Another day at the All England Club, another crushing defeat for a perceived favorite coming into the 2014 Wimbledon Championships.
This time, it was the defending champion and crowd favorite Andy Murray who was knocked off in blowout fashion by emerging star Grigor Dimitrov. The No. 11 seed dismantled the Briton in straight sets to advance to advance to his first semifinal in a Grand Slam.
Outside of the surprising upset, Simona Halep's quiet run to a second consecutive semifinal in a major continued. Roger Federer also dropped his first set of the tournament before defeating Stanislas Wawrinka in four sets.
Though Novak Djokovic had to fight much harder than he likely anticipated against Marin Cilic, the No. 1 seed won in five sets to continue on. With the Day 9 slate now officially in the books, here's a look at the full results and a recap of some of the biggest matches.
|No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov def. No. 3 Andy Murray||6-1, 7-6(4), 6-2|
|No. 4 Roger Federer def. No. 5 Stanislas Wawrinka||3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4|
|No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 26 Marin Cilic||6-1, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-2|
|No. 8 Milos Raonic def. Nick Kyrgios||6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4)|
|No. 3 Simona Halep def. No. 19 Sabine Lisiki||6-4, 6-0|
|No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard def. No. 9 Angelique Kerber||6-3, 6-4|
Andy Murray Bows Out in Straight Sets to Grigor Dimitrov
Just a year after making history for his country at Wimbledon, Murray ended his hopes at defending the title in disappointing fashion.
The upset was crushing for Murray, but also left the tennis world buzzing about the potential for Dimitrov moving forward. One of the most notable reactions to the match came from a royal couple, as Bleacher Report UK notes:
How will Dimitrov finish at Wimbledon?
The 2013 winner spoke about his performance against Dimitrov, per Harvey Araton of The New York Times.
“My start of the match was poor, and that gave him confidence,” Murray said. “When I got back into the second set, that was my opportunity. The momentum was switching — I couldn’t do it. ... He was the better player from start to finish.”
It has been a shocking tournament to say the least, but Murray's was the most upsetting for the home crowd. Murray spoke about his poor showing against Dimitrov following the match:
On the other side of Murray stood Dimitrov, who was clearly overjoyed after finally living up to expectations at a major tournament. The 23-year-old won the Junior Wimbledon and U.S. Open back in 2008, but has never made it past the quarterfinals as a professional—reaching his first during the 2014 Australian Open.
Now, he's just one victory away from reaching his first finals match in a Grand Slam. All that stands in his way is a matchup with Djokovic. One analyst looking ahead to a potential final is Rajdeep Sardesai of IBN 18, who shared his thoughts one what he'd like to see:
Federer vs Dimitrov! Wouldn't that be a real classic final! Old order vs new? Gnight, shubhratri.— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) July 2, 2014
Djokovic is the No. 1 seed at the tournament and has a Wimbledon title already in his illustrious career. Dimitrov does have a win over the Djoker from last year's Madrid Masters, but the two players have never matched up on a grass surface.
Regardless of how the rest of the tournament shakes out for Dimitrov, he will come away with a statement win over Murray. But with his eyes set on winning his first major tournament, he'll have to get through another member of the Big Four to do so.
Simona Halep Cruises Through to Semifinals
A huge run through the 2014 French Open came to a crushing end as Halep lost to Sharapova and was unable to clinch her first Grand Slam. With both Sharapova and Williams now out at Wimbledon, though, Halep has remained one of the most consistent players at the All England Club.
Halep reached the quarterfinals at the Aussie Open, finals at the French Open and after defeating Sabine Lisicki is now through to her second straight major semifinal. Though the final stat line makes it appear Halep never struggled in the straight-sets win, Wimbledon points out how she rebounded from a slow start:
Clearly the rebound was too much for Lisicki as she was never able to recover and fell short of making her second consecutive final at Wimbledon. Halep spoke about the start of the match and how she staged a comeback, per Matt Trollope of Wimbledon.com:
I was a little bit lost on court. But in the beginning only. Then I wanted just to keep more rallies, point by point. I did really well. I came back very well. Then I found my way to play and my style. I stayed very aggressive, very close to the baseline, and I did my game. I opened the court very well and (used) the angles, as well.
Given her recent run at Grand Slams, nothing seems too big for Halep anymore. After rising in the rankings at the Aussie Open, the Romanian is continuing to show she's one of the best players in the world.
As for her hopes heading into the semifinals against Canadian player Eugenie Bouchard, Halep made it very clear what she hopes to do:
"I feel more prepared than at the French Open. My dream is to win a Grand Slam. But it's not easy" - Simona Halep pic.twitter.com/bgObmZc31q— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 2, 2014
Bouchard comes into the semifinals against Halep after a huge win of her own over No. 9 Angelique Kerber. The 20-year-old is also playing in her third straight semis in a major with hopes of finally reaching a Grand Slam final.
Both young players have shown flashes that hint at greatness, but will have to get past one another to reach the final at Wimbledon.
Final Members of Big Four Struggle, Rally to Advance
And then there were two.
Coming into the tournament, no player outside of the famed Big Four had won at Wimbledon in the last 11 competitions. Lleyton Hewitt was the last to accomplish the feat back in 2002, with either Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray taking the title every year since.
After both Nadal and Murray went down in consecutive days, it was up to Federer and Djokovic to uphold the record for the elite group. BBC Sport notes the clutch victory for the Djoker over Cilic on Wednesday:
As for Federer, he would go down one set against fellow Swiss player Wawrinka before bouncing back and winning the next three. He had to use every trick in the bag against the No. 5 player, but cruised through the final two sets in the victory.
Wimbledon provides a look at the embrace between the two players following the win for Fed:
WATCH: A warm embrace at the net between the Swiss friends after Federer defeats Wawrinka for a spot in the SF. http://t.co/FH7NZjqaFO— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 2, 2014
Both members of the Big Four have a tough task ahead of them as the young guard continued their run.
Federer will face off with Milos Raonic, who showed off his crushing serve against Kyrgios and pulled off a similar victory to Federer's in the quarters. Winning in four sets, Raonic has an impressive game and will be a challenge for even the experienced Swiss player.
On Djokovic's side stands the young gun who knocked off Murray on Wednesday. Dimitrov is eyeing his first finals appearance in a major and Djokovic believes he's one of the best in the tournament:
Djokovic on SF opponent Dimitrov: "It's a big win for Grigor, he's on fire. He hasn't lost on grass this year. He's the player to beat"— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 2, 2014
It will be a great challenge for both elite players against the two up-and-comers, but might end up being more proof of the dominance from the group.
With two members of the Big Four already taking a tumble, both Raonic and Dimitrov will look to make history in the semifinals.
Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.