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Wimbledon: Andy Murray relishing chance to block Roger Federer's history bid

By Tom Allnutt

Andy Murray set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash with seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer after the Scot cruised past Canada's Vasek Pospisil in straight sets.

Murray had to overcome two rain interruptions on Centre Court but while Pospisil played above his lowly world ranking of 56, the Briton's victory was never in doubt as he came through 6-4 7-5 6-4.

Federer, who beat France's Gilles Simon in the last eight, is gunning for a record eighth Wimbledon title.

"I know Roger very well, we've played each other many times," Murray said.

"We get on well but obviously on Friday it's a different story and hopefully we can have a great match - we've had some good ones in the past."

Federer has won the pair's last three meetings, including an Australian Open quarter-final last year, but their most recent match-up on grass remains Murray's Olympic triumph in 2012.

That career-defining victory came a month after Murray's tear-jerking defeat to Federer in the Wimbledon final, but the Scot has become a two-time Grand Slam champion since then and arguably goes into tomorrow's match as favourite.

Federer will provide an altogether different challenge to Pospisil, but Murray's performance against the Canadian was assured.

"I felt like I played some good stuff," Murray said.

"He served very well for periods of the match and I tried to change my return position to make him think a bit and also for myself to try to see the returns better.

"That worked but it was difficult. We had to stop a couple of times and being under the roof is different again so I was pleased."

Watched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as former England football captain David Beckham, perhaps the greatest threat to Murray's progress was the weight of expectation that he would not only win, but win comfortably too.

Last week Murray threw his sweaty wristband in celebration towards the Duchess of Cornwall after his second round win.

But yesterday he decided not to repeat the stunt with William and Kate, instead choosing to throw his wrist bands and towels to spectators close to the umpire's chair.

Asked whether he was tempted to throw his wrist bands towards the Duke and Duchess, Murray replied: "I think I'll stick to throwing it in to the crowd for the rest of the event."

Murray said he had a "private conversation" with William and Kate after his victory in which they spoke "a little bit about the match".

Murray, meanwhile, hopes the British public continue to side with him rather than switch allegiance to 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer.

Murray has enjoyed passionate support throughout the tournament this year but the crowd may be less unified tomorrow, given Federer's wide appeal, as was the case in the 2012 Wimbledon final.

"I hope I get good support on Friday," Murray said.

"It's been the case throughout the whole event and every year that I have played here.

"Roger's extremely popular everywhere he goes, so it might not be as partisan a crowd or atmosphere as some matches that I have played here.

"But it will still be an excellent atmosphere. I'll still get a boost from the crowd, I'm sure."

Federer, who turns 34 next month, has enjoyed a renaissance under coach Stefan Edberg and Murray believes the World No 2 could be competing at the top level of the sport for another "three or four years" yet.

The Swiss has won seven Wimbledon titles and will climb above Pete Sampras to become the tournament's most successful men's player of all time if he adds another this year.

"It could be another three or four years at the rate he's going at just now," Murray said.

"But it depends on a lot of things, if he wants to continue or not.

"The reasons he's still at the top is that he has a pretty efficient game style and he's quite loose when out on the court.

"It's very impressive that he's managed to stay at the top of the game for so long, especially considering how long he's been at the top level and how many matches he's played.

"He's won over a thousand matches and played over 1,200 matches. That's a lot of tennis."

Belfast Telegraph


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