Sunday 22 April 2018

Murray taking nothing for granted in glory hunt

Paul Newman

It was a less emphatic victory than his previous three, but Andy Murray has still to drop a set this year and is more than halfway through his campaign to end Britain's 77-year wait for a men's singles champion at Wimbledon.

A 6-4 7-6 6-1 victory yesterday over Russia's Mikhail Youzhny took the world No 2 into his sixth successive Wimbledon quarter-final, in which he will take on Spain's Fernando Verdasco.

No other player can match Murray's record of consistency at the All England Club and his latest victory was an example of what a gritty competitor he is.

There were times, especially when he dropped his serve twice in a row and trailed 5-2 in the second set, when Murray looked well below his best, but the 26-year-old Scot dug in to extend his current winning streak on grass to 15 matches.

"I don't take anything for granted," Murray said afterwards. "I know how hard these tournaments are to win. There are no guarantees here at all. It gets harder as the tournament goes on."

Youzhny showed some delightful touches, especially at the net, but Murray quickly stamped his authority, taking the first set after 48 minutes with a single break of serve in the third game.

When the Scot broke again at the same stage of the second set, completing the job with a stupendous forehand cross-court winner when at full stretch, he seemed to be coasting, but his tendency to drop his own serve immediately after a break has been a recurring problem in his career.

This time he did so twice in a row as Youzhny went 5-2 up. However, the Russian was unable to press home his advantage as Murray fought back to force a tie-break, in which the home favourite prevailed. After a 72-minute second set, the third set lasted barely half as long.

Tomorrow Murray will take on Verdasco, who brushed aside France's Kenny de Schepper in straight sets.

Elsewhere, Former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych set up a quarter-final against top seed Novak Djokovic after ending unseeded Bernard Tomic's run with a 7-6 6-7 6-4 6-4 victory.

Djokovic reached his 17th straight Grand Slam quarter-final – a run only beaten by Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors – by beating German veteran Tommy Haas 6-1 6-4 7-6. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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