Gasquet crashes top three party, meets Djokovic in semifinals


Serena Williams returns against Russia’s Maria Sharapova during their women’s semifinal match at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

Serena crushes Sharapova for final date with Muguruza 

When Wimbledon started last week, Richard Gasquet of France would probably not have been on anyone’s mind as a semifinalist. But in what has been touted as one of the toughest matches so far, he battled far into the night and over five sets with Stanislaus Wawrinka, eventually taking the deciding set 13-11 after four hours.

It was a shocking defeat and Gasquet ‘ruined’ what would have been a rare meeting between the top four seeds of the ATP Tour. In a battle of the one handed backhands, both players seemed not to be able to get the better of the other as they traded breaks and tried to hold on to serves. However, Gasquet broke for 5-3 but got broken trying to serve for the set and then the battle began.

Each player held serve till 12-11 when Wawrinka was serving to stay in the match. Too costly double faults from his racquet saw him staring at a 15-40 deficit.

Gasquet clinched the win and dumped the 2015 French Open champion from the tournament. By virtue of his win, he set up a mouth watering clash with top seed and defending champion, Novak Djokovic today. Djokovic hardly broke a sweat as he eliminated the defending US Open champion, Marin Cilic, in straight sets, winning 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 under two hours.

The Serb has now extended his head to head to 13-0 against the Croat. He is one player Cilic would surely hate to see at any tournament, as he never seems to be able to triumph over him.

Garbine Muguruza stunned the 2012 Wimbledon runner up, Agnieszka Radwanska in their semifinal match yesterday, winning in three sets to reach a grand slam final for the first time in her career. The 21 year old from Spain was aggressive from the onset and even though she dropped the third set, she stormed back in the decider, winning 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Overwhelmed by her feat, she fell to the grass to shed tears of joy.

Next on her agenda is ‘the ultimate test,’ which is Serena Williams in the final. Williams and Maria Sharapova renewed their lopsided rivalry in a battle for a spot in the finals yesterday afternoon.

The last time Sharapova beat Serena was at the WTA Finals in 2004. Since then, she lost every single match against the American. Yesterday was no different as Serena crushed Sharapova into submission again, winning 6-2 6-4. Serena was broken serving for the match but she fought right back to win the match and squash any hope for a Sharapova comeback.

Serena now leads their rivalry 18-2. The women finals would be played tomorrow afternoon and history is definitely on the line for both women. For Serena, it would be a chance to complete her ‘Serena Slam’, add to her grand slam tally and become the oldest woman to win a grand slam as well as taking her to the ultimate goal of tying Steffi Graf’s record of 22 slams.

For Muguruza, it would be her very first grand slam title and the biggest win of her career. She defeated Serena in the French Open last year in the second round and their meeting promises to be very interesting.

Today, Andy Murray and Roger Federer would battle for a spot in the finals, while Novak Djokovic and Richard Gasquet will duel for the second spot. Just as it is with the women, history is on the line for every single player. Djokovic is trying to defend his title and take his Wimbledon slam wins to three- the same number as his coach, Boris Becker, and nine overall.

He would need to win to banish his Roland Garros and slam finals demons and also cement his name properly in the history books. Federer is looking to win another slam but would need to go through home favorite, Murray to achieve this. Murray is desperate to win another slam, especially in front of his home crowd. Today’s semi final lineup promises to be very interesting and analysts are at a loss to pick the final two.

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