Top two in­jured, out of men’s draw

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - COMPILED BY DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE STAFF FROM WIRE REPORTS

WIM­BLE­DON, Eng­land — It was a day of at­tri­tion at Wim­ble­don on Wed­nes­day as the top two seeds on the men’s sin­gles draw hob­bled out of the tour­na­ment.

No. 1 Andy Mur­ray and No. 2 No­vak Djokovic, both strug­gling with in­juries, were elim­i­nated in the quar­ter­fi­nal round in a startling day at the All Eng­land Club.

Mur­ray has a sore hip that sti­fled his move­ment on court, and the No. 24 seed Sam Quer­rey took ad­van­tage to win, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1.

Hours later, Djokovic was forced to re­tire against

11th-seeded To­mas Berdych with a sore right arm. Djokovic re­ceived treat­ment on his arm and shoul­der early in the match, but with Berdych lead­ing, 7-6 (2), 2-0, Djokovic hit a fore­hand, gri­maced in pain, then walked to the net to tell Berdych he could not go on.

For more than a week, Mur­ray has tried to re­as­sure a ner­vous na­tion that his sore hip was not a mat­ter of con­cern. He spoke of ice baths and spe­cial treat­ment, but said his hip was im­prov­ing ev­ery day.

De­spite walk­ing around the grounds with the hitch of a man twice his age, the top-seeded Mur­ray some­how moved with his usual pace on court while win­ning his first four matches. But Wed­nes­day, it ap­peared his hip could with­stand the pun­ish­ment no longer.

Show­ing more dif­fi­culty in his move­ment and less bal­ance on his strokes and serve, Mur­ray was even­tu­ally over­whelmed by the big-serv­ing Quer­rey, who ad­vanced to his first semi­fi­nal of a ma­jor tour­na­ment.

“I’m still in a lit­tle bit of shock my­self,” Quer­rey said in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view af­ter the match.

Mur­ray has con­sis­tently played down his own in­jury, but as his move­ment clearly de­te­ri­o­rated and the home fans grew more con­cerned, Quer­rey’s court cov­er­age im­proved and he per­haps sensed an open­ing. He re­bounded from a poor tiebreaker in the third set to win nine of the next 10 games and 12 of the next 14 to elim­i­nate the de­fend­ing cham­pion.

“Sam served ex­tremely well at the end of the match; he was go­ing for his shots. Noth­ing much I could do,” Mur­ray said. “The whole tour­na­ment I’ve been a lit­tle bit sore. But I tried my best right to the end, gave ev­ery­thing I had. I’m proud about that. It’s ob­vi­ously dis­ap­point­ing to lose at Wim­ble­don. There’s an op­por­tu­nity there, so I’m sad that it’s over.”

Quer­rey, 29, be­came the first U.S. man to reach a Grand Slam tour­na­ment semi­fi­nal since Andy Rod­dick at Wim­ble­don in 2009. Rod­dick beat Mur­ray in that semi­fi­nal and lost to Roger Fed­erer in the fi­nal.

Quer­rey’s best re­sult was the quar­ter­fi­nals last year af­ter he up­set Djokovic, then the No. 1 seed and the de­fend­ing cham­pion, in the third round.

On Fri­day, Quer­rey will play No. 7 Marin Cilic, a for­mer U. S. Open cham­pion, who elim­i­nated No. 16 Gilles Muller, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1. Berdych will face third-seeded Fed­erer, who quickly dis­patched sixth-seeded Mi­los Raonic, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Fed­erer, who will turn 36 next month, is seek­ing his eighth Wim­ble­don ti­tle. Af­ter los­ing to Raonic in the semi­fi­nals of Wim­ble­don last year, he took the rest of the sea­son off. Af­ter returning in Jan­uary, he won the Aus­tralian Open for his 18th Grand Slam ti­tle and fol­lowed that with two prom­i­nent U. S. hard­court cham­pi­onships. He skipped the clay-court sea­son en­tirely and is once again in top form at his fa­vorite tour­na­ment.

“I can­not be­lieve I’ve had 100 matches here,” Fed­erer

said. “That’s a lot, I’m happy my body has kept me go­ing over all th­ese years. I’m so, so happy to be in an­other semi­fi­nal.”

Bri­tish tennis fans had been hop­ing that Mur­ray could join Jo­hanna Konta, the high­est-ranked woman from Bri­tain, in the semi­fi­nals, af­ter they be­came the first man and woman from the coun­try to ad­vance to the last eight of the same cham­pi­onships since 1973.

Even with his hip prob­lem, Mur­ray had baf­fled ob­servers and op­po­nents alike by walk­ing with a slight limp but run­ning as if noth­ing were wrong. That seemed to be the case in the first three sets Wed­nes­day, and his abil­ity to run down shots is a cru­cial as­pect of his game.

Mur­ray started off win­ning the first seven points of the match and the first two games. He even jogged from side to side of the court be­tween points, look­ing sprightly.

As the match pro­gressed and his un­even gait be­came more pro­nounced be­tween points, it was clear he was un­der duress. By the fi­nal two sets, it of­ten seemed his best hope was to call for re­play chal­lenges, few of which went in his fa­vor. His face was con­torted in ob­vi­ous dis­com­fort late in the match, in­clud­ing at one point in the fifth set when he bit the knuckle on his in­dex fin­ger.

Mur­ray would not re­tire from the match, but Quer­rey was mer­ci­less and smart, push­ing him from cor­ner to cor­ner to make a bad sit­u­a­tion worse.

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