New kids on the block ready for Wimbledon semis

Thu Jul 3, 2014 9:18am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Young upstarts Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov have caused quite a stir at Wimbledon over the last two weeks with a string of fine performances but the pair know they must rise to the challenges that await them in the men's semi-finals on Friday.

With defending champion Andy Murray booted out of the tournament by Dimitrov and Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios dismantling two-time winner Rafael Nadal, only Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic remain from the so-called Big Four in men's tennis.

The emergence of the young guns has been the topic of conversation at the All England Club and an expectant Center Court crowd will wait with baited breath to see how Raonic and Dimitrov compete against two of the game's most accomplished performers in Federer and Djokovic.

Eighth seed Raonic, who became the first Canadian to reach Wimbledon's last four since 1908, comes up against seven-time champion Federer, while Bulgarian Dimitrov meets 2011 winner Djokovic for a place in the final.

Raonic has not beaten Federer in four attempts but the 23-year-old, who regularly thunders 135mph serves past his opponents, is confident he can unsettle the silky Swiss with his brutal shot making.

"I've got in close with him in the past and I've found a lot of things that give me belief that I can do this," said Raonic who beat Kyrgios in Wednesday's quarter-final.

"I'm playing a guy that is standing in my way of what I want to achieve, and I've got to focus on everything that's there, on the situation, how best to deal with it to give myself the best possibilities to achieve what I want.

"But there's no point to talk about it. I've got to step up and do it."

After winning his fourth career title and his first on grass at the prestigious Queen's Club event in London earlier this month, 11th-seed Dimitrov has continued his fine form on the Wimbledon grass courts.   Continued...

 
Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria reacts during his men's singles quarter-final tennis match against Andy Murray of Britain at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 2, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett