Wednesday, 4 July 2012
Andy Murray is steeling himself for a Spanish inquisition in the men's Wimbledon quarter-finals on Wednesday night.
Murray returned to the All England Club on Tuesday to complete a 7-5 6-2 6-3 fourth-round victory over Queen's Club champion Marin Cilic to impressively advance to the last eight for the fourth straight year.
With no Rafael Nadal standing in his way this time, local hopes are sky high that the fourth-seeded Scot will at last end Britain's 74-year wait for a men's grand slam singles finalist - at least.
But with a 5-5 win-loss record against his quarter-final foe, world No.5 David Ferrer, Murray is refusing to fuel expectations.
The 25-year-old dismissed talk that Ferrer - who won Wimbledon's grasscourt lead-up event in the Netherlands - was merely a claycourt specialist ripe for the picking.
"He's a clay court specialist? No, he's not. He won last week on grass," Murray said.
"So he's won, what, eight matches in a row on the grass?
"He's been in the semi-finals of Australia, I think semi-finals of US Open as well and now he's starting to play better on grass.
"I don't see him as a clay court specialist at all."
Ferrer, who thumped Argentine ninth seed Juan Martin del Potro 6-3 6-2 6-3 in his rain-delayed fourth-round match, has yet to drop a set this tournament and eliminated Murray at the same quarter-final stage at last month's French Open.
"This year he's playing his best tennis I think of his career," Murray said.
If he passes his Spanish test, Murray is likely to confront Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Friday's semi-finals.
The fifth-seeded Frenchman has dropped just two service games this campaign and fired 20 aces in his 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 6-4 fourth-round comeback win over American 10th seed Mardy Fish.
First, though, Tsonga must overcome Philipp Kohlschreiber, the German who ended the fairytale run of American qualifier Brian Baker 6-1 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.
Tsonga, who took out Federer in last year's quarter-finals from two sets to love down and lost to Djokovic in the 2008 Australian Open decider, is taking nothing for granted.
"I am expecting him to play the best match of his life," Tsonga said.
"He's never reach the semis so of course he will play hard. I expect to have a very tough match."
In the top half of the draw, titleholder Djokovic and six-times champion Federer remain on a semi-final collision course.
Djokovic meets German Florian Mayer in his quarter-final on Wednesday after clinically disposing of fellow Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3 6-1 6-3 in his fourth-round mismatch on Monday.
Like Murray, Ferrer, Tsonga and Kohlschreiber, Mayer returned on Tuesday to post a 6-3 6-1 3-6 6-2 victory over Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
Federer is up against Russian Mikhail Youzhny after beating a back injury and Belgian Xavier Malisse 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 4-6 6-3 on Monday to reach the last eight for the 33rd straight time at a major.
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