2014 Semifinals are Set
Despite rain hampering matches at the end of Week One and the beginning of Week Two, the Wimbledon singles semifinals are set. On the women's side, Simona Halep will play Eugenie Bouchard while Lucie Safarova will face her countrywoman Petra Kvitova. On the men's side, Roger Federer plays Milos Raonic while Novak Djokovic takes on Grigor Dimitrov.
Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick
Simona Halep has been quietly going about her business throughout The Championships and yesterday was no exception. Halep faced off against last year's finalist, big hitting Sabine Lisicki. Lisicki's best results have always come on the lawns of Wimbledon and it looked like she'd keep rolling when she raced out to a 4-1 lead. But Halep held for 4-2, and then everything came unglued as Lisicki's big first serve deserted her allowing Halep to break back. From there, it was all downhill as Halep raced to the finish line for a 6-4, 6-0 victory, rattling off 11 straight games in the process.
No Repeat for Murray
Through his first four matches, Andy Murray looked dominant. Admittedly, Murray didn't face the toughest opponents, but he thoroughly dismantled several capable players in David Goffin, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Keven Anderson. Then his biggest test rolled around in the form of a quarterfinal matchup with rapidly rising Grigor Dimitrov. As I watched the match, I couldn't help but wonder what happened to the dominant play Murray had displayed earlier in the tournament. Murray looked out of sorts and distracted, missing far too many shots against his aggressive, attacking opponent. While a lot of the blame for Murray's loss can be heaped on his own shoulders, give Dimitrov credit for steeling his nerves and playing excellent tennis in Murray's back yard. All British fans can do now is wait to see how Murray rebounds next year.
Roger Federer got the better of the second ever all-Swiss clash at Wimbledon with a four set win over Stan Wawrinka. Stan won the first set, breaking Federer's serve for the first time in the tournament but the reigning Australian Open Champion appeared to become ill late in the second set. Wawrinka retched into his towel on the changeover at 5-6 and called for the doctor at the next change of ends. Whether the illness drastically affected Stan's play or not is unclear, but after winning the second set 'breaker, Federer swept through the third and fourth sets 6-4, 6-4 to advance to his 35th Grand Slam semifinal.
Slipping and Sliding to Victory
Novak Djokovic seemed to spend nearly as much time on the ground as he did on his feet during his five set showdown with Marin Cilic. The rejuvenated Croat had Djokovic scrambling all over the court, leaving him down on the turf on multiple occasions. Djokovic has seemed to struggle with his footing several times throughout the tournament, even falling hard on his right shoulder during his match with Gilles Simon. Ultimately Cilic seemed to run out of gas and Djokovic eased through to the semifinals.
Leaving Craters on Court 1
Two of the tournament's biggest servers—Canadian Milos Raonic and Australian Nick Kyrgios—faced off on Court 1 yesterday. Both players were vying for their first ever Grand Slam semifinal berth but it was Raonic who ultimately punched his ticket into the next round. Kyrgios played well, but failed to compete at the high level that helped him see off Rafael Nadal. Kyrgios is the younger of the pair and may have a higher ceiling, but Raonic's experience helped him come through this time. He'll move on to face off against the future Hall-of-Famer Roger Federer.
I'll shy away from predicting a "changing of the guard," because I think most of today's champions still have a lot left in the tank before they decide to call it a career. Sure Roger Federer's probably wrapping up his career and yes, Djokovic and Nadal aren't as dominant as they once were, but they're all still consistently going deep in Majors and competing for titles. The same is true on the women's side. Serena hasn't had a great year and neither has Azarenka, but Sharapova and Li Na are still up to the task. Even so, it's worth noting how young most of the remaining players are. Five of the eight semifinalists were born in the '90s. Petra Kvitova and Milos Raonic were both born in 1990 while Simona Halep and Grigor Dimitrov were both born the next year. Genie Bouchard, the youngest of the bunch, was born in 1994.