After a Wimbledon with more twists and turns than a fairground ride, Andy Murray will be determined not to become the latest big name to fall from the roller coaster here this afternoon. The 26-year-old Scot is just one win away from equalling Fred Perry's British record of 13 appearances in Grand Slam semi-finals and will give Fernando Verdasco, his opponent on Centre Court, the greatest respect, despite the Spaniard's lowly position at No 54 in the world rankings.
Monday's defeat of Serena Williams, which followed the exits of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and a host of other leading players last week, guarantees that Murray will guard against complacency as he faces an opponent he has beaten in eight of their nine meetings.
"When those sort of results can happen to a player as good as Serena, there's absolutely no reason why it can't happen to me," Murray said. "That's why I'm not getting ahead of myself, and no one else should."
Murray has never been one to take victories for granted. Asked whether the succession of shock results over the last two weeks would make him even more focused on his task, the world No 2 said: "There are loads of different ways you can look at it. You can make sure you are not underprepared for any of the matches, but I don't feel like I do that anyway. Maybe when I was younger it could have been an issue. But also I can tell by the way I get asked the questions by the press that everyone is getting ahead of themselves and expecting me to win these matches."
Verdasco, a former world No 7, has slipped down the rankings in the last year – he was world No 16 at last year's Wimbledon – after some injury troubles, but the 29-year-old Spaniard has recovered to enjoy his best run at Wimbledon in 11 appearances at the All England Club. His victims so far include Julien Benneteau and Ernests Gulbis.
Murray's only defeat to Verdasco came at the 2009 Australian Open in the fourth round. "It was a tough loss for me because I hadn't lost to him before and at the time it didn't look like a great result," Murray recalled. "But he went on to have a great year. He nearly beat Rafa [Nadal] in the semis there. It was a great match and it was very close. He went on to finish the year in the top 10 so it wasn't such a bad loss.
"It isn't easy to stay at the top of the game for a long time. It's hard. It takes a lot of concentration, hard work and focus, also a bit of luck as well. He's had a few injuries. He's changed rackets quite a few times. That will have had something to do with it."
If Murray wins, his opponent in Friday's semi-finals will be the winner of this afternoon's all-Polish confrontation between Jerzy Janowicz and Lukasz Kubot. While Murray's half of the draw has seen a succession of top names go out, the quarter-finals in the other half feature the top four seeds in that section. Novak Djokovic, the world No 1, meets Tomas Berdych, while David Ferrer will take on Juan Martin del Potro.