Andy Murray is confident that his fourth-round match against Grigor Dimitrov will not turn into the sort of slow-motion nightmare we saw when these two men met in the Wimbledon quarter-final seven months ago, WRITES SIMON BRIGGS.
Murray's bizarrely passive performance that day was totally out of character for a man who cannot go to the beach without wanting to build the tallest sandcastle.
Even now, Dimitrov remains perplexed by what happened. "You hardly ever see top players feeling really flat early on in the match," he said yesterday. "Just that day it was not him out there on the court. I think we all know that."
But Dimitrov also acknowledged that he was expecting to see a far sharper Murray tomorrow.
As for Murray, he had a sense of controlled menace about him after despatching Joao Sousa of Portugal: 6-1, 6-1, 7-5. He would never use the word "revenge" but there's little doubt that a dominant win would give him more pleasure than the average win.
"There was no reason for me to play that way," Murray said, when asked about their last grand-slam meeting. "I played great in the first week at Wimbledon. I was feeling really good. Then I happened to play a bad match and that obviously can happen at any time in an individual sport. It happens three or four times a year, probably, to most of the players.
"If you look back to when [Pete] Sampras and (Andre) Agassi played, they would have bad matches during the year. And then you look at Rafa (Nadal) and Novak (Djokovic) and Roger (Federer), and the consistency they've shown, so that now when someone does have a bad match, everyone's like, 'Woah, what happened?'" (© Daily Telegraph, London)