July 8, 2015
Richard Gasquet won a five-set thriller on Wednesday evening to set up a dream semi-final against Novak Djokovic.
And the other semi on “Fantastic Friday” will be the one we all hoped and expected to see – Roger Federer against Andy Murray.
Gasquet finally wore down Stan Wawrinka, the French Open champion, to win 11-9 in the fading light. It was yet another classic confrontation at Wimbledon 2015, which will be remembered for so many marvellous matches.
Frenchman Gasquet said later: ‘It was very tough because I could have finished the match 6-3 in the fifth and missed the chance. But I really wanted to win and I kept fighting. It’s a really big victory for me, I was really aggressive and I did enough to win.
‘Novak will be favourite, everyone knows that, he is the best player in the world but I will try my best.’
It was relatively plain sailing for the three biggest names in tennis.
Djokovic disposed of Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 and will be grateful for the easier ride after his tough, two-day battle against Kevin Anderson in the previous round.
The big Croat was no pushover but the world’s best player simply had too much craft and composure on the big occasion. ‘It was a very solid performance,’ Novak admitted.
The super Serb must be favourite for the tournament now, since his route to the final no longer involves playing Wawrinka, his conqueror at Roland Garros.
But Gasquet’s confidence will now be sky-high and he goes into the semi-final knowing he has no pressure and absolutely nothing to lose.
Djokovic will take nothing for granted and hope he can win through to defend his title.
Roger Federer has probably managed to conserve the most energy throughout the tournament – and so it was again as he beat Gilles Simon 6-3, 7-5, 6-2.
He never let the Frenchman play his best tennis and must feel he has enough left in the tank, even as he approaches his 34th birthday, to spoil the party for home hero Andy Murray.
Federer, who is chasing his eighth Wimbledon title, admitted, ‘I probably won’t be thinking about our match here at the Olympics in 2012 because he dominated me in that one. I’ll be thinking about some of the other matches we’ve had.’
And there are plenty to choose from, because Federer edges their head-to-head record 12-11. It’s almost impossible to predict a winner in what promises to be one of the highlights of a scintillating fortnight.
Like Federer, Murray overcame the complications of rain delays to maintain his focus, though for the Scot the changing conditions were perhaps slightly more challenging, because he had to adapt to the roof closure on Centre Court.
Murray saw off Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 and seemed pleased with his ruthless work. ‘I felt like I played some good stuff. I’ve always played some of my best tennis here and I hope I can get to another final.’
Whatever happens, the spectators are sure to be the winners and will cherish every moment, because for all we know, we may never see Federer in such an important match at Wimbledon again.
In the mean time we have two fascinating women’s semi-finals to savour on Thursday, with Garbine Muguruza first up on Centre Court against former finalist Agnieszka Radwanska. Then comes the clash we all hoped to see, Serena Williams against Maria Sharapova. Can Maria turn the tide after so many long years of defeats against the American? Or will Serena surge towards her 21st title?
We’ll soon find out!