The top four seeds in the Wimbledon men’s draw will aim to remain on course for the final four when they each take to the court in quarterfinal action on Wednesday. Following the struggles of Rafael Nadal, there is now a new top four in men’s tennis. And Stan Wawrinka has backed up his sensational victory at the French Open to safely join Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer in the last eight.
Wawrinka has already matched his best result at Wimbledon, achieved just last year, and the 30-year-old has done so without dropping a single set. Now standing between him and a place in a first semifinal on the grass at the All England Club is Richard Gasquet. The talented Frenchman has had a career blighted by inconsistency, but has often reserved his best for Wimbledon, going all the way to the semifinals in 2007. Gasquet has impressed again this year, taking out two of the game’s rising stars in Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios.
The winner of that contest will take on either Novak Djokovic or Marin Cilic in the semifinals. Between them, they have won three of the last four Grand Slam titles and they have also each endured marathon contests to make it this far. U.S. Open champion Cilic needed more than four-and-a-half hours to beat John Isner 12-10 in the fifth set in round three. And Djokovic was also pushed to two days in coming from two sets to love down to see off Kevin Anderson on Tuesday.
“It was a very difficult match, one of the most difficult in my Wimbledon career, that's for sure,” Djokovic said afterward, according to the ATP Tour website.
While he may have some heavy legs, Djokovic will be cheered when reminded of his record against his next opponent. The world No. 1 and defending champion has won all 12 of his previous meetings with Cilic, including at the same quarterfinal stage of last year’s Wimbledon.
The man Djokovic lost to in the final two years ago also has the comfort of a perfect record against his quarterfinal opponent. Murray, seeded No. 3 this year, has won all three of his meetings, all in the last nine months, against the unseeded Vasek Pospisil. Still, the Canadian, who had never gone beyond the third round at any of his 12 previous Grand Slams, has already beaten a Briton at this year’s championships in James Ward. But Pospisil has also already spent plenty of time on the court, having gone the distance in three of his four rounds so far, as well as being pushed to five sets in defense of his men’s doubles title. And Murray is hoping to take advantage of any fatigue.
“He's had a good run here,” he said. “Obviously he won the doubles here last year and can play well on the surface. He's also played a lot of tennis here, which is a positive for him in some ways, but also maybe he's a little bit fatigued. So if that is the case, and I won't bank on that being the case, I'll try to use that to my advantage.”
Starting at the same time on No. 1 Court will be Federer’s attempt to keep his hopes alive for an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon title when taking on Gilles Simon. Last year’s runner-up has dropped just one set en route to his 12th Wimbledon quarterfinal, but is not getting carried away ahead of a meeting with the 12th seed.
“I’m happy to be back in the quarters here,” he said, after easing past Roberto Bautista Agut in the last 16. “This is really when it gets much more interesting, when you can look ahead a little bit without doing that too much because obviously your opponents are going to get tougher and tougher.
“I'm not going to look further than Gilles Simon who has caused me difficulties in the past. I played him tough in some of the majors, Australia, French Open, we played five sets both times there.”
While Simon, who beat sixth seed Tomas Berdych in the last round, has given Federer a tough ride in their two previous Grand Slam meetings, he has not beaten Federer since 2008.
Schedule (8 a.m. EDT start)
Centre Court (ESPN)
Murray vs. Pospisil, followed by Djokovic vs. Cilic
No. 1 Court (ESPN2)
Federer vs. Simon followed by Wawrinka vs. Gasquet
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