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Federer, Murray both play for spot in Wimbledon semifinals

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LONDON — Roger Federer and Andy Murray are closing in on another Wimbledon final.

Federer, a seven-time champion from Switzerland, is 34 and still looking to make history at the All England Club by winning a record eighth title.

The 29-year-old Murray already made his mark in 2013, becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

The pair are on opposite sides of the draw, so if they win quarterfinals Wednesday, and then semifinals Friday, they would meet each other for the title Sunday.

“I hope I can win Wimbledon one more time,” said Federer, who beat Murray in the 2012 final. “That would be nice.”

That would also be an understatement.

Both Pete Sampras and 1880s player William Renshaw have won seven Wimbledon titles, but no one has eight. The only male player at any Grand Slam tournament with that many is Rafael Nadal, who has won the French Open nine times.

Federer will face ninth-seeded Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals, while Murray will take on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. If Federer advances, he will equal Jimmy Connors’ record of 11 Wimbledon semifinal appearances.

In the other men’s quarterfinal matches, sixth-seeded Milos Raonic will face 28th-seeded Sam Querrey, and 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych will play Lucas Pouille.

Querrey knocked defending champion Novak Djokovic out of the tournament in the third round.

Here’s a look at the four men’s quarterfinal matches:

FEDERER VS. CILIC: Federer is 5-1 against Cilic, but it’s the one loss that still hurts.

Cilic routed Federer in straight sets in the U.S. Open semifinals in 2014, the last time the two players met on court.

“These things happen. It’s OK to get blown off the court,” Federer said. “I never fully played freely in the match. But that was to his credit for just keeping cranking out serves and big returns.”

Cilic ended up winning his first major title at that tournament in New York. He’s hoping to reach the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time.

MURRAY VS. TSONGA: Tsonga has twice reached the Wimbledon semifinals, including beating Federer in the 2011 quarterfinals.

Murray, however, has beaten Tsonga in 11 of their last 12 matches, including four times on grass.

“I know Tsonga is one of the best grass court players in the world,” said Murray, who is 6-2 in Wimbledon quarterfinals. “If he plays well (and) I’m not on my game, I can lose that match for sure.”

RAONIC VS. QUERREY: Querrey is playing the tournament of his life, reaching the quarterfinals of a major for the first time while beating top-ranked Djokovic along the way.

“I think he (Querrey) must be doing great things,” said Raonic, who recovered from two sets down to reach the quarterfinals. “I’m sure he sent a message to other players, as well, that he’s ready to play.”

Querrey beat Raonic at Wimbledon in 2012, when the Canadian was just 21. In 2014, Raonic advanced to the semifinals, where he lost to Federer.

BERDYCH VS. POUILLE: Berdych is the only player left in the men’s draw that won’t have a rest day before the quarterfinals.

The 10th-seeded Czech was forced to finish his fourth-round match against Jiri Vesely on Tuesday because play was suspended by darkness the night before.

“With the recovery, I think it was actually a good day to play a set. It’s like a day of practice,” Berdych said. “I’m quite used to it actually. I’m doing it day by day, so that’s fine.”

Pouille, a 22-year-old Frenchman, is playing in the second week of a major tournament for the first time. He had been 0-4 on grass heading into Wimbledon, but he’s now 4-4.

“Before the tournament,” Pouille said, “(my goal) was to win one match on grass.”

Azarenka aims to come back in time for Wimbledon

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MOSCOW — Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka says she is planning to return to competition before Wimbledon.

Azarenka, who was ranked No. 1 for seven months in 2012 and 2013, went on a break last July to have her first child. She had previously been targeting a return at the July 31-Aug. 6 Bank of the West Classic in California.

In a statement on Twitter, the Belarusian says “my training has been progressing well and I feel ready to start competing,” adding that she plans “to play one of the grass court events prior to Wimbledon.”

Wimbledon starts July 3.

Azarenka won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, and has twice reached the Wimbledon semifinals.

Djokovic announces Agassi will coach him at French Open

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ROME —¬†Novak Djokovic is joining forces with Andre Agassi in an effort to return to No. 1.

Djokovic announced Sunday that Agassi will coach him at the French Open, which starts next Sunday.

“I spoke to Andre the last couple weeks on the phone, and we decided to get together in Paris,” Djokovic said. “So he’s going to be there. We’ll see what (the) future brings.

“We are both excited to work together and see where it takes us. We don’t have any long-term commitment. It’s just us trying to get to know each other in Paris a little bit,” Djokovic added. “He will not stay the whole tournament. He’s going to stay only to a certain time, and then we’ll see after that what’s going to happen.”

The second-ranked Djokovic split with longtime coach Marian Vajda and two other team members – fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch, and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic – at the start of the month.

Agassi, who retired in 2006, won eight Grand Slam titles.

Djokovic has won 12 Grand Slams.

“Andre is someone that I have tremendous respect for as a person and as a player,” Djokovic said. “He has been through everything that I’m going through. On the court he understands the game amazingly well. I am enjoying every conversation that I have with him.

“But also, on the other hand, he’s someone that nurtures the family values, philanthropy work. He’s a very humble man, is very educated. He’s a person that can contribute to my life on and off the court a lot. I’m very excited to see what is ahead of us.”

The pairing is the latest in a series of top players working with former standouts, from Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Moya, and Kei Nishikori and Michael Chang.

Djokovic was coached by Boris Becker the last three seasons, but they split last year.

Vajda started working with Djokovic in 2006.

Djokovic lost his No. 1 ranking to Andy Murray last year after a slump in form following his French Open triumph.

He lost in the third round at Wimbledon, his earliest defeat in a Grand Slam in seven years, lost in the first round at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, reached the final of the U.S. Open, and lost early again at the Australian Open.

Djokovic finished 2016 at No. 2, his current ranking. He’s won only one of his last 11 tournaments.

While Agassi has not coached a top player before, Djokovic said his record as a player and spokesman of the game was enough to convince him.

“He’s a legend of our sport,” Djokovic said. “He’s made a mark in this sport forever. He’s won everything there is to win in tennis.

“He was a revolutionary player because he had this charisma, he had this approach to tennis and to life that was quite different from others. That’s why he was so interesting.”

Agassi has already been offering advice on the phone.

“He’s been definitely following up closely all the matches, the big matches, especially on the TV,” Djokovic said. “So he knows players, he knows everyone that I was playing against in (the) last couple of weeks, so we talked before every match.

Djokovic added, “I already feel like we are very kind of close to each other and creating this nice vibe.”