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No Wimbledon repeat for Murray

  • Andy Murray of Britain wipes his face during the men's singles quarterfinal match against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

    Andy Murray of Britain wipes his face during the men's singles quarterfinal match against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

  • Defending champion Andy Murray of Britain waves as he leaves centre court after being defeated by Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, left, in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo)

    Defending champion Andy Murray of Britain waves as he leaves centre court after being defeated by Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, left, in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo)

  • Andy Murray of Britain reacts as a serve by against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria goes past him during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Andy Murray of Britain reacts as a serve by against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria goes past him during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

  • Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates after defeating defending champion Andy Murray of Britain in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates after defeating defending champion Andy Murray of Britain in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

  • Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, right, shakes hands with defending champion Andy Murray of Britain after defeating him in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, right, shakes hands with defending champion Andy Murray of Britain after defeating him in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

  • Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates defeating defending champion Andy Murray of Britain in the men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

    Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates defeating defending champion Andy Murray of Britain in the men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

  • Britain's Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge watch from the Royal Box on centre court the men's singles quarterfinal match between Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Andy Murray of Britain at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

    Britain's Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge watch from the Royal Box on centre court the men's singles quarterfinal match between Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Andy Murray of Britain at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

  • Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after winning a game against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after winning a game against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

  • Roger Federer of Switzerland reaches for the ball to play a return to Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

    Roger Federer of Switzerland reaches for the ball to play a return to Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

  • Roger Federer of Switzerland, right, shakes hands with Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland after defeating him in the men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

    Roger Federer of Switzerland, right, shakes hands with Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland after defeating him in the men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)

  • Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a return  during the men's singles quarterfinal match against Marin Cilic of Croatia at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

    Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a return during the men's singles quarterfinal match against Marin Cilic of Croatia at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

  • Marin Cilic of Croatia celebrates winning a game against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

    Marin Cilic of Croatia celebrates winning a game against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

  • Milos Raonic of Canada puts his arms aloft as he celebrates defeating Nick Kyrgios of Australia in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

    Milos Raonic of Canada puts his arms aloft as he celebrates defeating Nick Kyrgios of Australia in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

  • Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts after losing a point during the men's singles quarterfinal match against Milos Raonic of Canada at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

    Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts after losing a point during the men's singles quarterfinal match against Milos Raonic of Canada at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

  • Simona Halep of Romania plays a return to Sabine Lisicki of Germany during their women's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Simona Halep of Romania plays a return to Sabine Lisicki of Germany during their women's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

  • Eugenie Bouchard of Canada celebrates winning a point against Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

    Eugenie Bouchard of Canada celebrates winning a point against Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

  • Andy Murray of Britain reacts as a serve by against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria goes past him during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Andy Murray of Britain reacts as a serve by against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria goes past him during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

  • Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates after defeating defending champion Andy Murray of Britain in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates after defeating defending champion Andy Murray of Britain in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

  • Andy Murray of Britain wipes his face during the men's singles quarterfinal match against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)
  • Defending champion Andy Murray of Britain waves as he leaves centre court after being defeated by Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, left, in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo)
  • Andy Murray of Britain reacts as a serve by against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria goes past him during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
  • Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates after defeating defending champion Andy Murray of Britain in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
  • Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, right, shakes hands with defending champion Andy Murray of Britain after defeating him in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
  • Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates defeating defending champion Andy Murray of Britain in the men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)
  • Britain's Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge watch from the Royal Box on centre court the men's singles quarterfinal match between Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Andy Murray of Britain at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)
  • Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after winning a game against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
  • Roger Federer of Switzerland reaches for the ball to play a return to Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)
  • Roger Federer of Switzerland, right, shakes hands with Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland after defeating him in the men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Toby Melville, Pool)
  • Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a return  during the men's singles quarterfinal match against Marin Cilic of Croatia at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
  • Marin Cilic of Croatia celebrates winning a game against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
  • Milos Raonic of Canada puts his arms aloft as he celebrates defeating Nick Kyrgios of Australia in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
  • Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts after losing a point during the men's singles quarterfinal match against Milos Raonic of Canada at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
  • Simona Halep of Romania plays a return to Sabine Lisicki of Germany during their women's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
  • Eugenie Bouchard of Canada celebrates winning a point against Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
  • Andy Murray of Britain reacts as a serve by against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria goes past him during their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
  • Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates after defeating defending champion Andy Murray of Britain in their men's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

LONDON – The silence at Centre Court made abundantly clear that Andy Murray’s time as Wimbledon champion was coming to a close.

