With the shakeups at the All England Club coming faster than you can shake a stick at, Wimbledon's finally in focus. The first week was going to tell us what to expect, but now we can see the forest through the trees.
Of course, simply saying that we have things figured out at Wimbledon likely means that something insane will happen to throw off the balance of power in tennis. For instance, who could have predicted Serena Williams losing in the third round to Alize Cornet after cruising in the first two games?
Day 9 at the All England Club brings more of the stars and hopefully compelling matches, at least on the men's side because Roger Federer looks like the best player on the planet again after cruising to a three-set win over Tommy Robredo in the fourth round on Monday.
|2014 Wimbledon Day 9 TV & Live Stream Schedule|
|Time (ET)||Matchup||Network||Live Stream|
|8 a.m.||Gentlemen's Quarterfinals||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|8 a.m.||Gentlemen's Quarterfinals||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
Storylines to Watch
Novak Djokovic Peaking at the Right Time
Djokovic hasn't reached the point where we should start talking about a slump, but he hasn't won a Grand Slam event since the 2013 Australian Open. He's been in contention at all the big events since, playing at least into the quarterfinals, including this Wimbledon.
However, Djoker started sluggish at the All England Club with a four-set win over Radek Stepanek in the second round. That could have been the start of a slide for the No. 1 seed, but he has instead been rolling with back-to-back three-set wins against Gilles Simon and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Marin Cilic will oppose Djokovic in the quarterfinals. These two met once earlier this year at the BNP Paribas Open with Djoker winning in three sets.
Djokvoic is the top seed at this event, but no one would suggest he's been the best player so far with Roger Federer finding his form in grand fashion on grass. This matchup with Cilic certainly favors the 2011 Wimbledon champion. Now he has to take care of business.
Who Is The Ladies' Favorite With Maria Sharapova Out?
When Serena lost in the third round, all eyes immediately turned to Maria Sharapova. The 2014 French Open champion was playing as well as she ever had through four rounds, albeit against inferior competition, and looked poised to capture a second Wimbledon title.
Instead, No. 9 seed Angelique Kerber threw a monkey wrench into that plan with an impressive three-set win against Sharapova in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. It's possible we overrated the 27-year-old in this event, as Sports Illustrated's Tennis Twitter account pointed out:
If you are looking for a new favorite, the obvious candidate is Kerber. She took out Sharapova in the fourth round and has had her best success in Grand Slams at Wimbledon, reaching the semifinals in 2012.
It's also hard to ignore what No. 3 Simona Halep has been doing thus far, dropping just one set through five rounds. The 22-year-old has been building to a big moment this year with a quarterfinals appearance at the Australian Open and runner-up finish at the French Open and, after defeating Sabine Lisicki Wednesday, is on to the semifinals.
Is Andy Murray Flying Under The Radar?
Despite being Great Britain's top star at Wimbledon, Andy Murray doesn't seem to be getting the attention of Djokovic, Federer and Rafael Nadal because he doesn't have the story to go with it.
The No. 3 seed ended England's Wimbledon drought last year and doesn't have to deal with questions about age like Federer, grass failings like Nadal or talk of a "slump" like Djokovic. Yet when you look at the performances, Murray has been as good as anyone through four rounds. The 27-year-old hasn't dropped a set and defeated ranked opponents in the last two rounds.
Murray's competition will get better now with No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov waiting, but the 2013 Wimbledon champion isn't taking this moment for granted. He told Harvey Araton of The New York Times the Bulgarian is much more effective on the court now than ever before: "He’s a more mature player now. I mean, watching him play, his strokes and stuff, technically he hasn’t made many changes to his game. But he’s playing higher percentage tennis, making better decisions. That adds up to winning many more matches."
We can spend hours talking about what the other players in the Top Five are doing, but we should give Murray the credit he deserves. Of course, winning cures all, so if he takes care of business then the accolades will come.
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