Wimbledon champions Roger Federer and Serena Williams booked their places in the Olympic singles semi-finals. Both were on course for further success at the All-England Club.
Williams takes on top women’s seed Victoria Azarenka in a repeat of her Wimbledon semi last month, while World number one Federer will face Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro for a place in the final.
The two other semi-finals will pit Russia’s Maria Kirilenko faces her team mate Maria Sharapova, and bronze medalist Novak Djokovic against number three seed Andy Murray.
Snatching victory in the second-set tiebreak with a cheeky shot which bounced off the top of the net, Federer secured his place in the last four with a 6-4 7-6 win over America’s John Isner.
Wilfried Tsonga was exhausted from playing in both the doubles and singles on Wednesday after clocking up the longest three-set match in Olympic history a day earlier. Second seed Djokovic dropped just one game in the first set of his quarter-final clash with Tsonga. Five-time grand slam winner Djokovic clawed it back to win 6-1 7-5, although the Frenchman took a 3-1 lead in the second.
Britain’s Murray eased to a 6-4 6-1 win over injury-troubled Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who received treatment on his right arm and shoulder after the first set. The match was watched by Prince William and his wife Kate.
Belarusian Azarenka booked her place in the final four with a 6-4 7-5 win over Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the women’s event. Russia can be sure of taking home at least one in London, with Sharapova and Kirilenko both through to the semi-finals. Russia made a clean sweep of the women’s singles medals in Beijing.
After number three seed Sharapova ended Kim Clijster’s hopes of an Olympic medal, the Russian pair will play each other for a spot in the final before Kim planned retirement later this year, beating the Belgian 6-2 7-5. Having been broken in the second set, a valiant Clijsters battled back to level the score but was broken again and, with the Russian serving for the match, the Belgian ploughed a backhand into the net to hand her opponent the victory.
In the men’s doubles, the United States has a shot at a medal after Israel’s Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram were defeated by top seeded brothers Bob and Mike Bryan secured their semi-final spot with a 7-6, 7-6 win. Erlich and Ram ousted defending gold medalists Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka.
The Semifinal odds are:
Roger Federer (8/15) vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (9/5); Andy Murray (13/8) vs. Novak Djokovic (7/12); Maria Sharapova (1/16) vs. Maria Kirilenko (12); Victoria Azarenka (7/2) vs. Serena Williams (2/7).