LONDON – Roger Federer and Andy Murray ran into each other Wednesday morning in the champions’ locker room at the All England Club, then walked together over to the practice area to prepare – on adjacent courts – for their respective quarterfinals later in the day.
“We weren’t chatting about anything. It was just, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ Nothing interesting,” Murray recounted. “We get on well. But obviously, on Friday – different story.”
Yes, they’ll meet up again Friday, only the setting will be far different and things might be a tad less cordial, because the two past Wimbledon titlists face each other at Centre Court in the semifinals.
The No. 2-seeded Federer is closing in on his record eighth trophy at the grass-court tournament; No. 3 Murray’s 2013 championship was the first for a British man at Wimbledon in 77 years.
Both advanced in quarterfinals slowed only by a pair of rain delays. Federer’s 116-hold streak in service games, dating to his previous tournament, ended, but that was merely a blip during a 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 victory over No. 12 Gilles Simon of France.
Murray was hardly troubled at all by a weary Vasek Pospisil of Canada and won 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in a match that finished with the retractable roof closed at Center Court, in front of an audience that included Prince William and his wife Kate.
Another past champion, No. 1 Novak Djokovic, also barely was tested, eliminating No. 9 Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to improve to 13-0 against the 2014 U.S. Open winner.
Djokovic, who won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, plays No. 21 Richard Gasquet of France next. Gasquet emerged from the most compelling quarterfinal – featuring two beautiful one-handed backhands – with a 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 win over No. 4 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.
Until Gasquet dropped to his back at the baseline when French Open champion Wawrinka’s last backhand sailed long, it appeared this might be the first Wimbledon semifinals in 20 years involving men seeded 1-4.
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