The round-of-16 matches are now completed in Wimbledon and the quarter-finals are set. Andy Murray is the only top player who will face a fellow Top 10 (World no 5 David Ferrer). All the others are facing rivals outside of the top 20, even though they are all seeded.
David Ferrer completes the “Career Quarters Slam”, looking for “Career Semis Slam”
At face value, it’s obvious that Murray has the toughest task, especially since he will be facing a David Ferrer in more than incredible shape, who is playing the best tennis of his career on a surface that had not been that hospitable for him in the past.
In fact, Ferrer is playing so great that his 6-3 6-2 6-3 win over Juan Martín del Potro today, in the round-of-16, made him reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon for the first time of his career, at 30 years old. By doing so, the Spaniard has now reached the quarter-finals or better of all the Grand Slam tournaments.
Should he win tomorrow, Ferrer will have reached the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams. He never reached a Grand Slam final, but should he emerge the victor over the Scot, he would be my pick, whoever he would face in the semi-finals.
Yet some still call him a clay court specialist, something Andy Murray quickly corrected when questioned about it:
“Q. Even if Ferrer is a clay court specialist, how much do you think…
ANDY MURRAY: He’s a clay court specialist? No, he’s not. To me he’s not a clay court specialist. He won last week on grass, so he’s won, what, eight matches in a row on the grass. He’s been in the semifinals of Australia, I think semifinals 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.“
We cannot fault Murray for being right. After all, as Murray states correctly, Ferrer’s results are there to show that he is much more than a clay specialist.
Murray and Ferrer are 5-5 in their head-to-head, but have never faced on grass. Ferrer won their last two meetings, in the Roland Garros quarter-finals a few weeks ago and in the round robin of the World Tour Finals last season.
Mikhail Youzhny: seventh time’s a charm
Six times, he reached the round-of-16 (2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011), never to get further. The seventh time was a charm for Russian Mikhail Youzhny,who, a week after turning 30, finally reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Monday when he defeated Denis Istomin 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-7(5) 7-5.
Just like David Ferrer, this completed Youzhny’s “Career Quarters Slam”, as he has now reached the quarters or better of each of the four Grand Slams.
His reward: trying to make it 14th time a charm against Roger Federer, who leads their head-to-head 13-0. Their last meeting was two weeks ago, in the Halle semi-finals.
Despite the head-to-head, I don’t consider Youzhny vanquished. After all, we don’t know yet how Federer’s back is, or how it will react tomorrow.
Philipp Kohlschreiber: quarters, at last!
At 28, Philipp Kohlschreiber had never gone further than the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament, doing so three times at the Australian Open (2005, 2008, 2012) and once at Roland Garros (2009). Never having done so in Wimbledon is pretty surprising, as he has a better record on grass than on any other surface.
Considering his grass record (38-18 including today’s match), it was only fitting that his first career appearance in a Grand Slam quarter-final would happen at Wimbledon, no?
And Kohlschreiber did just that: in the round-of-16, he ended the dream run of qualifier Brian Baker, the most beautiful comeback story of the year, in straight sets, 6-1 7-6(4) 6-3.
How does that make him feel?
“Of course I’m very, very happy. It’s very tough to describe the real feelings. If I see the match, I’m very happy how I played. Also lucky now at the end with the weather that I could finish my match.
Yeah, it’s just an amazing feeling. I was very concentrate. I think after doing all the press I really get the second time good emotions. For sure I will celebrate.“
Hopefully he did not celebrate too much, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga awaits him and last year’s semi-finalist will not make him any present. Tsonga leads their head-to-head 5-1 and won their last four encounters. They never met on grass, however.
Will that be any different? I don’t know, but something tells me that if he doesn’t win, the German will at least battle very hard on this surface that suits his game so well.
Ferrer, Youzhny, Kohlschreiber. Three more proofs that veterans can still achieve great firsts.