Wimbledon: Defending Champion Andy Murray knocked out by US’ Sam Querry – Murray was playing with an injury and was decimated in the final two sets of the match
Sam Querrey of the U.S. celebrates winning the quarter final match against Great Britain’s Andy Murray (Reuters)
Andy Murray’s Wimbledon title defence ended in a 3-6 6-4 6-7(4) 6-1 6-1 quarter-final defeat to Sam Querrey on Wednesday as the hip injury that has dogged the world number one throughout the tournament finally got the better of him.
Murray, who had only lost to Querrey once in eight previous encounters, was struggling to move around the court in the final two sets against the big-serving American, who will now face either Gilles Muller or Marin Cilic in the semi-finals.
“I’m still in shock myself,” Querrey said after wrapping victory with his 27th ace.
“I didn’t start my best but kept with it and kept swinging and I hit my groove in the fourth and fifth sets.
“It feels great and it’s a dream come true … to get to a semi-final and have it happen at Wimbledon makes it a bit more special.”
Twice champion Murray raced through the opening set with no sign that his troublesome hip was slowing him down, but after being pegged back by Querrey in the second, he grimaced in pain in the third when the American hit a backhand winner at 4-5.
While Murray claimed that set on a tiebreak, it was downhill from there as Querrey won nine games in a row to take the fourth set 6-1 and open up a 3-0 lead in the fifth.
The Centre Court crowd did their best to get behind the home favourite, but there was no way back for the Briton whose reign ended in disappointing fashion.
Querrey, who knocked out then defending champion Novak Djokovic last year, broke again for a 5-1 lead in the fifth and then wrapped up the match with a booming ace to become the first American man to reach a grand slam semi-final since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009.
Meanwhile, veteran Venus Williams was sharpening her reactions for the barrage of big serves she can expect in her Wimbledon semi-final against British favourite Johanna Konta on Thursday, going through a relentless practise routine on the eve of battle.
The 37-year-old spent 45 minutes on the dusty Aorangi Park practise courts on Wednesday, hitting back serves delivered at high velocity by a male hitting partner.
Williams sent many returns whistling back to the baseline, occasionally getting a thumbs up from her coaching team, while others sailed way beyond the margins of the court.
Konta tops the ace leaderboard in the women’s singles with 28, one more than Williams who is the oldest woman to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for 23 years.
Against Simona Halep on Tuesday, Konta offered up only two break points in a match lasting two hours and 38 minutes.
“Johanna’s serve is a massive weapon,” her coach Wim Fissette told Reuters this week. “Most woman players would like a first serve as good as Jo’s.”
Following her quarter-final victory over Jelena Ostapenko, Williams told a news conference that she would be expecting a close battle with her British opponent.
“I think we play a very similar style,” she said. “Aggressive, serve well, return well, very solid off the ground. So really it’s just about playing that game better and see where you find openings on that day.”
Williams is bidding to win her sixth Wimbledon singles title and eighth grand slam — nine years after last lifting the aptly-named Venus Rosewater Dish on Centre Court.
Konta, who will be playing in her first Wimbledon semi-final, is attempting to become the first British winner of the women’s singles since Virginia Wade in 1977.