Andy Murray survives at Wimbledon 2013, Britain exhales

Written by Agencies | Wimbledon | Updated: Jul 4 2013, 21:53pm hrs
Andy MurrayAndy Murray of Britain hits a return to Fernando Verdasco of Spain in their men's quarter-final tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 3, 2013. (Reuters)
Andy Murray did not want to hear it. He did not want to hear about how his draw got so much easier when Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were eliminated. He did not want to hear about how he was never going to have a better chance to win Wimbledon. And he certainly did not want to hear about how lucky he was to have unseeded Fernando Verdasco as his quarterfinal opponent.

Verdasco is a very, very good tennis player, Andy Murray said Monday. Very good at tennis. Hes playing very well this week. Hes extremely dangerous when hes on his game. Yeah, thats it. I mean, Verdascos a very good tennis player.

If the fans and the news media did not get it then, they certainly did by the time Andy Murray had lost the first two sets of their quarterfinal match Wednesday afternoon.

But after scolding himself with a What are you doing after the second set, Murray rallied to the delight of the packed Centre Court and the masses on Murray Mount, where there was hardly a patch of grass left to sit on.

With their favorite down, the crowd could not contain itself at times, yelling, Come on, Andy! in the middle of points and repeatedly being admonished by the chair umpire.

Andy Murray said he made poor choices in the second set, but won the third easily, then saved four break points in the fourth. He broke Verdasco in the eighth game and then served out the set.

The fifth was an on-serve duel until the 11th game, when Murray earned the break and then held at love to win the match, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.

Verdasco was ranked as high as seventh in 2009. But now, at 29, he is 54th, the ninth ranked player in Spain. He had never advanced past the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Up next, a 69 Pole

Murray will next play the No. 24 seed, Jerzy Janowicz, who is having his breakthrough moment at this tournament. A 22-year-old from Poland, Janowicz advanced to his first Grand Slam semifinal by defeating his countryman Lukasz Kubot, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.

The last time Janowicz and Murray played, in the fourth round of the Paris Masters, Janowicz won.

Like Murray, Juan Martn del Potro and Novak Djokovic had not lost a set in the tournament going into their quarterfinal matches. On the scoreboard, their straight-sets victories might have looked routine.

But that is only if you did not see del Potro lying on the court near tears in the first game, his injured left knee being inspected by a doctor when another fall left him close to retiring from the match.

It was only routine if you did not see Djokovics frustration in the first set against Tomas Berdych, or if you did not see Djokovic down by two breaks in the second.

Del Potro and Djokovic will meet in the semifinals Friday, but their experiences getting there could hardly have been more different.

After defeating the seventh-seeded Berdych, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-3, the top-ranked Djokovic is in his 13th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal, and is in the Wimbledon semifinals for the fourth straight year.

After beating fourth-seeded David Ferrer, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (5), the No. 8 del Potro is in the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time, advancing with a heavily taped knee after slipping and hyperextending it in his third-round match Saturday.

He hyperextended the knee again Wednesday in a spectacular fall, needing a medical timeout and anti-inflammatories that he called magic pills.

I was really close to pulling out because I felt a lot of pain, del Potro said.

Nothing else mattered

But he played on because, he said, the quarterfinals of Wimbledon were too important to him and the doctors told him he could play without making the injury worse.

In the third game del Potro broke Ferrer, who has also been bothered by an ankle injury. Del Potro said the early service break gave him confidence, and after winning the first set, he did not think about his knee.

Ferrer continued to struggle with his first serve, and with the aggressive, efficient del Potro, who won the 2009 United States Open but has struggled with injuries since.

Del Potro saved his best for last, perhaps knowing that a long match would not be good for his knee. In the third-set tiebreaker, he gave himself a match point with a blistering cross-court forehand winner. Then he closed out the match by capping a riveting rally with a running forehand down the line. He called it my best forehand ever.

Del Potro collapsed in joy this time and lay on his back, pumping his fists.

Djokovic faces Del Porto

Djokovic will certainly pose a formidable challenge in the semifinals for a player who might not be totally healthy. (I will need to be 100 percent or 110 percent against him, del Potro said.)

Berdych had opportunities against Djokovic. He was up by 5-4 in the first-set tiebreaker, then made three straight errors to give Djokovic the set.

Berdych seemed to bounce back, breaking Djokovic at love in the first game of the second set. He went up two breaks at 3-0, but Djokovic rallied to put the match back on serve at 3-3, and the rest of the match did seem routine. (NYT)

Bopanna-Vasselin in semis

London: Mahesh Bhupathis Wimbledon campaign ended when he and his Austrian partner Julian Knowle lost 6-7 (5) 6-7 (3) 6-7 (4) to the top-seeded American pair of Mike and Bob Bryan in a mens doubles quarterfinal match.

However, it was a remarkable day for Rohan Bopanna as he sealed spot in his first-ever Wimbledon semifinals with French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The 14th seeds knocked out sixth seeded Swede-Canadian combination of Robert Lindstedt and Daniel Nestor with a 7-5 7-6(3) 6-7(4) 6-7(3) 6-2 win.

Thursdays Fixtures: Womens singles semifinals (5pm, Live on ESPN): Marion Bartoli (15) vs Kirsten Flipkens (20) followed by Sabine Lisicki (23) vs Agnieszka Radwanska (4); Mens doubles semifinals (5pm): Bob/ Mike Bryan (1) v Rohan Bopanna/Edouard Roger-Vasselin (14)