Fed­erer the last of the Big Four stand­ing

The Hamilton Spectator - - RACING 2017 - HOWARD FENDRICH

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.

CLIVE BRUNSKILL, GETTY IM­AGES

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.

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