July 3, 2012
Murray advances to Wimbledon quarters
By SPORTS NETWORK
LONDON - Three-time Grand Slam runner-up Andy Murray, gritty Spaniard David Ferrer and former Australian Open finalist Jo- Wilfried Tsonga booked spots in Wednesday's men's quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
Rain on Monday forced five men's fourth-round matches to be either suspended or postponed. The fourth-seeded Murray was in the second set when play was halted and on Tuesday came back to finish a thorough 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 triumph against 16th-seeded Croat Marin Cilic at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Wet weather disrupted play again on Tuesday.
"We stopped, obviously, a lot," Murray said. "You're always a little bit edgy when you come out after a rain delay when you have the momentum with you. You stop, and then you come back out, and it feels a bit like you start from scratch again. I needed to serve well today and I got a lot of free points that helped me out."
Murray has reached the semifinals each of the last three years at Wimbledon and expectations may be even loftier this fortnight. He is trying to give Britain its first male Wimbledon champion since Fred Perry back in 1936, and is the highest-seeded player in his half of the draw after the second-round ouster of two-time champion Rafael Nadal last week.
The consistent Murray will appear in a seventh straight Grand Slam and fifth consecutive Wimbledon quarterfinal.
Next up for Murray will be the seventh-seeded Ferrer, who whipped ninth-seeded former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 under the roof on Centre Court.
Ferrer was ultra-clean on Day 8, committing only eight unforced errors and zero double faults while advancing in just under two hours. He also broke a lethargic del Potro five times while holding his serve throughout.
The 30-year-old Ferrer leads the ATP World Tour with 47 match wins this year (47-8), including a perfect 9-0 mark on grass, and has now reached the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slam events for his career.
The fifth-seeded Tsonga, meanwhile, was forced to wait out a lengthy rain delay before dismissing 10th-seeded American Mardy Fish 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-4 in 3 hours, 18 minutes on Court 2. The big-serving affair featured 37 aces, including 20 from the winner. Tsonga broke Fish three times, while the American settled for two breaks in a losing effort.
The 30-year-old Fish, a Wimbledon quarterfinalist a year ago, returned to action just last week after being sidelined for three months with fatigue-like symptoms. The American star wound up undergoing a heart procedure and was then given clearance to play tennis.
The 27-year-old French Tsonga will appear in his third straight Wimbledon and eighth overall Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Also advancing Tuesday was 27th-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber and his 31st-seeded fellow countryman Florian Mayer. Kohlschreiber took care of 126th-ranked American comeback kid Brian Baker 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, while Mayer eliminated 18th-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.
The 27-year-old Baker was appearing in the Wimbledon main draw for the first time and trying to become the third American qualifier to reach the quarterfinals at the AELTC. He was off the tour for more than five years because of a series of operations.
Baker was ranked 458th at the start of this year, but will now reside inside the top 100 when the new rankings come out.
Kohlschreiber will appear in his first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal, while his fellow 28-year-old Mayer reached a major quarterfinal for the second time in his career, with the first coming back in 2004 in his first appearance at Wimbledon. The last time two German men reached the last eight at a Grand Slam was in 1997 at Wimbledon, when there were three -- Boris Becker, Nicolas Kiefer and Michael Stich.
Kohlschreiber will meet Tsonga, while Mayer has a quarterfinal date with top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who was one of three men to finish fourth-round play Monday. The defending champion Djokovic eased past fellow Serb Viktor Troicki, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.
The 25-year-old Djokovic is 31-1 over his last five majors and 43-2 over his last seven Grand Slams. He reached his first-ever Wimbledon final and captured his first-ever title here with a victory over Nadal a year ago and has won four of the last six major finals overall.
Also winning Monday were third-seeded six-time champion Roger Federer and No. 26 seed Mikhail Youzhny. Federer brushed off a minor back ailment in the first set to win in four against Belgian Xavier Malisse and will next take on Youzhny, who went five sets to beat Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin.
Federer, who reached seven straight Wimbledon finals from 2003-09, is still seeking his first Grand Slam title since the 2010 Australian Open.
In addition to his six titles, Federer was the 2008 Wimbledon runner-up to Nadal.