In a Wimbledon that will forever be remembered for its litany of incredible upsets, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are desperate to avoid joining the list of victims before setting up a highly anticipated final. The men’s top two seeds will be back on court on Wednesday as they look to book their place in the last four.
Djokovic will be first up on No. 1 Court and few would argue that it is he that faces the tougher test. Standing in the world No. 1’s way will be Tomas Berdych, who got the better of the Serbian in their one previous meeting on grass -- in the semifinals of Wimbledon three years ago. Of course, Djokovic is a very different proposition now and, indeed, went onto win the next 11 clashes with Berdych. Counting in the Czech seventh seed’s favor is the fact that he was able to get a win over Djokovic the last time the pair played on clay in Rome this year. If Berdych’s forehand is firing he can give any player a serious examination, but Djokovic’s defense is likely to be able to negate his opponent’s weaponry.
Murray has an equally dominant head-to-head record over his quarterfinal opponent, Fernando Verdasco, and is an even stronger favorite to progress. The 29-year-old Spaniard has suffered a significant slide down the rankings since his time in the top 10 as recently as 2011, but has shown signs of rediscovering his best on what is his weakest surface. Yet, while Verdasco’s lefty forehand is a real force, Murray is looking strong and should have far too much.
Before Murray and Verdasco on Centre Court will be an intriguing clash between David Ferrer and Juan Martin del Potro. Tenacious fourth seed Ferrer will have no fears about the prospect of coping with the blasting groundstrokes off of both wings from the Argentinian, who will tower over him by nine inches. Neither would describe grass as their favorite surface, although Del Potro has shown signs of adapting to the green stuff after his bronze medal in last year’s Olympics. And the former US Open champion has looked in better form so far at Wimbledon, but will have to hope that the latest in a long line of injuries, this time to his knee, does not scupper his chances of making the last four for the first time.
The remaining quarterfinal is one that nobody was expecting. In a section of a draw that was anticipated to yield a last-eight matchup between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, two Poles Lukasz Kubot and Jerzy Janowicz will face off. The giant Janowicz, nearly nine years his opponents junior, is less of a surprise after he broke through by reaching the final at the Paris Masters last year. And the 22-year-old will expect his big-serving and big hitting to have too much for Kubot.
Where to watch: The men’s quarterfinals will get underway at 8 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided on ESPN and ESPN 2, with a live stream available on ESPN3.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.