Wimbledon witnessed the shock of the 2021 Championships this evening when eight-time champion Roger Federer was beaten in straight sets by Hubert Hurkacz, a player maybe only ardent tennis fans can honestly say they have ever heard of.
But the world number 18 – the only Polish player in the top 100 in the men’s rankings – played like he owned Centre Court and demolished the Swiss – in the eyes of many the greatest player ever to pick up a racket, the debate on this surface at least is unquestionable.
Federer had 105 wins at Wimbledon before this and was aiming for his 13th final at the All England Club.
But if he wasn’t known before, Hubert Hurkacz certainly is now – and he is now just one step from the Wimbledon final.
Hurkacz took a relatively straightforward first set, but Federer forced him to a tie-break in the second.
And at 2-3 Federer had a simple overhead to make it three points all, slipping on the centre line and completely miss-hitting the smash.
From there on Hurkacz was in total command. He held his service points to take the set and rushed through the final set 6-0 in quick time – the Centre Court crowd rising at the start of Federer’s final service game in an apparent thank-you for 22 years of imperious entertainment.
It was the first set the great champion had ever lost 6-0 here – and the first time he has lost in straight sets anywhere for 19 years.
In his first ever Grand Slam semi-final Hurcasz will play Italian Matteo Berrettini, who beat Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3.
On the other side of the draw world number one Novak Djokovic sailed through – beating Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Djokovic, going for his third straight title at the All England Club, and his sixth in all, will face Canada’s Denis Shapovalov who, in the match of the day lasting just short of three-and-a-half hours, beat Karen Khachanov 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.
And speaking after his victory he said he was expecting a tough semi-final on Friday.
He said: “(Shapovalov) has been consistent with success on the tour in the last couple of years, top 20, top 15 in the world, although people did expect him to probably go to top 10 or maybe top five and be one of the leaders of the next generation, which he is.
“Maybe big matches, he was not winning those in the last couple of years. It seems like he’s maturing, which is also something that is normal, it’s logical.
“You would expect that from a player like him that has really an all-around game. Huge serve, lefty, which is always tricky to play someone who is left-handed on the quick surfaces.
“He’s comfortable coming in to net. I think his movement has improved. Due to better movement, he’s probably making less errors, which was probably the part of his game that was always troubling him.”
Pictured top: Hubert Hurkacz celebrates victory against Roger Federer in the quarter-final today (Picture: PA)
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