Defending champion Novak Djokovic and six-time winner Roger Federer face a titanic Wimbledon semi-final showdown after the two title contenders wasted little time on their last eight matches on Wednesday.
While third seed Federer pummelled Russian 26th seed Mikhail Youzhny into submission in a 90-minute 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 masterclass on Centre Court, Djokovic also took the express route against German 31st seed Florian Mayer, recording an emphatic 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 victory on Court One.
Now Djokovic will attempt to reach his second successive Wimbledon final by extending his current winning streak against Federer to four matches in their first ever encounter at the All England Club.
The world number one has proved a thorn in Federer’s side of late, beating him in the semi-finals of the US and French Opens, although the Swiss great holds 14-12 edge over their 26 career meetings.
“It’s always a pleasure playing against Roger. I’m looking forward to it,” Djokovic said.
“He is a great champion and has been so dominant and consistent at the Grand Slams. He is the ultimate challenge on grass courts.”
While Djokovic has every reason to feel confident, Federer, who has now reached a record 32 Grand Slam semi-finals, looked in peak form as he delivered a royal command performance in front of Prince William and wife Catherine.
“I played great. Maybe my game matches up well against Mikhail,” said Federer, who last won Wimbledon in 2009.
“It helps when royalty and other stars come to watch; it’s inspiring and a thrill and helps tennis.”
|The other men’s semi-final will see Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, above, take on home crowd favourite Andy Murray [EPA]|
Federer, who is without a Grand Slam title since the 2010 Australian Open, cruised to a 14th win in 14 meetings against Youzhny and, just as importantly for the 30-year-old, there were no signs of the back pain which had dogged him in the fourth round against Xavier Malisse.
Federer, chasing Pete Sampras’s record of seven Wimbledon titles, also put an end to a worrying sequence at the All England Club where he had been knocked out in the quarter-finals in the last two years.
World number four Andy Murray survived a gruelling examination from Spain’s David Ferrer to reach the semi-finals for the fourth successive year with a 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory.
He will face French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who reached the semi-finals for the second successive year with a 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 win over German 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Tsonga knocked out Federer in the 2011 quarter-finals after being two sets to love down before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the last four.
“I am happy to win and to get a second chance at a semi-final,” Tsonga said.
“Philipp played very well. He served well and was the better player from the baseline. It was tough out there.”