Wimbledon: Djokovic downs Cilic; Gasquet stuns Wawrinka
Defending champion Novak Djokovic routed Croatian ninth seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to cruise into his seventh Wimbledon semi-final, setting up a clash against French 21st seed Richard Gasquet, who stunned French Open champion Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 to return to the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time since 2007.Updated: Jul 09, 2015 01:08 IST
Defending champion Novak Djokovic routed Croatian ninth seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to cruise into his seventh Wimbledon semi-final, setting up a clash against French 21st seed Richard Gasquet, who stunned French Open champion Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 to return to the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time since 2007.
Djokovic, the world number one, took just one hour and 49 minutes to book his 27th Grand Slam semi-final appearance and his sixth in a row at The All England Club. The 28-year-old, who also won Wimbledon in 2011, will play Gasquet on Friday as he bids to reach a fourth All England Club final.
Djokovic, an eight-time Grand Slam champion, was in peak form in his quarter-final on Centre Court, hitting 27 winners, making just 12 unforced errors and offering not a single break point to US Open winner Cilic. "It was a very solid performance after a tough five-set match against Kevin (Anderson) in the fourth round," Djokovic said.
"I didn't know how my body was going to feel. I was hoping I was going to play well and that's what I did. Tactically I played very well.
"The top players are expected to reach the final stages of these competitions, but still I'm happy to make my way through. Of course I try not to take it for granted."
There were two other significant landmarks for Djokovic, who recorded his 650th tour-level match win and his 50th Wimbledon match win.
Djokovic brought an end to Cilic's Wimbledon challenge once again, 12 months after coming from two sets to one down to beat the Croatian in the quarter-finals. The Serb has now won all 13 of his encounters with Cilic.
Djokovic had been pushed to the limit by the big-serving Anderson in the last 16, coming from two sets down before finally prevailing in a five-set thriller played over two days due to bad light. But there were no signs of fatigue from the Serb as he broke in the third game and was rarely pushed out of his comfort zone in a routine first set.
Djokovic maintained his vice-like grip in the second set, landing the decisive break in the ninth game. Cilic had never been past the last eight at The All England Club and Djokovic took the third set to ensure his wait would go on.
Richard Gasquet of France falls to the ground after winning his men's singles quarter-final match of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, on July 8, 2015. (Reuters Photo)
Gasquet in second Wimbledon semi-final
It will be Gasquet's second appearance in the semi-finals on Friday. But he will have his work cut out to beat Djokovic, who has an 11-1 career record over the Frenchman.
Gasquet had a chance to wrap up the quarter-final in the ninth game of the decider when he was just two points from victory. But despite Wawrinka clawing his way back, the 29-year-old claimed victory on a third match point when, for once, the Swiss star's fabled single-handed backhand let him down.
It was tough on Wawrinka who fired 22 aces and 73 winners but was undone by 48 unforced errors.
"It was tough and I made some mistakes. He had big confidence after Paris and I had to fight. I really wanted to win. It's a great feeling as it's a big match," said Gasquet.
On tackling Djokovic, the Frenchman added: "It will be tough but I'm happy with how I've played today and I'll try to play my best again against the best player in the world."
Gasquet took the first set on the back of a break in the seventh game.
But Wawrinka, bidding to make the last four at Wimbledon for the first time at the 11th attempt, hit back in the 10th game of the second to level the tie. The 30-year-old Swiss swiftly moved two sets to one to the good courtesy of a break in the fourth game of the third.
But with victory in sight, a double fault on set point, his first of the tie, allowed Gasquet to send the quarter-final into the final set decider.