Big guns eye spots in Wimbledon semi-finals

CLARE FALLON
Last updated 15:35 04/07/2012
Wimbledon 2012 final
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Roger Federer kisses the Wimbledon trophy for the seventh time after beating Andy Murray in the men's final in London.
Novak Djokovic
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MAN TO BEAT: Novak Djokovic will face Florian Mayer in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

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A year to the day after becoming world No 1, Novak Djokovic hopes to award himself the anniversary present of a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

Djokovic is two steps away from defending his Wimbledon title in Sunday's final. First, he must beat Florian Mayer, one of two German men left in the competition, in Wednesday's quarter-finals.

Mayer knows he will be the underdog against the Serbian but he has a game plan: ''I can play everything; I can serve and volley, I can play dropshots, I can play with slice; I can play fast,'' he said.

''So I will try to irritate him a little bit. You never know in tennis. Everything is possible.''

The winner is likely to face six-times champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals, if the Swiss third seed's winning streak against Russian Mikhail Youzhny continues uninterrupted.

Federer has beaten Youzhny 13 times in as many meetings, including five wins on grass.

''I played many times against him; I never beat this guy,'' Youzhny said.

''It's good for me that I have one more chance against a great player, one of the best players in the world.''

The worry for Federer might be the continuing damp, chilly English weather which will not be good news for his bad back after he twice needed treatment during his fourth-round win over Xavier Malisse.

While Djokovic and Federer both enjoyed a day off after getting through their fourth round matches under the shelter of the Centre Court roof, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Philip Kohlschreiber endured rain delays and Tuesday play on the outside courts.

Murray, who will be back on court on Wednesday to play Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer, shrugged off the disadvantage.

''The more rest you can get the better, but it's part of playing grand slam tennis,'' said the Scot, who is hoping to become the first British man since 1936 to win Wimbledon.

Ferrer, a first-time quarter-finalist here, was hoping the pressure of being home favourite might get to Murray.

''He has more pressure than me because he plays at home with his people,'' the Spaniard said. ''Sometimes it is not easy but I think Andy is a very great player.''

Fifth seed Tsonga, who lost to Djokovic in the last four a year ago, plays German Kohlschreiber, another quarter-final debutant here.  

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- Fairfax Media

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