Hobbled Nadal Stands Between Murray, Finals
London. Defending champion Rafael Nadal hopes for a knockout blow of Andy Murray’s hopes of ending Britain’s 75-year wait for a Wimbledon winner on Friday.
The world No. 1 takes an imposing 11-4 record over No. 4 seed Murray into their semifinal, a repeat of the clash at the same stage last year which the Spaniard won in straight sets.
Nadal, chasing an eleventh Grand Slam title, also got the better of Murray in the French Open semifinals four weeks ago in straight sets before he went on to wrap up a sixth Roland Garros crown.
However, Nadal, who is taking painkillers to numb the pain from the left foot injury he suffered in his fourth-round win over Juan Martin del Potro, will not underestimate the Scotsman.
“The match will be very difficult for me. I think he’s playing at a very, very high level,” Nadal said. “For me, the last few months of Andy have been very, very good. It’ll be a big challenge.”
Nadal insists that he is not concerned by his injury, but he revealed that he was driven by a sense of occasion eyeing a third Wimbledon title to add to his 2008 and 2010 triumphs.
“My foot is not fine, but we are in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. It’s an emergency, so I had to play,” Nadal said.
Murray has looked in fine form in his last two rounds, enjoying straight-sets wins over France’s Richard Gasquet and Spanish serve-and-volleyer Feliciano Lopez.
“You don’t know until you get out there, but I feel good. I’ve played well so far and I feel comfortable,” Murray said.
“I don’t expect to feel comfortable in the next match. I know I’m going to have to go through moments where I’m struggling, where Rafa hits some unbelievable shots, and have to come back from behind sometimes.”
In Friday’s other semifinal, second seed Novak Djokovic, a semifinalist in 2007 and 2010, tackles French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the man who condemned six-time champion Roger Federer to a landmark defeat in the quarterfinals.
Djokovic has lost just once in his last 49 matches, a run stretching back to Serbia’s Davis Cup triumph in December.
However, the 24-year-old Serb has a losing record against the Tsonga, 26, having only won two of the pair’s seven meetings.
Djokovic is wary of the danger posed by the Frenchman who served so consistently against Federer in his astonishing 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
“He served really well. Tsonga was not under pressure,” Djokovic said.
“He’s been playing great in the grass court season, and now he’s been winning against top players. He’s very dangerous.”