Out of sorts from the start of his quarterfinal against up-and-coming Grigor Dimitrov yesterday, Murray – who in 2013 ended Britain’s 77-year wait for one of its own to win the men’s title at the All England Club – sailed an awkward backhand slice long to fall behind by a set and a break.

The crowd of nearly 15,000, usually so vociferous in support of Murray, sat quietly, perhaps not prepared to believe what was happening. All along, Murray’s body language was as negative as his play: He gnawed on his knuckle after seeing an ace zip past; slapped his forehead with his palm after one forehand found the net; bowed his head and slumped his shoulders after another did the same.

When one last forehand fell short, the magical ride ended for Murray and his fans with a 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2 loss to the 11th-seeded Dimitrov, who became the first man from Bulgaria to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.

“I have very good memories from that court out there. It’s a special court for me,” said Murray, who lost the 2012 Wimbledon final there, won that year’s London Olympics gold medal there, then won his historic title 12 months ago there. “I mean, you can have bad days as an athlete. You don’t win all of the time. Sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and move on.”

He hadn’t lost a set in his first four matches, but made 37 unforced errors yesterday, more than twice as many as Dimitrov.

“Even when I wanted to get into longer rallies, I was missing shots,” the third-seeded Murray said. “I was unable to make him work as hard as I needed to.”

Dimitrov was composed throughout, getting broken only once and showing off the all-court game and smooth, one-handed backhand that long ago earned him the nickname “Baby Fed” – as in seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer.

Tomorrow, Dimitrov takes on another past champ, top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who returned to the semifinals for the fifth consecutive year by coming back to beat No. 26 Marin Cilic of Croatia, 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2.

“Novak really played terrific the last two sets,” said three-time Wimbledon winner Boris Becker, who’s coaching Djokovic. “That was the first real test for him.”

Djokovic was troubled by Cilic, to be sure, but also by repeated slips that prompted the Serb to change his shoes midway through the match. Playing on No. 1 Court, Djokovic also was rattled by intermittent cheering from outside the arena for Murray, whose match was played simultaneously across the way.

“I said to the chair umpire: ‘Let’s just stop (our) match, put (theirs) live on the big screen, and let’s watch it ‘til they’re done,’ ” recounted Djokovic, last year’s runner-up to Murray.

On the other half of the draw, Federer will face No. 8 Milos Raonic, the first Canadian man in a Grand Slam semifinal since 1923.

Federer was broken for the first time in the tournament, and dropped a set for the first time, too, but defeated Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4, in a matchup between a pair of pals from Switzerland.

In 2013, Federer lost in the second round at the All England Club.

“Last year was rough. I was very disappointed,” the 32-year-old Federer said. “Went back to the practice courts. Didn’t have any options left at that point.”

Raonic outserved Nick Kyrgios – the 19-year-old Australian who eliminated Rafael Nadal in the fourth round – in a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) win with the help of 39 aces.

In the women’s quarterfinals, No. 3 Simona Halep beat 2013 runner-up Sabine Lisicki, 6-4, 6-0, and now faces No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard, who got past No. 9 Angelique Kerber, 6-3, 6-4. Today’s other semifinal is 2011 champion Petra Kvitova against No. 23 Lucie Safarova. Kvitova is the only woman left who has won a major title.

“It’s a normal evolution of things,” the 20-year-old Bouchard said. “As the great champions get a bit older, the new ones start coming in.”

Dimitrov and Raonic, both 23, would like to see that among the men.

It’s the ninth year in a row that at least two members of tennis’s so-called “Big 4” – Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Murray – made the semifinals at Wimbledon. That quartet has earned the last 11 trophies.

“The younger guys, we want to come on that stage. We strive for this. I think we’re thirsty for that,” Dimitrov said. “We want to prove ourselves.”

Related

Wimbledon at a glance

Thursday, July 17, 2014

LONDON – A look at Wimbledon yesterday: Weather: Sunny. High of 73 degrees Men’s Quarterfinals: No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat No. 26 Marin Cilic, 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2; No. 4 Roger Federer beat No. 5 Stan Wawrinka, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4; No. 8 Milos Raonic beat Nick Kyrgios, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4); No. 11 Grigor …

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