Djokovic still making noise at Wimbledon

While seeds tumble around him, No. 1 just keeps winning
2013-07-03T00:00:00Z 2013-07-03T00:13:40Z Djokovic still making noise at WimbledonThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 03, 2013 12:00 am  • 

LONDON - No. 1-seeded Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Andy Murray have yet to lose a set, let alone a match, so far at Wimbledon.

The way things have been going at the All England Club this fortnight, that's quite an accomplishment.

Rafael Nadal, a 12-time Grand Slam champion, was beaten in the first round. Roger Federer, owner of a record 17 major titles, went out in the second, as did four-time major champ Maria Sharapova. Five-time Wimbledon winner Serena Williams' 34-match winning streak ended in the fourth round.

And on and on it's gone, with no top-20 player other than Murray left on his side of the draw, and a record-equaling number of withdrawals or mid-match retirements because of health problems.

"Everyone was a bit on edge, a little bit uptight," reigning U.S. Open champion Murray acknowledged, "because of what was happening with the injuries, withdrawals, upsets and stuff."

He and Djokovic have made it all look so routine, though, heading into today's men's quarterfinals.

On the top half of the bracket, Djokovic - a six-time Grand Slam titlist and the only remaining past Wimbledon winner - will face No. 7 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, the 2010 runner-up. No. 4 David Ferrer of Spain plays No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, the 2009 U.S. Open champion and the third man who hasn't dropped a set through four matches.

On the bottom half, it will be Murray against 54th-ranked Fernando Verdasco of Spain, and No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz against his Davis Cup teammate and pal, 130th-ranked Lukasz Kubot, in a match between the first two Polish men to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since 1980.

"Magical," Janowicz said.

In keeping with the unpredictable nature of the tournament, whoever wins the women's title will be a first-time Grand Slam champion. Thursday's semifinals are 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland against 23rd-seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany (who beat Williams on Monday), and 2007 runner-up Marion Bartoli of France against 20th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

Janowicz and Kubot will be playing in the quarterfinals at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament for the first time, as will Verdasco and del Potro.

The other three have much more solid Wimbledon bona fides: Murray (2012) and Berdych (2010) have been the runner-up, and Djokovic won the title in 2011.

"I feel good about myself in this moment. I think I actually play a better tennis on grass than I played two years ago, when I won this tournament," said Djokovic, who never before had won every set he played in five previous trips to the Wimbledon quarterfinals. "For now, I'm feeling good. I'm No. 1 of the world. I have no reason to be concerned about my game."

He is bidding to reach the semifinals for a 13th consecutive Slam, the second-longest streak in men's tennis history, behind only Federer's 23-semifinal run.

Djokovic has played in seven of the last 10 major finals, and he has combined with Federer and Nadal to win 31 of the past 33 trophies.

The only other men in those eight-plus years to win a Grand Slam title were Murray and del Potro. Murray has elbowed his way into the upper echelon, turning the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic Big Three into a Big Four lately, participating in the finals of the last three major tournaments he entered (he missed this year's French Open with a bad back).

Murray memorably broke down in tears while addressing the Centre Court crowd after losing last year's championship match at Wimbledon to Federer. Murray was the first British man to reach the final since 1938 and fell one win short of giving the country its first male champion at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

Murray said, his voice cracking: "I'm getting closer."

He was, indeed.

A month later, in the same arena, he defeated Federer for a gold medal at the London Olympics.

And then, in September, Murray edged Djokovic in five sets at Flushing Meadows to snap an 0-4 drought in Grand Slam finals.


• What: Men's quarterfinals

• When: 4 a.m. (ESPN2); 5 a.m. (ESPN)

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