British fans will be hoping Andy Murray overcame his biggest hurdle in the quarter finals when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took him to five sets. But with that thriller a fading memory, the British number one is back on Centre Court today to face Tomas Berdych. The Czech has never won a Slam but is in familiar territory in these latter stages of the draw after making the final in 2010, losing to Rafael Nadal. And he has the weapons to trouble Andy Murray with his booming serve and pacy forehand.
Murray leads their head-to-head 8-6 and has won their last four matches, including the Australian Open semi-final – a heated duel where the Scot’s then-fiancé Kim was caught on camera sending some choice words in Berdych’s direction. The tension had clearly cooled off by the final when she made this wardrobe choice…
Murray has since reunited with his coach Ivan Lendl and is in the form of his life, a development made further awkward by the fact that Berdych asked his compatriot to coach him earlier this year and was turned down. “I approached Ivan and he said he doesn’t want to be involved in tennis,” he explained. “Then he comes back to Andy. So that’s how it is.”
Berdych, currently ranked ninth, will need to dominate Murray who has been in fine form this fortnight, playing his opponents off the court both mentally and physically. The wise money is on the Scot to book a place in Sunday’s final – but don’t assume it’ll be an easy ride.
The pair are on Centre Court second this afternoon, after Roger Federer and Milos Raonic do battle in the first semi-final.
CENTRE COURT (PLAY STARTS AT 1PM)
Milos Raonic (CAN) v Roger Federer (SUI)
Tomas Berdych (CZE) v Andy Murray (GBR)
The seven-time champion is hoping to appear in his 11th Wimbledon final but his Canadian opponent, bolstered by coach John MacEnroe, won’t make it easy for him. Raonic took Murray all the way in the Queen’s final and has a booming serve in his arsenal perfect for SW19’s grass courts.
Fed will have his work cut out for him – and with play on Centre Court beginning at 1pm, it’s unlikely Murray and Berdych will be warming up anytime before 4:30pm.