July 2, 2014
Defending champion Andy Murray was knocked out of Wimbledon in straight sets by his friend and young pretender, Grigor Dimitrov.
Remarkably, Dimitrov revealed he knew Murray wasn’t right from the very start. When he heard that piece of analysis, Andy seemed mystified by such a controversial remark. Yet this was a result many of us had seen coming since day one of Wimbledon.
Our blog entitled “The First Day” referred to “the champion” – Murray – and a “dangerous” rival out on Court One.
‘This contender will progress quietly, until he can stake his claim and ambush the champion,’ we warned.
That man was of course Grigor Dimitrov.
So it proved, though no one could have predicted quite how tame Murray’s game would be.
There were audible gasps of horror when Murray made his last, fatal mistake in front of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Dimitrov – Maria Sharapova’s boyfriend – only had to take an aggressive approach to breeze through 6-1, 7-6, 6-2.
In stark contrast, Andy served with no venom whatsoever and was broken five times. His ground-strokes looked tentative, and his coach Amelie Mauresmo seemed just as down-hearted as the Scot as events unfolded.
Psychologically, Murray wasn’t all there – something he will have to explain more fully in time.
Murray said: ‘I need to go away and think about what I need to improve. The younger guys are getting better and I need to make improvements. I’m disappointed with the way I started the match and that gave him confidence, then I got tight at the end of the second, which could have gone either way.’
Bulgarian Dimitrov was clearly on top of the situation in the first and third sets. Andy led 3-2 in the second-set tie-break but surrendered his position passively when it mattered.
Dimitrov said: ‘I’m excited to win in straight sets, it’s not easy playing Andy in front of the home crowd. From the warm-up I sensed his game wasn’t at the highest level. It’s a tough feeling when you know the person well and have to face him on court like that.’ Murray seemed surprised by Dimitrov’s comment about the warm-up. ‘I felt fine, I just didn’t start well,’ he said rather curtly.
Meanwhile Novak Djokovic dropped two sets to his quarter-final adversary, Marin Cilic – but still survived to triumph 6-1, 3-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-2.
When the big Croatian took the tie-break to go two-one ahead in sets, it looked as though the number one seed was on his way out. But Novak stayed cool under fire and his fourth-set response was so emphatic that Cilic never quite recovered. Novak will now face Dimitrov on Friday in what promises to be a scintillating confrontation for a place in the final.
Simona Halep will play Eugenie Bouchard in one of Thursday’s semi-finals. Some would go as far as to say it represents the “real final,” in that the winner is likely to win Wimbledon. Canadian Bouchard saw off Sharapova’s conqueror, Angelique Kerber, 6-4, 6-3, using superior technique and composure. Halep was too strong for last year’s tearful finalist, Sabine Lisicki, and dismissed her 6-4, 6-0.
In the other women’s semi-final, 2011 champion Petra Kvitova will play Lucie Safarova. Kvitova beat Czech compatriot Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 7-5. Safarova saw off Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-1.
Expect to see a Halep v Kvitova women’s final – though Bouchard and Safarova might yet have something to say about that!
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