/ Tennis

Jerzy Janowicz triumphs in Polish battle

Updated: Wednesday, 03 Jul 2013 19:16 | Comments

Jerzy Janowicz is the first Polish man to reach a grand slam  singles  semi-final
Jerzy Janowicz is the first Polish man to reach a grand slam singles semi-final

Jerzy Janowicz won today's all-Polish battle against close friend Lukasz Kubot to become the youngest Wimbledon semi-finalist since potential opponent Andy Murray four years ago.

The imposing 22-year-old, standing at 6ft 8in, powered past his Davis Cup team-mate to set up a clash with home favourite Murray or Fernando Verdasco.

Firing 30 aces, Janowicz wrapped up a 7-5 6-4 6-4 victory over world number 130 Kubot in two hours and seven minutes.

The win sees him becomes Poland's first ever man to reach a grand slam singles semi-final and the occasion clearly meant a lot to both players, who embraced and swapped shirts at the end of the match.

"I am just really, really happy," a clearly overwhelmed Janowicz said. "I didn't expect to be able to go that far in a grand slam, in Wimbledon.

"I am just very happy. I have not many words to say right now. I am just really happy and it doesn't matter if I am the first or second [Pole in the semi-finals]. This is my first semi-final and I have nothing to say, basically."

The towering 22-year-old quickly showed he meant business on an overcast afternoon in SW19, hitting three aces in his first service game.

One of those came at 140mph, equalling his own record for the fastest seen at the All England Club this fortnight, but big-hitting Kubot could also crank it up.

With both impressing on serve, they were rattling through the games.

Janowicz fended off a set point and made his compatriot pay, breaking immediately before taking the opener.

Kubot was proving no pushover in his first grand slam quarter-final appearance and did well to hold serve when his compatriot threatened a third-game break in the second set.

The 31-year-old had two break points himself in the following game, but it was another opportunity he failed to convert as Janowicz came back.

Play was slowing as they wrestled for dominance, with both players tightening up when opportunities presented themselves.

However, Kubot's resistance was finally broken in the seventh game of the set as Janowicz took his chance.

After umpire Carlos Ramos asked spectators to focus on the match in front of them rather than the Murray clash on Centre Court, Janowicz went through to take the set for a two-set lead.

Kubot, bidding to become the lowest-ranked man to reach a grand slam semi-final since 2000, continued to battle on despite the deficit.

He was impressing against a man ranked 108 places higher in the world rankings and had a break point in the fourth game.

Kubot failed to convert but stayed in there, producing some decent service games.

However, it always looked a matter of time before Janowicz fought through and the decisive moment came in the ninth game when he broke.

It allowed him to serve for the match, dropping to the floor after the winning point.

The pair embraced on court, exchanged their shirts, and Poland's big day at Wimbledon was complete.

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