Nadal pain could be Murray gain

2011-06-28 09:59

London – Andy Murray’s campaign to end Britain’s 75-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s singles champion could be boosted today by Rafael Nadal’s knife-edge survival battle to overcome a crippling left-foot injury.

Murray, the fourth seed, sailed into the last eight with a straight sets win over Richard Gasquet and was safely back in his London home when scheduled semifinal opponent Nadal suffered a potentially tournament-ending blow.

Defending champion Nadal needed a lengthy medical time-out towards the end of the first set of his thrilling 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 triumph over Argentine 24th seed Juan Martin del Potro to have his left foot bandaged.

“I have to go to do an MRI. I cannot predict the future but I am worried for sure,” said the world number one Spaniard.

“I thought I had broken my foot. I didn’t know if I will have the chance to continue playing.”

Nadal is due to face American 10th seed Mardy Fish in the quarterfinals where he will be defending a 5-0 career record.

Fish, the only US player left in either the men’s or women’s singles, had never got beyond the third round before this year.

Nadal’s pain could be Murray’s gain when tomorrow’s quarterfinals swing round.

The fourth seeded Scot reached his fourth consecutive Wimbledon quarter-final with easily his best performance of the tournament and will next tackle unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who he has beaten four times in four meetings.

“Lopez beat Andy Roddick in the last round, straight sets. He serves very well, has a good slice backhand, plays different than a lot of the Spaniards. He likes coming forward a lot,” said Murray.

“I’m sure in the next match, a lot of people will be expecting me to win. But you need to go out there and I know it’s going to be very difficult. It’s the quarter-finals of a slam.”

Lopez, who will be appearing in his third Wimbledon quarter-final, reached the last eight the hard way, coming from two sets to love down to defeat Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot 3-6, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (9/7), 7-5, 7-5.

“What can I say about Andy? He’s a great player. He had an easy win, straight sets today, so he must be very confident,” said Lopez.

“But I love the grass. I think the conditions are good for my game.”

Second seed Novak Djokovic tackles 18-year-old qualifier Bernard Tomic in the last eight with the Australian player the youngest quarter-finalist since Boris Becker in 1986.

“He has great potential and believes he can win against the big players,” said Djokovic, who has lost just one of his last 48 matches.

Tomic, the world number 158, reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal by seeing off Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, a former semifinalist, 6-1, 7-5, 6-4.

Only Becker, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg have made the last eight at a younger age and Tomic is also the first qualifier to reach the last eight at Wimbledon since Vladimir Voltchkov in 2000.

“It’s an unbelievable achievement. I feel great. It’s a great honour to do it here in Wimbledon,” he said.

“I never thought I’d be here the second week, especially in the quarter-finals. What a feeling and what a tournament it’s been for me.”

Six-time champion Roger Federer dropped his first set of this year’s Wimbledon before clinching a 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Mikhail Youzhny yesterday.

The 16-time Grand Slam winner faces France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last eight and is seeded to face Djokovic in the semifinals.

Federer, playing in a record 29th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, has 4-1 record over Tsonga but appreciates the danger of the 12th-seeded Frenchman.

“He’s a great player. He’s proven it on numerous occasions. It’s going to be good tennis,” Federer said.

“He was the guy I kind of expected to come through in that section. It happened, so it’s going to be a tough match.

“I think he’s got the weapons to be a huge threat on grass and make a run here. It’s a tough draw, but I’m ready for it.”

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