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Wimbledon: Richard Gasquet is ready for Djokovic after epic Wawrinka clash

By Nick Purewal

Richard Gasquet is relishing taking on Novak Djokovic after dumping French Open champion Stan Wawrinka out of Wimbledon in a gruelling five-set quarter-final.

Gasquet forced a thrilling match into five sets, only to slip up when serving for the match - but the undeterred 21st seed recovered his poise to move past his 30-year-old Swiss opponent.

Gasquet booked his first Wimbledon semi-final since 2007 with a 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-4 11-9 win in a vintage battle that gripped the Court One crowd.

France's world number 20 admitted he had to come through several big tests of nerve to book just the third grand slam semi-final of his career.

The 29-year-old from Beziers will now take on top seed Djokovic in tomorrow's last-four match-up, conceding the defending champion.

"I really wanted to win; it's a quarter-final and a big match against Stan," said Gasquet.

"I kept fighting and I'm really pleased to do it. I was very aggressive, and of course it's a great battle, and to win, it's wonderful.

"It was tough for me that last set, but it was great to come through. I will try to do the same again against Novak. He will be the favourite of the match, everyone knows that.

"He's the best player in the world, and I will try my best."

Djokovic continued his quest to retain his Wimbledon title with a commanding straight-sets victory over Marin Cilic.

Tournament favourite Djokovic dismissed ninth seed Cilic 6-4 6-4 6-4, saying: "Tactically I played very well."

He added: "It was a very solid performance after a tough five-set match against Kevin (Anderson) in the fourth round.

"I didn't know how my body was going to feel. I was hoping I was going to play well and that's what I did.

"The top players are expected to reach the final stages of these competitions, but still I'm happy to make my way through. Of course I try not to take it for granted."

Meanwhile, Djokovic said he has apologised to a ball girl he shouted at in a "moment of battle" on court.

The number one seed exploded with anger during his tense fourth-round tie and seemed to shout "towel" in the girl's direction.

A spectator claimed the youngster was left "trembling" following the incident on Tuesday but Djokovic insisted today she was "completely OK".

The 28-year-old world number one said: "Look, I talked with the girl. She said she didn't mind.

"I apologised if there is anything I did.

"I didn't direct anything to her. It was in a moment of battle. I turned around and screamed. I'm sorry she was there in that moment.

"She's completely OK."

Djokovic said he was once a ball boy and he respected their work on court. They're all teenagers, kids," he said.

"They're overwhelmed by the importance of the tournament, how big the stage is.

"To be able to share the court with tennis idols, many of them are tennis players, they dream to be actually in the same court but with a racquet in the hand."

Djokovic filmed a video apology in April after he was hit with a code violation at the Miami Open for shouting at a ball boy.

He claimed then that the ball boy had been caught in the crossfire and that he was letting off steam towards his coaching team after losing a set to Andy Murray.

Incidentally Gasquet's victory over Wawrinka stopped the top four seeds from reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time in 20 years. Beating Djokovic would be an even bigger shock.

Belfast Telegraph


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