Djokovic, Murray face giant challenges

Updated 05 July 2013
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Djokovic, Murray face giant challenges

LONDON: Wimbledon 2013 will be remembered as a tournament of shocks but unless giants Juan Martin del Potro and Jerzy Janowicz can chop Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray down to size, Sunday’s men’s final will be a showdown between the world’s top two players.
In a sport that plays on the psychologically vulnerable and demands supreme levels of physical endurance, the consistency of Djokovic and Murray in reaching the business end of grand slams is nothing short of remarkable.
When Djokovic takes to Center Court to play Argentine Del Potro, it will be his 13th successive semifinal at a major, while Murray’s match-up against Janowicz will be his fifth consecutive appearance in the last four at Wimbledon.
Should they both win, it will be the third time in the last four grand slams that they have met in the final.
Their rivalry has usurped that of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal as the biggest draw in the sport and with the Swiss maestro and the Spanish matador having been dumped out early, two different faces will contest today’s semis.
Del Potro, a grand slam winner at the US Open in 2009, is hardly an unknown, but Janowicz has emerged from obscurity and will enter the world’s top 20 next week.
Both players are imposing figures on court. Poland’s Janowicz stands at 6-foot-8 and Del Potro is a mere two inches shorter.
Both have booming serves and heavy duty forehands and both are distant outsiders to cause an upset — bookies have Djokovic a 1-6 favorite to beat Del Potro and Murray is 1-5 to end Janowicz’s surprise run.
Del Potro will do well just to make it on court. After a nasty tumble in his third-round match, when he collided with a chair, he has played with heavy strapping around his knee.
His quarter-final against David Ferrer looked like it was going to be over after just five points when the Argentine eighth seed slipped, over-extended the wounded knee and needed a medical timeout.
The emphatic way he came out hitting, however, pummelling forehands past one of the sport’s best defensive players, showed that although his movement might be restricted, he remains a major threat as long as the ball is within range.
“I’m not going to put my body at risk,” he said. “The doctors tell me with this tape and taking some anti-inflammatories you can play.
“If they say something different, I will think.”
He will need to be 100 percent to have a chance against Djokovic.
The only former champion in the last four has a 8-3 winning record against Del Potro, is one of the game’s very best returners and will keep him working his wounded limb from start to finish.
Some comfort for Del Potro is that he won their last meeting at the Indian Wells Masters in March as well as the bronze medal match on the Wimbledon lawns at last year’s Olympics.
Murray, looking to shed the millstone of becoming the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the Wimbledon title, faces a similar threat.
Janowicz, a qualifier last year who has rocketed up the rankings and beat compatriot Lukasz Kubot in straight sets in the last eight with the help of 30 sizzling aces.
He is Poland’s first male grand slam semi-finalist and, at 22, is the youngest man to reach the last four at Wimbledon since Murray in 2009.

“I hope Andy will feel some kind of pressure,” he said. “I’m sure he will feel some kind of pressure because Great Britain is waiting for the champion of Wimbledon.”
The pair have played each other twice with US Open champion Murray winning one and Janowicz the most recent encounter at the Paris Masters in November.

“It will be a very tough match,” Murray said. “He has a big serve. He’s a big guy with a lot of power. He also has pretty good touch. He likes to hit dropshots and doesn’t just whack every single shot as hard as he can.”


Sublime Mohamed Salah leads Liverpool to stunning 5-2 win over Roma

Updated 25 April 2018
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Sublime Mohamed Salah leads Liverpool to stunning 5-2 win over Roma

  • Liverpool move onto 38 goals for this season’s competition — 11 more than any other team
  • Salah is now on 43 goals for the season in all competitions

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah put his former side Roma to the sword on Tuesday night with a scintillating performance as the Reds ran riot at Anfield, taking a commading 5-2 lead into next week’s second leg in Rome.
The Italian side had no answer to the Egyptian superstar’s sublime skill as he scored two world-class goals and set up another two for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Firmino added the fifth as the Merseyside club romped into a 5-0 lead to put the English side within touching distance of the Champions League final.
Salah’s display was as exquisite as Roma’s defending was naive, with Liverpool scoring all of their goals in a breathtaking 33-minute spell either side of halftime amid a cauldron of noise at Anfield.
But two consolation goals in the final nine minutes from Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti has given Roma hope of recreating their heroics from the previous leg against Barcelona.
In the latest virtuoso performance of his stunning first season at Liverpool, Salah curled a shot into the top corner in the 36th minute and doubled the lead in the 45th with a dinked finish that is fast becoming his trademark. He is now on 43 goals for the season in all competitions with potentially five games left.
The Egypt forward was not finished there, taking advantage of Roma’s high defensive line to provide crosses for Mane and Firmino to score almost identical goals in the 56th and 61st minutes, respectively.
Firmino glanced home a header from James Millner’s corner in the 69th to leave Roma’s players on the floor — literally in the case of their distressed goalkeeper, Alisson.
Liverpool moved onto 38 goals for this season’s competition — 11 more than any other team — but cannot begin preparing for the final in Kiev on May 26 quite yet.
Dzeko chested down a long pass to make it 5-1 in the 81st and when Milner handled a shot from Radja Nainggolan, Perotti converted the penalty in the 89th.
Bayern Munich play Real Madrid in the other semifinal, with the first leg in Germany on Wednesday.
Roma knows all about Salah, who scored 15 goals and set up 11 more in the second of his two seasons at the Italian club before joining Liverpool for 42 million euros (then $47 million) in June.
He’s obliterating those figures at Anfield this season. His double saw him surge past Cristiano Ronaldo’s 42 goals for Manchester United in the 2007-08 season, for example.
Salah won English soccer’s Player of the Year award on Sunday. At this rate, the Ballon D’Or could be his next year.