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Federer Plays Djokovic, Murray Faces Tsonga in Wimbledon Semis

Swiss Six-time Wimbledon Winner Roger Federer
Roger Federer of Switzerland. Photographer: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Six-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer will play defending champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the tennis tournament after both won in straight sets yesterday. Andy Murray will meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Showing no signs of the back injury he’d struggled with in the previous round, the third-seeded Federer of Switzerland defeated No. 26 seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 on Centre Court at the All England Club. Their match was watched by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge from the royal box.

“Obviously it feels great being back in the semis,” Federer said after he’d clinched the match with a backhand volley and won the point on his first serve 88 percent of the time. “Haven’t been there in the last couple years,” added Federer, who had lost in the quarterfinals the past two times.

Djokovic beat the 31st-seeded Florian Mayer of Germany, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4, on Court 1.

Murray overcame Spain’s No. 7 seed David Ferrer in a three hour, 52 minute contest full of long baseline exchanges, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) on Centre Court.

No. 4 seed Murray, who has now tied fellow Briton Tim Henman with four Wimbledon semifinals, is trying to become the first British man to win the tournament in 76 years. No. 5 seed Tsonga of France moved to his second straight semifinal by beating Germany’s No. 27 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 on Court 1. Murray leads Tsonga 5-1 in career meetings.

Stepped Up Pace

Today, Germany’s No. 8 seed Angelique Kerber plays third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the women’s semifinals. Four-time singles champion Serena Williams of the U.S. plays Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

After each won a set in a tiebreak, Murray stepped up the pace of his groundstrokes in the third set, breaking for 5-4 with a deep backhand return. He took a two sets to one lead with his 12th ace. Play was suspended for 25 minutes in the fourth set at 5-5. Murray set up two match points with a forehand down the line, and won with his 18th ace.

“Very tough match, long match, lots of tight moments,” Murray said. “Just played a little bit better at the end. He’s a great player. I knew it was going to be a tough fight”

All the men’s quarterfinalists came from Europe, only the fifth time that has happened since tennis turned professional in 1968.

First on Grass

Although Federer leads Djokovic 14-12, the two have never played each other on grass. The Serb, the men’s top seed, beat the 30-year-old in straight sets in the French Open semifinals last month.

“It’s always a pleasure playing against Roger,” Djokovic, 25, said. “He’s a great champion, and so consistent in the Grand Slams. He’s the ultimate challenge on grass.”

“I know I’m playing really well,” said Federer, who met Prince William and his wife after his match. “I am aware things are going to get complicated in the next match. I better prepare well, because it’s going to be a tough match.”

Federer will be playing his first semifinal at Wimbledon in three years, and his 32nd overall. The oldest quarterfinalist, Federer hasn’t won a Grand Slam championship since he took a record-extending 16th major men’s title at the 2010 Australian Open.

The Swiss has dominated Youzhny in their previous 14 meetings, only dropping three sets.

Watched by former champions including Rod Laver, Federer raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set, when play was stopped for 21 minutes because of rain.

Two-Set Lead

Federer surged to a two-set lead after the rain break. When faced with a break point at the start of the third set, Youzhny looked up to the royal box and asked former Wimbledon champions Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi, “Can you tell me what I can do?”

He promptly lost his serve.

Djokovic struggled at the start against Mayer, recovering from 0-40 at 4-4 on his own serve. After Djokovic held, he took control and won the second set in 25 minutes.

Federer, who is trying to tie Pete Sampras and William Renshaw with seven titles at the All England Club, will regain the No. 1 men’s spot if he wins the event.

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