Roddick to Play Murray in Semifinals; Federer to Play Haas
July 1, 2009 -- Novak Djokovic was nervous. Andy Murray was in a hurry. Andy Roddick hung in the match. Federer broke Karlovic.
Ivo Karlovic came into his quarterfinal match against Roger Federer with 137 aces for the tournament. That's a little over 34 games won with a stroke of his racquet. However, Roger Federer broke the six-foot-ten Croat twice. Once in the first set; and once in the second.
"In the first two [sets], he was playing unbelievable," Karlovic said. "He did not almost give me any chance. In the third, he was a little… he went a little bit down and I started playing better. I had my opportunity in that one game when I could have broke him. But, I missed easy volley, and that was it."
Miss a shot against Federer and the Fat Lady sings. That's sums up their match at 63 75 76 (3). And how did Federer break Ivo in the second game of the match?
"He returned unbelievable shots, and I could not really react on it," Karlovic said.
Mr. Federer did much more than bump the ball back off Karlovic's serves. Roger took the ball extremely early and hit winners several times. Karlovic returned well and stayed in rallies, but with each stroke he got farther and farther behind when Federer took the ball early. With Federer wanting to shorten points, Karlovic's game, which had turned defensive on those points, collapsed.
"I did everything right. I don't know what else I could do. He was just better today," Karlovic said.
Mr. Federer won 94% of points on his first serve -- 50 out of 53 points. He hit 39 winners and committed 7 unforced errors. Mr. Karlovic served 23 aces in three sets. To survive a barrage of first serves like those, which averaged 128 mph roughly, is sometimes too much to comprehend.
"He's maybe like the best player ever," Karlovic began. "But on the grass he's, you know, by far the best I think."
This was Mr. Karlovic's best Wimbledon result. In 2004 he advanced to the fourth round. For the next four years, he lost in the first round. Confidence is coming his way.
This will be Roger Federer's 21st consecutive semifinal in a Grand Slam, when he steps on court Friday to play Tommy Haas.
Tommy Haas has much to be happy and grateful about. His bad luck stories from prior Wimbledon's -- there have been 10 -- have certainly made this quarterfinal victory over #4 seed Novak Djokovic a sweet one. Haas has never advanced farther than the quarterfinals, which was in 2007. He might have gone deeper in several draws, but when your parents have a severe motorcycle accident, or you need shoulder surgery or an ankle repaired, and these incidents fall at the end of June, beginning of July, then after a while you begin to think your jinxed.
"I always felt like, you know, on the grass maybe something is still there for me left," Haas said. "It started in Halle. No matter what was going to happen here, I felt like, hey, I'm just going to go and play, and see if I can continue on playing the way I did in Halle."
Haas defeated Djokovic in Halle at the Gerry Weber Open the week prior to Wimbledon. It was his first tour victory on grass.
Haas served well against Djokovic. And he shortened points by serving and volleying. However, the Serb was nervous during the match and returned poorly, in his own estimation.
In the first set at 5-games all Tommy broke, then served the set out to 7/5. In the second set when Haas served for it, he played a poor game. In the tiebreak, he went down a break and Djokovic served for the set. But Haas persevered and recaptured three points. He won the tiebreak 8/6 with a spectacular backhand volley. Djokovic came alive in the third set, but again couldn't pressure Haas's serve in the fourth. He lost his serve at 4/3, giving the German the chance to serve for the match. The door closed at 75 76 (6) 46 63.
Tommy Haas has good company when it comes to tennis players hailing from Germany. Boris Becker was the youngest Wimbledon champion at 17 years of age. He went on to win the title two more times. Steffi Graf won the women's singles title seven times. And there was Michael Stich, another Wimbledon champion. Will Haas fill those shoes?
"We are very blessed in Germany having three of those players. So it is very hard for all of us to maybe try to get in their footsteps," Haas said. "But, I don't think you really want to get in their footsteps. You want to try to maybe accomplish some of the stuff they have, but it's not an easy task."
Andy Murray had no problems today, defeating wildcard Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets 75 63 62. The Scot broke when he had to, and picked up his game when he had to. The court today played quickly with temperatures in the high 80s. That gave Murray's serve an extra pop and accounted for more aces and unreturnable serves.
"The first set I served very well, but made quite a lot of mistakes from the back," Andy began. "I thought the second and third sets were very good. [He] hit the ball pretty short."
Andy Murray will play Andy Roddick in the other semifinal. Murray is 6 and 2 against the American. But after today's tough match against Lleyton Hewitt, Roddick will certainly gear up and be ready to take on Murray if he recovers completely.
"I think it's going to be a tough one for Roddick to win," Hewitt began. "When I've seen Andy Murray at his best, I think he matches up extremely well against Roddick. A couple of years ago I saw them play here, and Murray took care of him convincingly. And Murray's a lot better player now than he was then."
Roddick's patience was tested today in his win over Hewitt 63 67 (10) 76 (1) 46 64. And, patience is a fine quality to carry into his match against Murray because the American will be thwarted on more than one occasion. To move forward, one point at a time, and to keep his big serve grooved, will be the keys for Andy Roddick on Friday.
Earlier Columns from this Event:
June 30, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Oh Those Bad Bounces
June 29, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: The Wise and Experienced - Roof or No Roof
June 28, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Sunday... A Day of Rest
June 27, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Qualifier Oudin Ousts J. J., Lisicki Downs Kuznetsova
June 26, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: As The Draw Turns
June 25, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Hewitt Takes Charge as Murray Rolls
June 24, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Young and Old Compete at Wimbledon
June 23, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Sunny Wimbledon
June 22, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Wimbledon... The Perfect Grand Slam