LONDON: Grigor Dimitrov sent defending champion Andy Murray crashing out of Wimbledon on Thursday leaving Grand Slam warhorses Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in pole position to contest Sunday’s finals.
Dimitrov, the 11th seed from Bulgaria, claimed a 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 quarterfinals victory over third-seeded Murray on Center Court, just 24 hours after world number one and two-time champion Rafael Nadal had been knocked out by Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios.
Dimitrov, as well known for being Maria Sharapova’s boyfriend as he is for his achievements on the court, will next tackle top seed Djokovic, the 2011 champion, in Friday’s semifinals.
Djokovic defeated Croatia’s Marin Cilic for the 10th time in 10 meetings courtesy of a gruelling 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-2 triumph on Court One.
The 23-year-old Dimitrov will be playing in his first Grand Slam semifinals against Djokovic who will be appearing his 23rd and 16th in his last 17 majors.
Seven-time champion Federer reached his ninth All England Club semifinals with a 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka, his 14th win in 16 meetings against the Australian Open champion.
Federer will now play eighth-seeded Milos Raonic, the first Canadian man in the semifinals in 106 years, for a place in the finals.
Raonic ended world number 144 Kyrgios’s giant-killing act with a brutal 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) win.
Murray had hoped to become the first British man to successfully defend the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936 but the 27-year-old’s defeat snapped a 17-match winning streak at the All England Club.
“I’m very disappointed with the way I started. I felt that gave him confidence at the beginning,” said Murray, who hasn’t reached a finals since his 2013 Wimbledon triumph.
“He played a very solid match, making few mistakes and a lot of returns. I just wish I’d made it tougher for him. It wasn’t a great day.”
Dimitrov said he was pleased to get the job done in straight sets.
“I am excited and happy to win through in straight sets. It’s never easy against Andy in front of his home crowd but today I was fortunate,” Dimitrov said.
Meanwhile, rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard has vowed to make amends for her Grand Slam semifinals heartache by finally reaching her first major finals at Wimbledon. Bouchard, the 13th seed, will make her maiden last four appearance at the All England Club on Thursday (Friday in Manila) after cruising to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Germany’s Angelique Kerber in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.