British fans hope Andy Murray matches Konta’s Wimbledon success
The temperatures may have dropped in recent days, but cloudy skies and cool weather will do little to dampen the excitement of British tennis fans on Wednesday as the nation tunes in to watch Andy Murray take on big-serving American Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
The reigning champion, 30, plays No24 seed Querrey on Centre Court at 1pm, having beaten four unorthodox opponents on his way to the last eight. He will expect to be tested by the 29-year-old’s powerful serve after vanquishing Alexander Bublik, Dustin Brown, Fabio Fognini and Benoît Paire.
After his win over Paire on Monday the Scot insisted a sore hip that disrupted his build-up would not stand in his way.
“Like I said at the beginning of the tournament, I’ll be able to get through seven matches if that’s what I have to do,” he said. “Obviously I want to try to get to the final. I’ve done a good job so far here.”
Excitement is running high as fans hope that Murray can match the assured victory of Johanna Konta, who claimed a place in the singles semi-finals on Tuesday – the first British woman to do so for 39 years.
If Murray wins it will be the first time that Great Britain will have both a men’s and women’s semi-finalist since 1967.
Konta’s 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 win over Simona Halep of Romania showcased the best of the her talent, and saw her keep a cool head during the final point of the match when a spectator mistakenly shouted that a ball was out mid-point.
After her victory, Virginia Wade – who won the title in 1977 and reached the semi-final the following year – could be seen high-fiving fellow guests in the royal box. She immediately backed Konta to follow up her quarter-final victory with a win against her next opponent – the five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams.
“I think Jo should win that match,” said Wade. “I don’t think Venus will choke, so I think that Konta will have to win the match, but I think it’s absolutely on the cards.”
The pair have played twice this year with the spoils equally divided, but Konta holds a 3-2 advantage in career meetings between the two players.
Asked about her opponent, she said: “We’ve had a few battles in the past. She’s got the better of me the last time we played, so I’m really looking forward to playing her.
“I think what Venus and her sister [Serena] have given our sport is absolutely tremendous. The way they’ve elevated women’s tennis is truly inspiring. So I feel very excited and very humbled to be sharing the court with her again.”
After the game Marion Bartoli, the 2013 Wimbledon champion, praised Konta’s mental strength. “She has been able to stay inside her bubble,” Bartoli said. “She just plays so much within herself. The crowd are enthusiastic but she doesn’t want to have even more pressure from them.”
Konta said she had drawn strength from the home crowd, who played every shot with her. “To be in a semi-final in my home slam and to do that in front of a full Centre Court is pretty special,” she said.
“When you get a massive crowd of people cheering, making that sort of noise in a stadium, you do get goose bumps […] It makes it more special because it is home. I get that home support, which I don’t get anywhere else. In that sense, it makes it that much sweeter.”
The defeated Halep said she believed Konta could go right to the top. “I think she [Konta] can win [the semi-final],” she said. “She’s a very strong player. She’s playing well. She has the crowd, as well. I think she’s able to win on Thursday and the final.”
While Tuesday saw the roof put over Centre Court as rain disrupted play, Wednesday’s weather is forecast to be dry, overcast and cool, at about 21C.
Seven-time champion and No3 seed Roger Federer, 35, plays Milos Raonic, seeded No6, in the second match on Centre Court. The Swiss lost to the Canadian in last year’s semi-final. Meanwhile Serbia’s three-time champion Novak Djokovic plays Czech No11 seed Tomas Berdych on Court 1.
Croatia’s No7 seed Marin Cilic plays No16 seed Gilles Müller of Luxembourg, who beat world No2 Rafael Nadal in a shock round four defeat.