x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Wimbledon semi-finals: Murray v Janowicz; Djokovic v Del Potro

British player on course for historic title after brilliant comeback at the All England Club.

Andy Murray was two sets down but fought his way back past Fernando Verdasco. Dennis Grombkowski / Getty Images
Andy Murray was two sets down but fought his way back past Fernando Verdasco. Dennis Grombkowski / Getty Images

Andy Murray pulled off a dramatic comeback from two sets down to beat Fernando Verdasco in the Wimbledon quarter-finals and keep up home hopes of a first British champion since 1936.

The second seed defeated the 54th-ranked Spaniard 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 in a thrilling match on Centre Court.

The world No 2 next faces Polish 22nd seed Jerzy Janowicz in tomorrow's semi-finals after he beat compatriot Lukasz Kubot in straight sets in their quarter-final on Court One yesterday.

Janowicz became Poland's first man to reach a grand slam semi-final yesterday by overcoming his compatriot Kubot 7-5, 6-4, 6-4, firing down 30 aces in the process.

After winning the match, Janowicz dropped to the floor in tears before the pair embraced on court and swapped shirts as Poland celebrated a famous day in its sporting history.

Djokovic and Del Potro were ‘really close’ to bowing out

Novak Djokovic came through his toughest test at Wimbledon so far, beating Tomas Berdych in straight sets to make his 13th consecutive grand slam semi-final.

Djokovic wasted four break points in the first set and was broken twice in the second, but he ultimately came through to record a deserved 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 win against the seventh seed.

The top seed, who is yet to drop a set in the tournament, will play Juan Martin del Potro in the last four.

The world No 1 admitted afterwards that he thought he could have lost the match. “It was a strong start for me today,” the 2011 champion told the BBC.

“I had a few break points, a few chances to break in the first set, but I didn’t manage to do that and the tiebreak was decided by one mistake with a forehand at 6-5. It was a very close match, it could have gone either way.

“He could have won the first two sets, he had a double break in the second. I don’t know how I managed to go ahead, I don’t know how I turned it around. I am really happy with the performance. I am playing some of the best tennis on grass of my career.”

Djokovic was glad to see fellow Serb and Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic in the crowd, along with former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko, who had also come to watch.

“It really means a lot to see Nemanja with Andriy here,” Djokovic said. “I have only met [Vidic] once before briefly, but we are glad that he accepted the invitation to come.”

Del Potro said he had “magic pills” to thank for securing his first Wimbledon semi-final berth.

The Argentine eighth seed suffered a nasty fall in the opening game of his match with fellow wounded warrior David Ferrer, but recovered to post a 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 victory on Centre Court.

Del Potro said he was “really close” to having to pull out of the match, but his bravery paid off.

“I think it’s going to be dangerous if I’m not careful in the next few days,” he said after coming off court. “I think I played my best tennis of the tournament against David and I’m so happy to be in the semis.”

The 2009 US Open champion sustained the initial setback when beating Grega Zemlja in the third round, but put up with it and battled through a last-16 tussle with Andreas Seppi to set up yesterday’s contest with the Spanish fourth seed, who has been suffering with a sore big toe.

“I was really close [to quitting] because I felt a lot of pain. It was exactly what I did before,” Del Potro said on the BBC. “It’s really painful, I twisted my knee once again. The doctor gave me some magic pills.”

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