WIMBLEDON, England — After curling in a 102 mph ace to grab a two-set lead a mere 56 minutes into his Wimbledon quarterfinal Wednesday, Roger Federer casually pulled an extra tennis ball from his pocket and strolled to sit in his changeover chair for a sip to drink.
No fist pump. No yell of excitement. No energized jog to the sideline.
There still was work to be done; nothing to be taken for granted. Motivated by the bitter memory of quarterfinal losses at the All England Club the past two years, including a wasted two-set edge in 2011, six-time Wimbledon champion Federer bullied 26th-seeded Mikhail Youzhny, of Russia, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to reach his record 32nd career Grand Slam semifinal.
“Feels great being back in the semis. ... Haven’t been here in the last couple years,” the third-seeded Federer said. “So this is nice, to be back to a place where I’ve been so many times before.”
He’s two wins away from a seventh Wimbledon championship, which would equal a mark set by William Renshaw in the 1880s – when the defending champion received a bye directly into the final – and tied by Pete Sampras in 2000.
Nothing worked for Youzhny, including a kidding plea for help from eight-time major champion Andre Agassi, who was seated next to his wife, Steffi Graf, in the front row of the Royal Box, near Prince William and his wife, Kate.
“I know I’m playing really well,” Federer said. “I am aware things are going to get complicated in the next match.”
That’s because he’ll face a familiar foe Friday: No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, who didn’t have too much trouble while beating No. 31 Florian Mayer, of Germany, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
The other men’s semifinal will be No. 4 Andy Murray, of Britain, against No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France.
Neither has won a Grand Slam title or been to a Wimbledon final.
Murray is trying to become the first British man to earn the trophy at the All England Club since Fred Perry in 1936; the last to even make it to the title match was Bunny Austin in 1938.
He was one point from facing a two-set deficit before coming back to eliminate No. 7 David Ferrer, of Spain, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (4) to get to the semifinals for the fourth year in a row.
Murray lost at that stage to Andy Roddick in 2009, then to Rafael Nadal in 2010 and 2011.