Murray on to Week 2 with Federer, Nadal gone
By Howard Fendrich, AP
June 30, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
LONDON -- Everything is going Andy Murray's way so far at this most surprising of Wimbledons.
The Scot has won all nine sets he's played to reach the fourth round.
Then there's this — the four top-10 men who have already departed were all in his half of the draw: No. 3 Roger Federer, No. 5 Rafael Nadal, No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 10 Marin Cilic. Federer has won seven Wimbledon titles and Nadal two, while Tsonga was a semifinalist in 2011 and 2012.
Entering Saturday, no one seeded higher than 20th was left for No. 2 Murray to possibly face before the final.
Then again, that only adds to the ever-surging expectations that he can become the first British man in 77 years to win the championship at the All England Club.
“There's a lot more pressure on me now, with them being out. I don't read the papers. But there are papers in the locker room,” Murray said with a chuckle, “so you see some of the headlines. It's not that helpful.”
He put together a strong performance Friday, taking advantage of the zero-wind conditions under Centre Court's retractable roof to compile 40 winners and only 14 unforced errors in a 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 victory over 32nd-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain.
“You need to be professional enough to not let that stuff bother you and just concentrate on each match,” said Murray, who has won 20 of his past 21 contests on grass, including runs to last year's final at Wimbledon (where he lost to Federer) and a London Olympics gold medal (by beating Federer).
“I did a good job of that today,” he continued. “I played well. My best match of the tournament.”
Murray was on-target throughout — with his serves, his returns, his volleys, his groundstrokes. He won 60 of 80 points on his serve, including 14 of 15 in one stretch. He broke Robredo four straight times, then again in the penultimate game.
Robredo's no slouch. He's been ranked as high as No. 5, albeit back in 2006. He's been a major quarterfinalist a half-dozen times. At this year's French Open, he became the first man in 86 years to win three consecutive Grand Slam matches after facing two-set deficits. And he entered Friday with a 2-2 record against Murray in tour-level events.
But they hadn't played in an official tournament since 2009, and they'd never met on grass or at a major, two categories where Murray is excelling lately.
Murray was asked after the match whether last year's success at the Summer Games and Flushing Meadows had alleviated some of the pressure for a Wimbledon title.
“No, from what I've heard,” Murray replied. “People are putting even more pressure on me because of the nature of how the draw's worked out. I've just got to try and stay focused, not worry about that stuff. But it's hard.”
Nadal's stunning first-round exit, for example, was viewed in Britain mainly through the prism of how that result helped Murray, who could have faced the 12-time major champion in the semifinals. “Adios Rafa. Hello Andy. Wimbledon dreams again,” read a headline in The Times of London. The Daily Mail's take: “Great start for Andy — Rafa's out.”