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Murray joins Djokovic in the semis

Murray faces Janowicz while Djokovic will face Del Porto in the Wimbledon semifinals.

World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Andy Murray's predicted stroll to the Wimbledon final became a hazardous obstacle course on Wednesday as he was forced to claw back a two-set deficit against Fernando Verdasco to join top seed Novak Djokovic in the last four.

The imperious Djokovic, the man Murray is expected to face in Sunday's final, swept past Czech Tomas Berdych 7-6(5) 6-4 6-3 to reach his 13th successive grand slam semi-final without dropping set.

Murray prevailed 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-4 7-5 to reach his fifth successive Wimbledon semifinal but will require soothing balm on his nerves before taking on the 140mph serve of Jerzy Janowicz, Poland's first male grand slam semifinalist, on Friday.

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro may need extra bandages for his battered left knee after a horrible tumble during fifth point of his quarterfinal against David Ferrer looked like dealing him a cruel knockout blow.

The 24-year-old climbed off the deck to thrash the Spanish fourth seed 6-2 6-4 7-6(5) with a performance reminiscent of those that took him to the 2009 US Open title.

Janowicz beat fellow Pole Lukasz Kubot 7-5 6-4 6-4 in an unlikely quarterfinal that, had the tournament gone to plan, would have been between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.

The youngest of the eight quarterfinalist will now set his sights on Murray, hoping to wreck the second seed's hopes of becoming Britain's first men's Wimbledon champion since Fred Perry in 1936.

"Right now I'm the happiest person in the world… I hope Andy will feel some kind of pressure… because Britain is waiting for the English champion in Wimbledon, said the 22-year-old Janowicz. "

Murray won the third set with ease but twice had to fend off break points in the fourth before levelling the match in an electrifying atmosphere on Centre Court.

Verdasco refused to cave in and a nail-shredding deciding set went with serve until Murray broke through at 5-5 and kept a cool head to serve out to love and spark wild celebrations around the grounds.

It was the seventh time in his career Murray has recovered from two sets down to win a match.

"I think I've learnt how to come back from tough situations more as I got older," said the 26-year-old who was watched by former Manchester United manager and fellow Scot Alex Ferguson.

Six-time grand slam champion Djokovic had the tougher task on paper against the hard-hitting Berdych who had won their only previous match at Wimbledon.

He edged a high-quality first set but fell 3-0 behind in the second before finding the extra gear that so often comes to his rescue when faced with danger.

Del Potro's medical team will be working overtime in the next 24 hours, especially as the eighth seed said he needs to be at 110 percent to have a chance against Djokovic.

Del Potro looked down and out when his already-bandaged left knee crumpled as he tumbled chasing a wide ball.

LISICKI FAVOURITE AHEAD OF SEMIS

An improbable scenario that would have prompted a polite chuckle among tennis fans two weeks ago is set to play out on Thursday when Marion Bartoli, Kirsten Flipkens, Sabine Lisicki and Agnieska Radwanska do battle in the Wimbledon semifinals.

The odds on those players making the last four were 33,379-1 at the start of the tournament but the early departures of Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka opened up the draw and Lisicki knocked out defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round to blow it wide open.

Lisicki, the new favourite and bidding to become Germany's first grand slam singles champion since Steffi Graf in 1996, will take on last year's runner-up Radwanska.

Awaiting the winner in the final will be French 15th seed Bartoli or Belgian Flipkens.

Nicknamed "Flipper", she was languishing at 262nd in the world a year ago, after suffering blood clots in her legs that put her at risk of a pulmonary embolism or thrombosis.

She became the first Belgian to reach the last four at Wimbledon since Justine Henin in 2007 with a three-set victory over former champion Petra Kvitova.

Now all that stands between her and a place in the final is Bartoli, the 2007 runner-up to Venus Williams, whose punchy ground-strokes are tailor-made for grass.

The Frenchwoman came through a bizarre rain-interrupted quarter-final that featured eight successive breaks of serve.

Having ended Williams' hopes of a sixth title in arguably the biggest shock of a tournament filled to bursting with surprise results, she beat unseeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi in just 65 minutes to reach the last four.

Her semifinal opponent is no novice.

Radwanska reached the final last year against the odds and surprised many still further by taking Serena Williams to three sets when everyone was predicting a mauling.

She is the highest remaining seed and shuns the hard-hitting muscular tennis that currently dominates the women's game for a more cerebral and wily approach.