An upset of world No. 1 Andy Murray and the retirement of former No. 1 and champion Novak Djokovic left Wimbledon in chaos on Wednesday, and Roger Federer sitting in the catbird seat.
Murray, bothered by a hip injury, was dismissed in five sets by Wimbledon giant-killer Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1.
“I didn’t start my best but kept with it and kept swinging and I hit my groove in the fourth and fifth sets,” said Querrey, who last year at the All England Club beat another world No. 1 in Djokovic. “It feels great and it’s a dream come true…to get to a semifinal and have it happen at Wimbledon makes it a bit more special.”
By the fourth set Murray was noticeably limping, grimacing and complaining to his players’ box.
“The whole tournament I’ve been a little bit sore,” Murray told reporters. “But I tried my best right to the end, gave everything I had. I’m proud about that.”
Querrey in the semifinals will face Marin Cilic, who ended the run of unseeded Rafa-killer Gilles Muller in five sets 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1.
“What was very tough was the beginning of the fifth set,” said Muller after Cilic advanced to his first Wimbledon semifinal. “He played a phenomenal game in the beginning to break me. It was tough to take that because that’s not the way you want to start out a fifth set, especially if you just won the fourth, run behind the score all the time. He was just too good at the end.”
The second semifinal was lined-up after wins by Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych.
Berdych advanced when Djokovic retired trailing 7-6(2), 2-0, citing an elbow injury. Djokovic could have reclaimed the No. 1 ranking after Murray’s loss.
“It’s unfortunate I have to finish the Wimbledon Grand Slam this way,” Djokovic said. “I tried to get it in the condition where I was able to play. I was able for 30 minutes to play with pain that was bearable. The serve and forehand were the shots where I could feel it the most and after that there was really no sense (in continuing).”
The 35-year-old Federer used some deft touch at the net and scalding passing shots to defeat Milos Raonic, the player who knocked him out of the semis last year, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(4) to reach a record 12th Wimbledon semifinals.
The Swiss has yet to drop a set in the tournament.
“You knew the dangers was there for one of us,” Federer said of the “Big Four”‘s disappearance. “I hope for Andy and Novak will recover in time for the American summer. I’m sure Rafa will come back very strong. I predicted that Cilic would have a good run, and he’s proving to do so. It’s nice to see different guys. I’m glad my dream run is continuing.”
Federer is now the overwhelming favorite to claim what would be a record eighth Wimbledon title.
“I can’t believe it’s 100 matches [at Wimbledon], it’s a lot but I’m very happy my body has kept me going all these years,” Federer said. “You have to make sure you average is as high as possible every day and I think I’m doing a great job this week.”
Federer is 18-6 career against Berdych, but 2-1 on grass, losing to the Czech at Wimbledon in 2010.
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