Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal easily move to Wimbledon semifinals
Rafael Nadal might have been afraid he broke his foot during his Wimbledon fourth-round match, but the defending champion and No. 1 seed moved smoothly Wednesday in his quarterfinal match and beat 10th-seeded American Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
In Friday's semifinals, Nadal will play fourth-seeded Andy Murray. Murray, the great hope of Great Britain, beat unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Murray appeared to be wincing through much of the third set, at least between points, but whatever was hurting him didn't appear to slow Murray down.
Nadal, who is now 6-0 in his career against Fish, could only leave Fish smiling with some of his shots, especially a lunging forehand hit by Nadal that curved around the net post, past a flailing Fish. The ball landed resolutely in the corner in the eighth game of the final set and Fish could only tug on his baseball cap, shake his head and grin.
Earlier in the day, six-time champion and third-seeded Roger Federer was upset by 12th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and second-seeded Novak Djokovic outlasted 18-year-old Bernard Tomic to set up the other men's semifinal.
For Nadal it was his 19th straight match won at Wimbledon. Nadal served out the match over Fish, who was playing in his first-ever Wimbledon quarterfinal, without pressure. Fish hit a forehand error immediately. Nadal powered a forehand deep into the corner that Fish could only send harmlessly into the net; rallied until Fish sent a mishit forehand long; and then finished off the match with a serve-and-volley point. Almost the only unforced error committed by Nadal was when he tried to throw his headband into the crowd and it fell short.
Nadal retrieved the band, though, and hit the stands the second time.
"I think I started the first two sets playing very well," Nadal said. "He started to play better and I lost a little bit of intensity in the third set and a little bit in the fourth. After the first two sets I played a little bit defensive."
Nadal said his foot was no problem. "It was better," Nadal said. "The treatment worked. I'm fine, I am here." He also said he was surprised that Federer lost a two-set to none lead, and the match, to Tsonga.
"Roger was playing fantastic," Nadal said, "I feel sorry for him. I feel he deserved to be in that semifinal, being ahead 2-0. But Tsonga is always a danger in his match, his serve is always unbelievable. A few mistakes on your serve and you'll be out of the tournament."
-- Diane Pucin in Wimbledon, England
Photo: Rafael Nadal serves during his quaterfinal match against Mardy Fish on Wednesday. Credit: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images