WORLD No2 Andy Murray must clear a 6ft 8in hurdle to reach his fourth consecutive grand slam final, but big-hitter Jerzy Janowicz hopes the pressure of playing in front of an expectant home crowd will see the Briton crumble in today’s semi-final.
Murray, who missed June’s French Open but triumphed at last year’s US Open and was runner-up in the most recent Wimbledon and Australian Open championships, won a thrilling five-set match against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday to reach the last four at SW19 for a fifth year in a row.
By contrast, reaching a grand slam semi-final is groundbreaking territory for his Polish opponent, who hopes Murray’s tag of overwhelming favourite will go against him.
“I’m sure he will feel some kind of pressure, because Great Britain is waiting for the English [sic] champion in Wimbledon,” said Janowicz, the No24 seed. “This is a really big thing for me, this is what I was waiting for, what I was dreaming about. Sometimes if you dream about something really hard it can actually happen.”
Janowicz, 22, is the youngest player left in the draw and the lowest ranked, though he is certain to move into the world’s top 20 on Monday.
The Pole beat Murray in their most recent contest at last year’s Paris Open and there is no doubt his main weapon will be his monster serve.
Janowicz has served 94 aces in the tournament so far – more than any other player – has been broken just four times in the 78 games he has served in this year’s championships and dished up a 140mph effort against compatriot Lukasz Kubot in their quarter-final.
Yet Murray insists Janowicz is more than just a one-trick pony.
“He doesn’t just whack every single shot as hard as he can,” said the Scot, who is hoping to become the first British male champion at Wimbledon since 1936. “He also has a pretty good touch. He likes to hit drop shots. It will be a very tough match.”
ORDER OF PLAY
Centre Court (1pm start)
Novak Djokovic v Juan Martin del Potro
Andy Murray (GBR) v Jerzy Janowicz