. That match was completed over two days, with the final set played on Tuesday. The question for Djokovic is whether there will be any lingering effects, either physically or mentally, of having to play three consecutive days.
"I'm going to try to obviously do a few things differently than I've done this match in terms of return and my positioning," Djokovic said. "Hopefully I'll be able to get more balls back, because he does serve very well, too. I think he's going to try to rely on that element in his game."
Cilic has had his eye on Wimbledon every since winning the U.S. Open last fall. It is the Slam where he believes he has the best chance of winning another title, but can he bring a more offensive game-plan against Djokovic without giving away too many free points?
"In the game where Novak is playing at the speed that he's playing, of course, that's the speed that he's going to be better at, so I'm going to have to be more aggressive to play more risky tennis," Cilic said. "Of course that leaves less margins for error, but that's the way I was playing last year. I think this would be the best opportunity for me to try to play, you know, full on."
Djokovic is riding a streak of five consecutive Wimbledon semifinals. A win would be his 50th match win at Wimbledon and give him 650 tour-level victories. Only two active players have won more than Djokovic: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 12 Gilles Simon
Federer has cruised through his first four matches, losing just one set in a tiebreak to Sam Groth. He has not been broken all tournament and has faced just two break points. That's the perfect lead-up for Federer as he aims to make his tenth Wimbledon semifinal and put himself in a position to go for a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title.
"I'm not going to look further than Gilles Simon who has caused me difficulties in the past," Federer said. The Swiss leads their head-to-head 5-2, winning their last five matches. He hasn't lost to Simon since 2008. "I played him tough in some of the majors, Australia, French Open, we played five sets both times there. That's my focus really right now. But it's definitely been a good run here and Halle. I hope to keep it up."
No. 3 Andy Murray vs. Vasek Pospisil
There was a moment when Murray's draw was looking pretty rough. He had Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga floating around his section. Then Ferrer pulled out, Nadal lost early to Dustin Brown and Tsonga crashed out to Ivo Karlovic. With that, Murray now faces No. 56 Pospisil, the surprise quarterfinalist on the slate. The Brit has never lost a set to Pospisil, owning a 3-0 record against him.
Murray says the shoulder that got tight against Andreas Seppi in the third round is feeling better, though he's still losing some speed on his serves. But he will be going up against a Pospisil who played ten sets of tennis on Monday, needing five to beat Viktor Troicki in singles and another five in a doubles loss. His recovery will be key in determining his chances at the upset.
No. 4 Stan Wawrinka vs. No. 21 Richard Gasquet
Wawrinka and Gasquet are two veterans of the tour but they've only played twice in their careers, most recently in 2013. They split their two meetings, with Wawrinka winning 8-6 in the fifth in the Round of 16 at the 2013 French Open. The Swiss has already matched his best performance at Wimbledon, while Gasquet was a semifinalist in 2007. In a particularly ominous stat, the Frenchman has lost 15 of his last 16 matches against Top 10 opponents.