Andy Murray ran into an inspired Fernando Verdasco today at the Wimbledon, and had to overcome a 2-set deficit to avoid elimination in this upset-ridden tournament. He eventually overcame the Spaniard in 3 hours, 27 minutes in the (surprisingly) most hotly-contested match of the gentlemen’s quarterfinals.
Verdasco has been ranked as high as No. 7 in the world and has struggled the last couple of years, but he’s regained his form recently, and was having a very fine tournament. He served superbly throughout the match, hit powerfully, and took his chances in a display of nerve and calm that isn’t often associated with him. However, with the crowd in the stadium and on Henman Hill urging him on, Murray found his own nerve and eventually prevailed, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.
Juan Martin Del Potro had to overcome a tumble in the first game of his match against David Ferrer, hyper-extending his knee and nearly ending a match that had barely begun. Hard to know if the scare focussed his efforts to get through quickly, but the Argentine served very well, and mostly kept the scrappy world No. 3 out of rhythm. Ferrer battled hard to take the match to 4 sets, but lost in the 3rd-set tiebreak. Del Potro won 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(5), and earned the right to play the world No. 1, Novak Djokovic.
In a first-ever all-Polish quarterfinal, Jerzy Janowicz defeated countryman Lukasz Kubot, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4, to become the first Polish man to reach the semifinals of any Slam event. (Another Pole is still in the tournament: Agnieszka Radwanska will play in the women’s semifinals tomorrow against Sabine Lisicki, the German who ended Serena’s run yesterday.) Janowicz is 22 years old, and one of the young players being scrutinized for bigger things. He will face Andy Murray in the semis.
Djokovic got past the powerful Czech, Tomas Berdych in straight sets, though the scoreline is somewhat deceptive, as it could easily have gone longer. After a razor-thin first set, Novak was down two breaks in the second, but fought back to take the set and the match: 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3. When he faces Del Potro on Friday, it will be knowing that neither of them has dropped a set in the tournament. However, all attention will be on the tall Argentine’s knee.