After the wildly unpredictable first four rounds, the quarterfinals played out more according to script. The day featured two great matches and two predictable ones, but they set up a great day of semifinal play on Friday. After the jump, we'll look a each of the matches and what they mean for Friday.
The Championships: Gentlemen's Singles Quarterfinals
Novak Djokovic def. Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-1, 6-4
For one set, this looked like this could be a close one. Serving at 4-4, Djokovic was down 0-40. and Mayer had an easy volley putaway. Instead of finishing the point, he allowed Djokovic to get back in the point, and Djokovic made him pay. Sure enough, Djokovic held and broke Mayer right away. After that, it was all academic for Djokovic, as he ran away with the match and Mayer never threatened him again. For Djokovic, this was a great warm-up for the semifinals. He didn't exert himself too much, and was the first one off court today.
Roger Federer def. Mikhail Youzhny 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
After two extremely tough matches, Roger Federer could not have had a better quarterfinal match. He broke Youzhny in the first service game of each set, and was never threatened at all. This was one of those matches that he needs more of as he gets older. This easy quarterfinal match sets him up nicely for his monumental showdown with Djokovic in the semifinals.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2
This match was second on Court 1, and even though it was in the shadow of Andy Murray's match against David Ferrer, it was a highly entertaining one. Both were big servers, so breaks would be at a premium. The first set was, in my opinion, the best played set, as both held serve throughout the set with big serves, big forehands, and surprising variety. Tsonga opened up a 6-1 lead in the tiebreak but then surrendered four points in a row, making the set more interesting, before closing him out. This gave the German confidence, and he was able to break Tsonga early in the second. Even though Tsonga eventually broke back, at 4-5, Tsonga dropped serve and the match was all even. The third set eventually went into a tiebreaker without anyone losing serve, and the tiebreaker was to prove decisive. Tsonga just came up more clutch than Kohlschreiber, and took the tiebreaker. Watching the match, it was clear that if Tsonga could get an early break the match would have effectively been over. Sure enough, he did, and ran away with it. Overall, it was a very winnable match for Tsonga, and if he had lost it, there would have been a lot of questions raised. But he won, and it sets him up nicely in the semifinal, not having to play Djokovic or Federer
Andy Murray def. David Ferrer 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (4)
This was about as close of match as you can get, and in my opinion, the best played match of the tournament. Not much separates these two players, and the scoreline bore that out. The better player also won today, as Murray was more consistent and was able to go on the offensive just a bit more than Ferrer. This match started out poorly for Murray, as Ferrer served for the first set. Murray was able to break him, but Ferrer barely beat him in the tiebreaker. The second set also went the same way, as Ferrer served for the set as well. If Ferrer could have held serve and won that set, it would have been almost impossible for him to come back from that big of a deficit. Unfortunately for Ferrer, he wasnt able to finish Murray off, got broken, and the resulting tiebreaker was as tense as tiebreaker as you'll see in the fortnight. Everyone was aware of the history involved, and everyone knew that a win in that breaker for Ferrer meant the end of the last British hope. Murray somehow pulled it off, and even went on to win the third set 6-4, with one break. The fourth set had a different feel to it. It almost seemed inevitable that it would go to a tiebreak. In that tiebreak, Murray got an early advantage, and didn't let up. He won it going away, 7-4, and when his final serve blew past Ferrer he threw his arms up with the near 15,000 watching in Centre Court. It was a great win for him, and now, instead of Nadal, he gets Tsonga, a much more winnable match for him. If he wins this tournament, he'll look back to that second set as the one that put him over the edge.