Andy Murray’s Wimbledon challenge continues later today as he gets ready to square off against world number 56 Vasek Pospisil. The Canadian is something of a surprise addition to the men’s quarter finals, thanks in part to the withdrawal of David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal’s shock defeat to Dustin Brown. With his portion of the draw now wide open, Pospisil pounced, seeing off Brit James Ward and Serbia’s Victor Troicki in epic five-set battles to reach the quarter-finals.
Murray, meanwhile, has marched through the draw with straightforward wins over Mikhail Kukushkin and Robin Haase, before a shoulder niggle caused him to drop a set to Andreas Seppi in the third round. Monday saw the Scot overcome towering Croat Ivo Karlovic in a tense four-set battle, but he comes into today’s match the overwhelming favourite to progress into the semi-finals where either Roger Federer or Gilles Simon await.
With the weather forecast looking gloomy, the roof may need to protect Murray and Pospisil from rainfall when they step out on Centre Court at 1:00pm this afternoon.
They’ll be followed by Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic who will play second on Centre. Top seed Djokovic was forced to dig himself out of an almighty hole when he went two sets down to 6ft 8in American Kevin Anderson in the fourth round on Monday.The Serb had to return to court yesterday afternoon to play the fifth set which he came through 7-5 to book a place in the quarters – the first major scare for the defending champion who now takes on the equally lofty Cilic. Coached by former champion Goran Ivanisevic, the Croat is more than comfortable on grass – he took Djokovic to five sets in last year’s quarters and could prove a tricky opponent yet again for the world number one.
Over on No.1 Court Federer will face his first serious test of the tournament against Frenchman Gilles Simon, beginning at 1:00pm. The pair have never played on grass but their two previous Grand Slam matches have both gone to five sets, with the Swiss eventually coming through on top. 33-year-old Fed is looking for an eighth Wimbledon title, while Simon is bidding to reach his first semi-final at the All England Club. Based on his opponent’s form so far this tournament, it’s a big ask.
Once Federer and Simon have squared off, it’ll be the turn of French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet, dubbed the battle of the backhands. Both players are known for their killer one-handed shot and both have been impressive these championships, with the Frenchman seeing off testy Australian Nick Kyrgios in four sets on Monday. It would be foolish to write off Gasquet, but 30-year-old Wawrinka is in the form of his career, defeating Djokovic in the final of Roland Garros last month. He’ll be the favoured candidate this afternoon in what promises to be a mouthwatering match-up.