Updated: Thursday, 03 July 2014 00:53 | By Agence France-Presse

Murray crashes as Dimitrov, Djokovic reach semi-finals

Defending champion Andy Murray joined Rafael Nadal at the Wimbledon exit door Wednesday when he was sent crashing by Grigor Dimitrov who stormed into a semi-final clash with top seed Novak Djokovic.


Murray crashes as Dimitrov, Djokovic reach semi-finals

Britain's Andy Murray screams during his men's quarter-final match against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov on day nine of the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in southwest London, on July 2, 2014. Dimitrov won 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 - by Andrew Cowie

Dimitrov, the 11th seed, clinched a sensational 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 victory on Centre Court just 24 hours after world number one and two-time champion Nadal had been knocked out in the fourth round by Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios.

The 23-year-old Bulgarian, the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova, will be playing in his first Grand Slam semi-final against Djokovic who will be appearing his 23rd and 16th in his last 17 majors.

Djokovic, the 2011 champion, defeated Croatia's Marin Cilic for the 10th time in 10 meetings, clinching a battling 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-2 triumph on Court One.

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 exit snapped his 17-match winning streak at the All England Club, a sequence which had brought him Olympic gold and a first Wimbledon title, and also ended his hopes of reaching a sixth consecutive semi-final at the grasscourt Grand Slam.

"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 final 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.

"I sensed in the warm up that his game was not at the highest level but I was already confident I could play at a high level and play good tennis.

"The first set I had good rhythm and held my ground in the tie-break which was crucial and the third set I had it under control."

- Dimitrov 'on fire' -

After years of struggling to live up to the vast potential that has earned him numerous comparisons with Roger Federer -- and the nickname 'Baby Fed' -- this was a thrilling performance from a man who finally secured his first win over a top-10 player at a Grand Slam at the fifth attempt.

The world number 13 was playing in his first All England Club quarter-final, but he is a former junior Wimbledon champion and had underlined his grasscourt pedigree by winning the Queen's Club title last month.

Victory also assured him of making the top 10 next week, the first Bulgarian man to achieve such lofty status.

Six-time major winner Djokovic went level with Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal by making the last-four at a major for the 23rd time.

"It was a tough five-setter. I knew that Marin would be aggressive. I took the first set and had chances to break in the second but didn't take them," said Djokovic.

"I dropped serve and the momentum shifted but in the last two sets I regained control, swung through the ball, had more stability on the ground and I was getting my returns back.

"Even though I allowed him back in, I am happy that I managed to find the right pace."

The world number two said he was expecting a tough encounter with Dimitrov despite having defeated him three times in four meetings.

"He's on fire at the moment. He's won titles this year including Queen's so hasn't lost on grass. It'll be a tough match."

Later Wednesday, seven-time champion Roger Federer takes a 13-2 lifetime record over Swiss compatriot and close friend Stan Wawrinka into his quarter-final where the fourth seed will be attempting to reach his 35th Grand Slam semi-final.

Wawrinka, the Ausutralian Open champion, is playing in his first Wimbledon quarter-final.

The winner will face either world number 144 Kyrgios or eighth seed Milos Raonic who is bidding to become the first Canadian man to make the semi-finals at a Grand Slam since William Johnston in 1923.

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