The All England Club has featured a truly wild Wimbledon in 2013, but on the men's side of the tournament, the top two seeds—Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, respectively—remain entering the semifinals.
Djokovic will take on eighth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro, while Great Britain's best hope for a native Grand Slam title winner in Murray battles No. 24 seed upstart Jerzy Janowicz.
As for the women, Agnieszka Radwanska is the highest seed remaining at No. 4, but she'll have to negotiate Sabine Lisicki. The powerful German may be the 23rd seed, but she emphatically took down defending champion Serena Williams with a three-set triumph in the fourth round.
France's Marion Bartoli is looking to match her 2007 career run in London as a Wimbledon finalist, and she is seeded five spots ahead of her semifinal opponent, Kirsten Flipkens.
Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times did a great job summarizing the zaniness that has occurred in SW19 in the year's third Grand Slam event:
Last year Jerzy Janowicz was qualifier at #Wimbledon and Kirsten Flipkens couldn't even get into qualifying. Now both are in the semifinals.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 3, 2013
Let's take a look at when these matches are scheduled to get underway and predict winners for each semifinal showdown.
Thursday, July 4: Women's Semifinals
|Breakfast at Wimbledon||7 a.m. - 8 a.m.||ESPN|
|Women's Semifinals||8 a.m. - 1 p.m.||ESPN|
*Marion Bartoli vs. Kirsten Flipkens will be live streamed on ESPN3, as will ESPN's television coverage. For complete live stream information, visit Watch ESPN.
Friday, July 5: Men's Semifinals
|Breakfast at Wimbledon||7 a.m. - 8 a.m.||ESPN|
|Men's Semifinals ||8 a.m. - 2 p.m. ||ESPN|
Matches and Predictions
Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Juan Martin del Potro (8)
The Serbinator has not dropped a single set, solidifying his status as the No. 1 seed and player in the world.
Djokovic's worst ratio of winners and unforced errors was 40-to-20 in his opening match against Florian Mayer, and he's been shockingly proficient throughout the tournament.
However, he did have moderate difficulties in the second set of his most recent encounter with power player Tomas Berdych, as ESPN Stats & Info highlights:
Novak Djokovic was broken in 1st 2 service games of 2nd set by Tomas Berdych; in 1st 4 rounds, he was broken 2 times in 57 service games— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 3, 2013
It wasn't enough to cause Djokovic to lose a set, though. The momentum Djoker had generated off an opening-set tiebreaker win could have easily been thwarted, but he wound up breaking back and won the final two sets with little further stress, 6-4 and 6-3.
However, Del Potro packs plenty of punch and hasn't dropped a set at Wimbledon himself, which serves him well on the fastest surface in tennis.
The extremely fit David Ferrer couldn't help being aced by Del Potro 12 times in the quarterfinals, and the Argentine also smashed 42 winners to just 11 unforced errors.
Last August, Djokovic was defeated by Del Potro at this venue in the bronze-medal match of the Summer Olympics. Considering their high levels of play right now, this has all the makings of an epic match.
Look for Djokovic's finesse and slightly superior ability to push him to the final in four sets, though.
Prediction: Djokovic wins—6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-3
Agnieszka Radwanska (4) vs. Sabine Lisicki (23)
This could be the tightest match of the semifinals. It's impossible to dismiss how well Radwanska has held her own as so many other marquee stars have fallen.
Each of her last three matches have gone the distance, and this one figures to do the same. Being pushed that hard will help Radwanska in her bid to grind out a trip to the final.
However, Lisicki is on a roll, and after defeating the top-ranked Williams in the round of 16, she dismantled Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3.
Radwanska spoke to the press about her familiarity with Lisicki from their matches back in the junior days, per Wimbledon's official Twitter:
The German can smash it just as hard as Williams can, though, and that will give Radwanska serious problems. Even though there's a massive gap in the seeding, I like Lisicki to pull the upset.
Prediction: Lisicki wins—7-5, 2-6, 6-4
Andy Murray (2) vs. Jerzy Janowicz (24)
It was noted during ESPN's telecast on Wednesday that Janowicz climbed 195 spots in the ATP rankings to No. 26 this past year, and he's continued that meteoric rise with this spectacular run in London.
ESPN Tennis noted two key aspects about these players that make this matchup so special:
Beyond Murray's bid as the nation's great hope, he's shown incredible resilience and has evolved and raised his game even in the midst of playing alongside all-time greats as contemporaries. It's paying off, and he's just one step away from returning to the finals at Wimbledon.
Needless to say, this is uncharted territory for both Janowicz and Polish tennis overall, and he could care less about playing spoiler to Murray as Verdasco nearly did on Wednesday.
Murray won't be denied, though. His opponent, Janowicz, has only played one seed higher than his 24th position—the beneficiary of the plethora of upsets this year at Wimbledon.
Credit Janowicz for capitalizing and making history for his nation, but Murray will take care of business after the Verdasco test to set up the finals showdown tennis fans everywhere are hoping for.
Prediction: Murray wins—6-1, 7-5, 7-5
Marion Bartoli (15) vs. Kirsten Flipkens (20)
Which higher seed is likeliest to fall in the semifinals?
There won't be quite as much fanfare around this matchup, but it's an intriguing one nevertheless.
As Rothenberg mentioned before, Flipkens could not even manage to get into qualifying last year but is now the 20th seed and has taken advantage of every opportunity.
No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova was heavily favored in the quarterfinals against Flipkens, but the underdog was simply brilliant in the first of her matches that went the full three sets. She hit just five unforced errors compared to 23 winners.
It was an impressive bounce-back performance after losing the first set, and Flipkens hit 11 winners to just a single error in the deciding third set.
Bartoli was a Wimbledon finalist roughly half a decade ago, and despite not being the most overpowering player, she has been remarkably steady, having not dropped a set thus far.
The past experience Bartoli can draw on is invaluable, but it appears Flipkens is an unstoppable force who has struck the requisite balance between power and finesse to deserve a spot in the Wimbledon final.
Prediction: Flipkens wins—7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-2