7/4/13 8:09 PM | Ricky Dimon
Andy Murray is one step away from a return trip to the Wimbledon final. Standing in his way on Friday is surprise semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz.
Andy Murray and Jerzy Janowicz will be squaring off for the third time in their careers when they collide in the Wimbledon semifinals on Friday afternoon.
The head-to-head series stands at one win apiece and they have never faced each other on grass. Murray cruised 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in a 2009 Davis Cup playoff tie at home in Great Britain before a much different Janowicz took last year's Paris Masters by storm and pulled off a 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-2 third-round upset on his way to the title match.
Janowicz had mostly struggled since that breakout, but he is clearly heating up at just the right time. The All-England Club's No. 24 seed booked his place in the last four by taking out Kyle Edmund, Radek Stepanek, Nicolas Almagro, Jurgen Melzer, and fellow Pole Lukasz Kubot. He is now 20-12 for the season after dropping only two sets (both to Melzer) in his first five matches.
"I have to be focused on my game," Janowicz assured. "It will be a really cool match; a really nice atmosphere. For sure the crowd will not really help me, but we'll see how it's going to be. This is my first (major) semifinal ever, so I don't know what to expect."
Murray, on the other hand, is no stranger to this stage of Grand Slam events. The 2012 U.S. Open champion finished runner-up to Roger Federer last summer at Wimbledon. He is back in the final following scalps of Benjamin Becker, Yen-Hsun Lu, Tommy Robredo, Mikhail Youzhny, and Fernando Verdasco. Like Janowicz, Murray won four of his matches in straights and the other in five (he came back from 2-0 down against Verdasco on Wednesday). Murray, a champion in Brisbane, Miami, and at Queen's Club, is 32-5 for his 2013 campaign.
"He has a big serve," the world No. 2 said of his opponent. "He's a big guy with a lot of power. He also has pretty good touch. He likes to hit dropshots. He doesn't just whack every single shot as hard as he can. It will be a very tough match. He's played extremely well here, I think. He had a tough match in the last round against Melzer, but apart from that he's been pretty convincing."
Convincing could be what Murray is on Saturday if Janowicz struggles to handle the enormity of the situation. Janowicz cannot afford nine double-faults like he had against Kubot and he may have to come at least somewhat close to matching his number of 30 aces, because rallies are generally not going to end well for the underdog.
Murray would have to improve considerably in order to win this in straight sets, but it should not take more than four.
Find the latest tennis odds at Unibet.com
|1. Djokovic||12 500 pts|
|2. Murray||8 750 pts|
|3. Federer||8 670 pts|
|4. Ferrer||6 970 pts|
|5. Nadal||6 385 pts|
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