LONDON, JULY 1 -- -- There still is no reason to believe he is going to win a third Wimbledon singles title. Yet, 124 men are gone, four are left and the one everyone is rooting for is the oldest of them all, Jimmy Connors.

A victory by Connors, romantic as it would be, would make no sense. The other three men who reached the semifinals today -- Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg and Pat Cash -- are younger, stronger and at the top of their games.

But even if the 34-year-old does not win the tournament, this will be remembered as Jimmy Connors' Wimbledon. This evening, 24 hours after a comeback victory over Mikael Pernfors they will talk about long after Connors stops playing -- if he evers stops playing -- he faced an opponent of great power and strength, Slobodan Zivojinovic.

And the result? Connors blew Zivojinovic right off Court 1, beating him, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 6-3. Zivojinovic, who is 6 feet 5 and weighs 225 pounds, served 25 aces. No matter. Connors returned when he had to and was never in trouble on his serve. Zivojinovic had one break point in the match. He didn't convert it.

"I can't remember the last time I played three sets without losing my serve," Connors said. "I felt fine physically today. What I was worried about was being mentally tired. Last night, I had to turn off my phone because of all the calls. But I slept well, felt fine when I went out to practice and felt good on the court."

The other three winners today all were impressive. Lendl, playing what he called perhaps the best grass-court tennis of his life, beat the troublesome Henri Leconte, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). There was only one break in the entire match. Leconte played well overall, but erratically in the clutch. Lendl was up to every task Leconte laid before him.

Lendl now will meet Edberg, the man many, including Boris Becker, have picked to win the tournament. Edberg was sluggish for a set against doubles partner Anders Jarryd, but pulled himself together for a convincing, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 victory.

Connors' opponent will be Cash, who right now may be playing the best tennis of the group. Today, Cash made third-seeded Mats Wilander look and feel helpless, knocking him out of this tournament for the third time in four years, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

Connors beat Cash in the Queens Club tournament three weeks ago, but that was best-of-three and before Cash caught fire here. But it also was before Connors picked up his game.

"I think Connors can win," Zivojinovic said. "If he plays the way he did tonight, he can beat anybody. I was very surprised he could come back and play the way he did after the match the night before. He is 35 {on Sept. 2}, but he is out there fighting like he is 18."

As he came onto the court today, Connors was greeted like a warrior returning from a conquest, which was about right. In the locker room, players had continually come up to him, congratulating him on his Tuesday escape.

"Their reaction was respect and amazement," Connors said. "That was nice. Any player wants the respect of his peers."

Connors always has had that. Now, however, he has gone to a new level, not just with the players but with the fans. Even the English, who take to gentlemen more than to street fighters, have adopted him. After 16 Wimbledons -- 11 trips to the semifinals and 78 singles victories -- he has won them to his side. They almost willed him to victory against Pernfors and, tonight, they were with him from the start.

"That is a normal thing, I think," said Zivojinovic. "If I was in the stands, I would be for Jimmy, too. To me, he is the greatest player. He doesn't play for the money; he plays because he loves the tennis."

He loves it all. The tennis, the adulation, the battle. Zivojinovic was a heaven-sent opponent for him today. Another Pernfors -- a base-liner, a chaser -- might have been too much for Connors to handle. This was his third match in 48 hours and the first two were not easy.

But with Zivojinovic, Connors didn't have to do a lot of running. On some points, he just watched the ball blow past. On others, he put a return in play and, soon, the point was over.

Zivojinovic, 23, was born to play here. Last year, he was a semifinalist, losing, 6-4, in the fifth set to Lendl. Two years ago, he upset Wilander in the first round. On grass, he should own Connors. But he doesn't and he didn't.

The two men reached the first-set tie breaker without a break point. Connors led early, but netted a forehand to let Zivojinovic reach 4-4. But a rolling forehand by Connors and a forehand volley got him to set point at 6-4. But he missed a forehand and Zivojinovic served at 5-6.

If there was a crucial point in the match, the next one was it. Zivojinovic blasted a serve. It looked like an ace, but a let was called. Zivojinovic argued, to no avail. He served again. Connors, lunging, put a return at his feet and Zivojinovic had to scoop the volley. Connors smashed a backhand crosscourt and Zivojinovic just got his racket on it before it bounced away.

Set to Connors. The crowd was delighted.

From there, it was all Connors. He had set point at 5-4, but Zivojinovic saved it with a pretty angled volley. But at 6-5, Connors got the break with two forehands from deuce -- a forehand return down the line and a crosscourt pass after another good return that Zivojinovic had to almost dig a hole to get to.

He was up by two sets now and not about to be denied. In the third set, the break came at 4-3, Connors hitting one of his patented backhands down the line. All he had to do was serve it out. It wasn't easy, but he got it done. Zivojinovic saved three match points, but, on the fourth one, Connors attacked -- a surprise move -- and although his backhand volley wasn't a clean winner, it was solid enough that Zivojinovich could do nothing but net it.

Connors threw his arms into the air, gave the screaming crowd a couple of waves and headed for a well-deserved day off.

"I guess if you compare me to an old car, I'd be one of those that starts out slow, in first gear, kind of goes choo choo a little and kicks into second. It takes a while sometimes, but I get going."

@Jimmy Connors covers ground on Court 1 in match against Slobodan Zivojinovic