Federer rallies from a set down to get past Wawrinka; Bouchard and Halep march into the semifinals
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, nicknamed ‘Second Federer’, caused one if the biggest upsets of Wimbledon 2014 on a day when the real article — Roger — went through to the semifinals as expected but with a minor hiccup.
On Centre Court, pitched against a partisan crowd and the defending champion, the hugely talented Dimitrov handed Andy Murray a stinging straight set defeat, signalling he is ready to break into the top of the men’s game.
Fresh from his victory at Queens, where he beat Stan Wawrinka and Feliciano Lopez along the way, Dimitrov outplayed Murray in every department of the game.
The 11th seed seemed exceptionally composed as he kept Murray moving on court with powerful ground-strokes on both flanks. After Murray sent his last limp forehand into the net to lose 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-2, there was neither surprise nor frenzied exultation on the part of Dimitrov; he gave Murray a commiserative pat, signalling a quiet confidence in his future and about his current status in he game.
Many of the points were carefully constructed, won after throwing the opponent off balance. After allowing himself to be dominated in the first set, Murray hung on to force the second tie-break, which Dimitrov sealed with a winner from the net.
. The mind did go back to last year’s quarterfinal on the very same court, when Murray came back heroically from two sets down to beat Fernando Verdasco, but a repeat seemed extremely unlikely. After all, his opponent this time was a rising star and not, as Verdasco was, a flashy 29-year-old.
The final set was a one-way street with Dimitrov cruising to victory.
Federer got off to a poor start against Wawrinka, dropping his serve for the first time in the tournament to go down 1-3, and later his first set as well. But Federer pulled himself together by prevailing in a tense second set in the tie-break.
Wawrinka, who looked to be suffering from a stomach condition, called the trainer in at the end of the second set. But the tablets were not enough to prevent Federer, who was rapidly gaining in self-assurance, from closing out the third set 6-4.
In the fourth, Federer managed — and held on to — an early break against an opponent who seemed to be tiring. He did struggle to close the match out, though, wasting three match-points and needing to save a break-point before wrapping it up with a smash off a weak return of serve.
In the semis, Federer plays Milos Raonic after the Canadian prevailed 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4) over Nick Kyrgios in a battle of big servers.
On the other side of the draw, top seeded Novak Djokovic, who beat Marin Cilic 6-1, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-2 is set up for an intriguing contest against Dimitrov.
Earlier, third seed Simona Halep destroyed Sabine Lisicki, who had blossomed briefly at the beginning only to morph into marcescence losing 6-4, 6-0.
Eugenie Bouchard continued her stunning run of form of by taking out Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4.