Past cham­pi­ons to bat­tle

Fed­erer to take on Mur­ray in men’s Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal; Djokovic gets Gas­quet

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY HOWARD FEN­DRICH

Roger Fed­erer and Andy Mur­ray ran into each other Wed­nes­day morn­ing in the cham­pi­ons’ locker room at the All Eng­land Club, then walked to­gether over to the prac­tice area to pre­pare — on ad­ja­cent courts — for their re­spec­tive quar­ter-fi­nals later in the day.

“We weren’t chat­ting about any­thing. It was just, ’Hey, how you do­ing?’ Noth­ing in­ter­est­ing,” Mur­ray re­counted. “We get on well. But ob­vi­ously, on Fri­day — dif­fer­ent story.”

Yes, they’ll meet up again Fri­day, only the set­ting will be far dif­fer­ent and things might be a tad less cor­dial, be­cause the two past Wim­ble­don ti­tlists face each other at Cen­tre Court in the semi­fi­nals.

The No. 2-seeded Fed­erer is clos­ing in on his record eighth tro­phy at the grass-court tour­na­ment; No. 3 Mur­ray’s 2013 cham­pi­onship was the first for a Bri­tish man at Wim­ble­don in 77 years.

Plus, they have history on this par­tic­u­lar patch of grass. In 2012, Fed­erer won his 17th — and, to date, last — Grand Slam ti­tle by beat­ing Mur­ray in the Wim­ble­don fi­nal. A few weeks later, also at Cen­tre Court, Mur­ray re­paid the favour, beat­ing Fed­erer for the sin­gles gold medal at the Lon­don Games.

“We both like to look back at that sum­mer,” said Fed­erer, who is 12-11 against Mur­ray. “Me, not so much at the Olympics; him, prob­a­bly not so much at Wim­ble­don.”

Both ad­vanced in quar­ter-fi- nals slowed only by a pair of rain de­lays. Fed­erer’s 116-hold streak in ser­vice games, dat­ing to his pre­vi­ous tour­na­ment, ended, but that was merely a blip dur­ing a 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 vic­tory over No. 12 Gilles Si­mon of France.

Mur­ray was hardly trou­bled at all by a weary Vasek Pospisil, from Van­cou­ver, and won 6-4, 7- 5, 6-4 in a match that fin­ished with the re­tractable roof closed at Cen­ter Court, in front of an au­di­ence that in­cluded Prince Wil­liam and his wife Kate.

Another past cham­pion, No. 1 Novak Djokovic, also barely was tested, elim­i­nat­ing No. 9 Marin Cilic of Croa­tia 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to im­prove to 13-0 against the 2014 U.S. Open win­ner.

Djokovic, who won Wim­ble­don in 2011 and 2014, plays No. 21 Richard Gas­quet of France next. Gas­quet emerged from the most com­pelling quar­ter-fi­nal — fea­tur­ing two beau­ti­ful one­handed back­hands — with a 64, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 win over No. 4 Stan Wawrinka of Switzer­land.

AP PHOTO

Andy Mur­ray re­turns a shot to Vasek Pospisil dur­ing their sin­gles match at the All Eng­land Lawn Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships at Wim­ble­don in Lon­don on Wed­nes­day.

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