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Tennis: Djokovic aims high, Murray gets Fergie 'gold dust'

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Novak Djokovic eyes a place in the Wimbledon final Friday insisting he can get even better while Andy Murray hopes a pep talk from former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson can inspire him to victory.

But Djokovic, having avoided the shock exits suffered by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at this year's Wimbledon, believes he cannot become complacent when he tackles Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in the first semi-final.

"It's the mindset I always try to have, because that's something that keeps me going every single day on the practice courts, day in, day out, trying to give my best and trying to always inspire myself to play better tennis," said the top seed.

"I know I have a quite complete game, but I still feel there is room for improvement."

The world number one Serb, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, will be playing in his 13th successive Grand Slam semi-final, 10 behind the record held by Federer.

At Wimbledon this year, he is chasing a seventh major.

Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, just about survived his quarter-final against David Ferrer when he strained his already heavily-bandaged left knee in a sickening Centre Court tumble.

Djokovic has an 8-3 winning record over Del Potro but the Argentine won their only other previous meeting on grass in the 2012 Olympics bronze medal play-off which took place at Wimbledon.

Del Potro, the 24-year-old eighth seed, also won the pair's last meeting in March, on hard court in the Indian Wells semi-finals.

The Argentine's 2009 US Open win was the only time in the last 33 Grand Slams that the champion wasn't called either Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray.

Like Djokovic, Del Potro has reached the last-four -- his first semi-final at Wimbledon -- without dropping a set.

"I will need to be 110 percent against Novak. He's the number one. He's a former champion. It's going to be a more difficult match for me," Del Potro said.

Second-seeded Murray, the runner-up to Federer in 2012, will be playing in his fifth consecutive Wimbledon semi-final, but he had to come from two sets to love down to beat Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-finals.

It will be his 13th major semi-final, equalling the national record set by Fred Perry, the last British man to win the title in 1936.

He takes on 24th seed Jerzy Janowicz, the first Polish man to reach the semi-finals of a major.

"It will be a very tough match. Janowicz has a big serve. He's a big guy with a lot of power," Murray said of his opponent who has fired a tournament-leading 94 aces at Wimbledon this year.

They have a 1-1 record but Murray lost their last meeting at the Paris Masters in 2012 when Janowicz came through qualifying to reach the final.

Murray believes advice from Ferguson can drive him into a second successive final.

"I spoke to him for 15 or 20 minutes after the match against Verdasco," said Murray.

"We spoke about a lot of things -- about his retirement, about football and then at the end I spoke to him, not so much about the match, but about everything that goes with it.

"He was giving me some advice on how to handle certain pressures and expectations. Getting that sort of advice from someone like him is gold dust so I'm not going to be sharing too much of it."

Janowicz, the 2.03m Pole, is this year's rags-to-riches Wimbledon story.

When he was once so hard up at the US Open, a group of New York-based Poles clubbed together to buy him tennis shoes while, two years ago, when he was ranked at a lowly 221 in the world, he didn't have the cash to buy a ticket to the Australian Open.

"I have had some troubles during my career. You practice and work for these kind of moments," said Janowicz, who broke down in floods of tears on Wednesday when he defeated compatriot Lukasz Kubot in the quarter-finals.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130705/tennis-djokovic-aims-high-murray-gets-fergie-gold-dust