LONDON -- The silence at Centre Court made abundantly clear that Andy Murray's time as Wimbledon champion was coming to a close.

Out of sorts from the start of his quarterfinal against up-and-coming Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday, Murray -- who in 2013 ended Britain's 77-year wait for one of its own to win the men's title at the All England Club -- sailed an awkward backhand slice long to fall behind by a set and a break.

The crowd of nearly 15,000, usually so vociferous in support of Murray, sat quietly, perhaps not prepared to believe what was happening. All along, Murray's body language was as negative as his play: He gnawed on his knuckle after seeing an ace zip past; slapped his forehead with his palm after one forehand found the net; bowed his head and slumped his shoulders after another did the same.

When one last forehand fell short, the magical ride ended for Murray and his fans with a 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2 loss to the 11th-seeded Dimitrov, who became the first man from Bulgaria to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.

 

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On Friday, Dimitrov takes on another past champ, top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who returned to the semifinals for the fifth consecutive year by coming back to beat No. 26 Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2.

On the other half of the draw, Roger Federer will face No. 8 Milos Raonic, the first Canadian man in a Grand Slam semifinal since 1923.

Federer was broken for the first time in the tournament, and dropped a set for the first time, too, but defeated Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 in a matchup between a pair of pals from Switzerland.

Raonic outserved Nick Kyrgios -- the 19-year-old Australian who eliminated Rafael Nadal in the fourth round -- in a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) win with the help of 39 aces.

In the women's quarterfinals, No. 3 Simona Halep beat 2013 runner-up Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-0, and now faces No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard, who got past No. 9 Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4. Thursday's other semifinal is 2011 champion Petra Kvitova against No. 23 Lucie Safarova. Kvitova is the only woman left who has won a major title.

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