Federer the last of the Big Four standing
Limping between points and fading down the stretch, defending champion Andy Murray was stunned by 24th-seeded Sam Querrey, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1, in the Wimbledon tennis tournament quarter-finals Wednesday.
The No. 1-seeded Murray came into the tournament dealing with a sore left hip and it clearly impeded him at Centre Court. He grimaced as he stumbled or landed awkwardly while attempting shots.
Querrey took full advantage to reach the first Grand Slam semifinal of his career — and the first for any American man anywhere since Andy Roddick was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2009.
“I am still in a little bit of shock myself,” Querrey said.
There was another quarter-final surprise later Wednesday, when three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic stopped playing because of a right arm injury while trailing 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, 7-6 (2), 2-0. After dropping the opening set, Djokovic took a medical timeout while a trainer massaged his arm. A day earlier, during his fourthround match, Djokovic had his right shoulder worked on by a trainer.
Seven-time champion Roger Federer moved into his 12th semifinal at the All England Club with a straightforward, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4), victory over 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic. That left Federer as the only member of the sport’s so-called Big Four still standing: In addition to the exits for Murray and Djokovic, Rafael Nadal lost in the fourth round. That quartet has combined to win each of the past 14 Wimbledon titles.
The third-seeded Swiss great, trying for a record eighth Wimbledon title, systematically dismantled Raonic.
Raonic, the tournament’s sixth seed from Thornhill, Ont., defeated Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals last year before losing to Andy Murray in the final.
Perhaps that defeat lingered in Federer’s mind, because he looked like a man on a mission Wednesday, flummoxing Raonic with his service game while showing no fear of the Canadian’s cannon arm.
Raonic had five break point opportunities — four of them coming in one game in the third set — but Federer saved them all.
Raonic looked better in the third set, holding serve and taking it to a tiebreak. But Federer set up match point with an ace, then won when Raonic hit a return wide.
Federer, who has yet to drop a set at Wimbledon, improved to 254-2 when winning the first two sets of a match.
In Friday’s semifinals, Querrey will face 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, who also won a five-setter Wednesday, getting past 16th-seeded Gilles Muller, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1, with the help of 33 aces. On the other half of the draw, Federer will face Berdych.
Murray is normally a terrific returner, but Querrey hit 27 aces. He was impeccable for portions of the match, finishing with 70 winners and only 30 unforced errors.
“He was dictating all of the points,” Murray said.
From 1-all in the fourth, Querrey grabbed eight games in a row to take that set and lead 3-0 in the last.
“I didn’t start my best, but I just kept with it. Kept swinging away and then really found a groove in the fourth and fifth set,” Querrey said. “And everything kind of seemed to be falling my way then.”
It is the second year in a row that the 29-year-old Californian upset the defending champion and topseeded man at the All England Club. In 2016, he ended Djokovic’s 30-match Grand Slam winning streak by beating him in the third round.
Milos Raonic plays a backhand against Roger Federer on Wednesday. Federer won, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4), to advance to the Wimbledon semifinals.