Andy Murray is trying to end a 70+ year drought for British tennis at Wimbledon. Roger Federer is trying to make history with a record 15 Grand Slam singles title. Andy Roddick is attempting to throw off the one-Slam wonder tag for a tournament title he should have rightfully won by now (if not for Federer). And Tommy Haas, the former world No. 2, after two shoulder surgeries is just happy to be here.
All four men moved into the Wimbledon semifinals on Wednesday, with Federer lining up Haas for their second straight Slam meeting after the French Open, and the two Andys squaring off for a berth in the championship round.
Federer advanced to his 21st straight Grand Slam semifinal by straight-setting the giant-serving giant Ivo Karlovic.
“It’s difficult against Karlovic because there aren’t many baseline rallies on his serve or mine,” Federer told the BBC after triumphing 6-3, 7-5, 7-6. “It’s tough mentally because it’s hard to break him. So I was happy to break him and win the match.”
The 31-year-old Haas, who lost to Federer in five sets at the French, will get another shot at the Swiss after topping a nervous Novak Djokovic 7-5, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 win to reach the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time.
Murray eased into the semis with a win over wildcard and former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero.
“I’m very happy to come through in straight sets because I had a long one the round before,” Murray told the AP. “There were quite a lot of errors from both of us at the start. I served very well but from the back of the court it was very, very hot out there, and quick, so there were quite a few mistakes early in the match. Once I got the first set I started to settle down and I returned great at the end.”
Roddick outlasted the former Wimbledon champ and No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in his quarterfinal, sewing up the match after breaking for a 5-4 lead in the fifth 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.
“I’m super relieved just coming off the court and really, really happy,” Roddick told the BBC. “I haven’t really been in the Grand Slam picture much the last two years and now it’s my second semifinal of the year so I’m thrilled right now. I think Lleyton might have hurt himself a little bit in that fourth set and it’s testament to the type of player he is to have kept going and to have made it such a fight.”
Federer is 9-2 career against Haas, last losing to the German in 2002 and winning their last eight encounters. Murray leads Roddick 6-2 in their career meetings, including a straight-set win at Wimbledon in 2006.
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All 4 semifinalists have won a grasscourt title — 2 of them this year. Federer shares the Open Era record of 10 grasscourt titles with Pete Sampras, while Roddick has won 4. Murray won his first grasscourt title at 2009 Queen’s, the same week that Haas collected his first title on grass at Halle.
With Roland Garros champion Federer also through to the last four, 3 of the 4 semifinalists came into Wimbledon having won their last tournament.
Roddick has also won a title this year — at Memphis in February — the 27th of his career. The 4 semifinalists own 110 titles between them.
Haas and Murray are first-time Wimbledon semifinalists. Roddick is bidding for his 3rd Wimbledon final, Federer for a record 7th consecutive final here.
Murray defeated Roddick in the 3rd round at 2006 Wimbledon, while Haas conceded a walkover to Federer in the 2007 round of 16 here.
Federer and Roddick are both Grand Slam champions and former world No. 1s.
Federer is playing a record 21st consecutive Grand Slam semifinal.
The top four seeds have advanced to the semifinals for the first time at a Grand Slam since 2006 Wimbledon; last year, the top four seeds —  Ana Ivanovic,  Jelena Jankovic,  Maria Sharapova and  Svetlana Kuznetsova — all lost before the quarterfinals.
Of the final four players remaining, Serena and Venus Williams are the only players that have won a Grand Slam singles title. Serena holds 10 Grand Slam singles titles (2003/2005/ 2007/2009 Australian Open, 2002 Roland Garros, 2002/2003 Wimbledon, 1999/2002/2008 US Open), while Venus owns seven Grand Slam singles titles (2000 /2001/ 2005/2007/ 2008 Wimbledon and 2000/2001 US Open).
Both Dinara Safina (2008/2009 Roland Garros, 2009 Australian Open) and Elena Dementieva (2004 Roland Garros, 2004 US Open) have finished as runner-up at a Grand Slam event.
Prior to 2009, Safina had not advanced to the second week at The Championships as her best result was a third round finish (2005, 2006, 2008).
This is Dementieva’s second consecutive appearance in the semifinals at Wimbledon (l. to eventual champion V.Williams in 2008).
Safina has played the most matches in 2009 (50), just ahead of Dementieva (49).
Dementieva, Serena and Venus each did not drop a set en route to the semifinals; Safina had two three set matches en route, in the fourth round (d. No.17 seed Mauresmo 46 63 64) and the quarterfinals (d. Lisicki 67(5) 64 61), dropping the first set each time.
Serena and Venus have won seven of the nine Wimbledon singles titles this decade (since 2000). There has been only one final this decade that did not include a Williams sister (2006, Mauresmo d. Henin).
Venus will face world No.1 Safina in the semifinals; Venus is 12-19 lifetime against reigning world No.1s (8-8 vs. Hingis, 2-4 vs. Davenport, 1-4 vs. S.Williams, 1-0 vs. Jankovic, 0-1 vs. Graf, 0-1 vs. Henin, 0-1 vs. Safina); only Martina Navratilova (18) and Lindsay Davenport (14) have more career wins over World No.1s.
Entering the semifinals, Serena has 40 aces and only nine double faults; in comparison Venus has 22 aces and 10 double faults; Safina has 16 aces and 31 double faults; and Dementieva has 14 aces and 33 double faults.
The only Russians ever to reach the Wimbledon women’s singles final in the Open Era are Olga Morozova (runner-up in 1974) and Maria Sharapova (champion in 2004); Safina and Dementieva will try to add to that count on Thursday.
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