Andy Murray carried the hopes of British tennis fans a little deeper into the Wimbledon men’s singles bracket today, beating Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 in a quarterfinal on Centre Court.
The Scotsman, cheered on inside the stadium and outside by an enormous crowd watching the match on a giant screen, will play Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz in one semifinal; Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 seed, will play Juan Martin del Potro in the other.
Murray opened the fifth set sleepily and, at one point, dug his fingers into his eyes, perhaps in an effort to perk up as the match crossed the three-hour mark, but gutted out the victory.
“I don’t know if it was the most emotional match I’ve played in,” Murray said in a BBC interview, “but toward the end it was an unbelievable atmosphere. It was great to get through that one and try to rest up for the semis.”
Murray, the No. 2 seed, lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final last year, then won gold in the London Olympics and the U.S. Open. He’s won 24 of his last 26 matches at Wimbledon and, now, he’ll try again to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936.