Murray will try again against Rafa on Friday!

Wimbledon 2011: Rafael Nadal sets up Andy Murray clash with victory over Mardy Fish

With third seed Roger Federer exiting to Jo Wilfried-Tsonga, the winner of this year’s championships at SW19 could well come from either Murray or Nadal – who contested a semi-final here last summer. If Nadal brings the same game he displayed in the first two sets this afternoon, Murray will have one hell of a fight on his hands to make his first Wimbledon final, although the Scot will present a much harder challenge than Fish, who disappointed at times today. The first seed broke Fish three times in the opening set and showed no signs of a recurrence of his foot injury to put in some punishing forehands and move 2-0 up. Fish upped his game to take the third but a clinical break at the start of the fourth was enough for Nadal to take the match 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-4 and reach a remarkable 16th major semi-final at the age of 25.

Murray treated an excitable Centre Court crowd to a first-class performance as he overcame the Spanish No 44 in straight sets, barely faltering as he galloped his way towards his third Wimbledon, with semi-final to join Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Rafael Nadal. The Brit, seeded fourth at SW19, owned the game from the outset, holding his nerve despite valiant efforts from the Spaniard to turn the tables. A brilliant return on a 131mph serve from Lopez won Murray his first break point, closely followed by a powerful forehand that hit the baseline and left Lopez not knowing where to look. One set down, Murray was on a roll. Lopez held his serve to win the first game of the second set, but the Scot soon bounced back, edging closer to another break with a series of perfectly-judged returns and a backhand that sent left-hander Lopez running in the wrong direction. As the light faded and the crowds swarmed to Centre Court, Murray seemed buoyed by the cheers of support – and the inevitable “C’mon Jamie” – and cruised his way through to win the second set with exactly two hours on the clock. By the third set, Murray lost his focus temporarily, giving away a few points with reckless net shots that gave Lopez his first opportunity of the match. An apparent hip injury left him hobbling towards 2-2 – and the first deuce on Murray’s serve – but the Brit wasn’t ready to give up easily, scoring a stylish ace that had the crowds on their feet.

A late challenge to an incorrect baseline call gave Murray the advantage, and Lopez struggled to hold on as the Brit bounced and aced his way across the court. There were no hot dog shots, but a cheeky chip over the net showed the Spaniard who was in control – and as the match drew to a close, an on-form Murray could do no wrong. Seconds later, it was over, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Murray raised his arm in salute, throwing his wristband to the cheering crowds as a delighted Pippa Middleton and mum Judy looked on. The Brit will face world No 1, and reigning Wimbledon champion, Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals on Friday.




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