LONDON: Novak Djokovic booked a Wimbledon semi-final showdown with Roger Federer as the defending champion crushed Germany’s Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in the last-eight.
Djokovic recovered from a slow start to give a masterclass in the art of brutal baseline hitting and Mayer, the 31st seed, lacked the weapons to respond. Djokovic’s solitary defeat in his last 33 Grand Slam matches came against Rafael Nadal in last month’s French Open final. Federer, meanwhile, crushed Mikhail Youzhny 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to reach a record 32nd Grand Slam semi-final.
And with Nadal back home in Mallorca after his shock exit, Djokovic, who has beaten six-time Wimbledon champion Federer in their last three meetings including the semi-finals of the US and French Opens, must fancy his chances of extending his Grand Slam dominance to four titles from the last five majors.
“It took me a little bit of time to get used to the conditions,” said Djokovic. “It could have gone a different way but I held my nerve and I’m satisfied with my performance. It’s always a pleasure playing against Roger. I’m looking forward to it. He is a great champion and has been so dominant and consistent at Grand Slams. He is the ultimate challenge on grass courts.”
Mayer admitted he had been completely out-classed by Djokovic after the first set.
“He played unbelievable, especially in the second set. He showed why he’s the best player in the world right now. He left me no chance,” said Mayer.
Serena says she has nothing to lose
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, Serena Williams insists she has nothing to lose as the four-time champion bids to secure her seventh appearance in the final with a victory over second-seed Victoria Azarenka today.
Serena booked her place in the last-four by ending Petra Kvitova’s reign as champion with a 6-3, 7-5 victory, while Azarenka moved into her second successive Wimbledon semi-final by defeating unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
“She’s playing unbelievable and already having a Grand Slam under her belt is really great,” said Serena. “She did it in such style, so it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be another match where I have absolutely nothing to lose. I can just go out there and enjoy myself.”
Meanwhile, Azarenka was looking forward to the duel.
“It’s a great feeling but I still want to go all the way,” said Azarenka. “There’s no better opponent than Serena, I’m really looking forward to it. It’s not going to be easy but it’s the semi-final of a Grand Slam - what else do you expect?”
The other semi-final between eighth-seed Angelique Kerber and world number three Agnieszka Radwanska will produce a first-time Wimbledon finalist.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2012.