Photo: Eisele/Giubilo/ZimmerAndy Murray (GBR) with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge
LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN: The semifinal singles line-ups have been decided at the Olympic Tennis Event on a day that got Royal approval from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Prince William and wife Kate were on hand at Wimbledon to cheer on home hope Andy Murray as the British No. 1 dispatched Spain’s Nicolas Almagro in straight sets to reach the last four.
It was a ruthless display from Murray, who didn’t allow his opponent a single break point opportunity in the match. Conversely, he broke serve four times on his way to wrapping up a 64 61 victory in just 59 minutes.
Murray now faces Novak Djokovic after the world No. 2 prevailed in similar fashion against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, winning 61 75 in 1 hour 20 minutes. Murray and Djokovic have met 13 times in the past, and the Serb leads 8-5 in the series, although surprisingly this will be their first meeting on grass.
Roger Federer came through two tight sets to defeat the big serving American, John Isner, 64 76(5). The Swiss world No. 1 benefitted from a stroke of luck on match point in the second set tiebreak when he saw a return hit the net cord and roll agonisingly over on Isner’s side.
Federer’s reward is a semifinal clash with another big server, Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine came through with a nearly identical score line to Federer, winning 64 76(4) against Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
Federer holds an imposing 12-2 head-to-head advantage over del Potro, including five wins out of five this year, but the Tower of Tandil, as he is known in his hometown, did record a memorable triumph against the 17-time Grand Slam champion in the final of the US Open in 2009.
Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams will face-off in the women’s semifinals after a pair of straight set wins on Thursday. Unfortunately for the Belarusian she has a terrible record against the American, trailing 8-1 in past meetings with her lone victory arriving three years ago.
Azarenka, the world No. 1, was made to work hard by Angelique Kerber of Germany for her 64 75 victory, while Williams, the reigning Wimbledon champion, continued her devastating form by hammering Caroline Wozniacki 60 63.
Maria Sharapova ended the grass court career of Kim Clijsters by claiming a 62 75 win. The Belgian had already announced this would be her penultimate tournament, with the final hurrah coming at the US Open, so this defeat spells the end for Clijsters at Wimbledon.
Sharapova meets fellow Russian Maria Kirlenko in the last four. Kirilenko has been the surprise package so far and booked her place in the semifinals by knocking out last year’s Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova, 76(3) 63.
The doubles events are also through to the semifinal stage with two sets of American siblings, the Bryan brothers and Williams sisters, stamping their authority on the competition. Meanwhile, the mixed doubles first round was completed on Thursday and British fans were given something to cheer about as Murray and Laura Robson advanced to the last eight.
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