Indyplus update: The second Monday at Wimbledon


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Andy Murray in familiar position as last Briton left in singles competition after victory over Mikhail Youzhny

British number one preserves his record of not dropping a set this year at Wimbledon

Andy Murray’s progress was not as smooth as it had been in his first three matches here but the 26-year-old Scot is through to his sixth successive Wimbledon quarter-final after beating Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 7-6, 6-1.

Following Laura Robson’s defeat to Kaia Kanepi earlier in the day, Murray is in a familiar position as the last Briton left in singles competition.

Youzhny, aged 31, is one of the game’s most experienced grass-court players – only Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and Murray have won more matches on the surface – and there were times when he had Murray struggling.  Youzhny broke twice in a row to take a 5-2 lead in the second set, but Murray gritted his teeth to force a tie-break and went on to preserve his record of not dropping a set here this year.

Murray, who on occasions appeared to be troubled by the lower back injury which forced him to miss the recent French Open, took the first set with a single break of serve in the third game and looked to be coasting when he broke at the same stage of the second set with a superb forehand cross-court winner.

However, Murray’s level suddenly dipped as Youzhny won the next four games. The world No 26 served for the second set at 5-4, but Murray broke him with a big backhand drilled into the corner. When the Scot served a double fault to go 2-4 down in the tie-break it seemed that all his hard work in fighting back might have gone to waste, but he won five of the next six points and took the set with a super backhand return.

Youzhny had two break points in the opening game of the third set but the Russian was broken to love in the next game and never recovered. Murray broke again to lead 5-1 and served out for the match. Having created match point with a wonderful forehand winner down the line he completed the job with a smart piece of serve-and-volley.

In the quarter-finals Murray will play Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, who has lost eight of their nine meetings. Verdasco, the world No 54, beat the Frenchman Kenny De Schepper in straight sets.

British hopes dashed as Laura Robson's run comes to an end against Kaia Kanepi

Home-favourite is beaten in straight-sets 6-7 5-7 by Kaia Kanepi

An afternoon of groans and cheers for a partisan No.1 Court crowd ended with the latter as Laura Robson lost in straight sets to Kaia Kanepi and missed out on a place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time.

It was a typically roller-coaster performance from Robson whose inconsistency drove her to shrieking at the heavens in despair at times. The British No.1 Robson for the first set but was broken, subsequently losing the set on a tie-break that she led 3-0. In the second set Kanepi broke Robson at 5-5 and secured victory with her fifth match point.

At 46 in the world her Estonian opponent is ranked eight place lower but she is far more experienced and, having been a top-20 player, not short of talent. She and Robson traded booking groundstrokes, service aces and double faults, but over the 95 minutes Kanepi was more accurate and less wasteful.

Robson broke in the eighth game to serve for the set but double-faulted en route to an immediate break-back. Having romped to a 3-0 lead in the tie-break Robson slumped to 5-6 with another double-fault en route. A blazing forehand return saved the first set point to roars of acclaim but she then hit both tramlines to concede the tie-break 8-6.

Robson came within an ace, literally, of conceding her first and fourth service game of the second set but salvaged both with thumping serves. Her sixth service game was, though, a disaster conceding it to love. Robson had the courage to save a trio of match points with Kanepi double-faulting on a fourth but the Englishwoman was wrong-footed on the fifth and the game, set and match were up.

The teenager, already the first British woman to survive the opening week since 1998, was bidding to become the first British woman to make a Wimbledon quarter-final since Jo Durie 19 years ago. Instead Kanepi, 28, moves into the last eight for for the second time having reached it as a wildcard in 2010

Defending champion and overwhelming favourite Serena Williams dethroned by Sabine Lisicki

Williams was rattled by the all-action Lisicki, a player who thrives at Wimbledon

We were promised a slug fest. That is what we got and then some, and one that ended with the biggest shock of a tournament that has been littered with surprise.

Serena Williams, the defending champion, the five-time champion and overwhelming favourite, was dethroned by Sabine Lisicki, the energetic, tenacious young German, in one of the biggest shocks of this or any other Wimbledon.

Lisicki, watched by her mother and father, won the opening set but seemed set to fall to the inevitable Williams recovery as she was steamrollered out of the second and then went a break down in the third. But the 23-year-old fought back, broke back and then broke again to allow her to serve for the greatest victory of her career.

She missed one match point, but not the second to earn the greatest win of her career and end Williams run of 34 straight victories.

Williams was rattled by the all-action Lisicki, a player who thrives at Wimbledon and thrilled the Centre Court crowd with the forcefulness of her game. She took the first set 6-2 but Williams hauled herself back into a high-class contest, cut out the errors and won the second set 6-1 to level the match.

The contest remained rumbustiously entertaining to the last.  “Shot,” yelled Williams as one Lisicki winner flew past her in the final set. A see-saw deciding set saw breaks exchanged before Williams  let slip her advantage – from 3-1, 40-15 in Williams’ favour, Lisicki produced an improbable rally, finishing the match as she had begun it.

Lisciki started well, thundering her returns back at the world No 1 and making Williams move around the court, a rare sight so far in the tournament – a rare sight in any tournament. The German has enjoyed some of the best moments of her career on the grass of Wimbledon – beating Li Na en route to the semi-finals two years ago and then stunning Maria Sharapova before exiting at the quarter-final stage last year.

Her game can be hit and miss and the opening games were littered with an entertaining mix of unforced error and ferocious winners. Across the net Williams replied in thumping kind, but she too was making mistakes, unnerved by Lisicki’s early assault.  One loose forehand wide handed Lisicki a break-point and then a hesitant approach to a volley that looped wide gave the first break of the match. Lisicki was on top and she took full advantage. Williams was rattled and her game became increasingly error-strewn. From 2-2 Lisicki ran away with the first set, winning game after game, taking every opportunity that came her way. After three-quarters of an hour she was a set up and looking at the biggest scalp of her career.

Her hope held into the second set as she held serve with a second serve ace to make it five straight games. Everybody knew the counter-attack would come. Williams took a deep breath, held her first service game and then it came. The champion’s usual stern-faced composure was re-installed and she promptly earned her first break of the match to love, the power, prowess and prowl back in her game. Now it was Lisicki doing the running as Williams cut out the errors – there was not one in the second set – and walloped down her serve.

Williams  has lost only twice this year – to Sloane Stephens in the Australian Open and Victoria Azarenka in Doha – and fortune favoured her early in the decider. In Lisicki’s first service game, twice Williams clipped the top of the net to level the score from 15-40 before a Lisicki forehand blazed wide to present the break. But it was not game over and the two traded breaks as Lisicki refused to accept what most saw as the inevitable.

After three successive breaks, Lisicki saved three break points and then produced a second serve ace to level it at four all. That filled Lisicki with confidence and she earned two break points, winning the second as Williams volleyed long. Lisicki squandered one match point and then a third double fault handed Williams a break point. That was saved by an ace, her ninth, and soon after the match was hers.

David Ferrer overcomes Ivan Dodig

David Ferrer the fourth seed has found the going tough so far, and looked in for another long match when he dropped the first set against Ivan Dodig of Croatia. But in drawing level and then racing through the third and fourth sets he became the first man into the quarter-finals, by 6-7 7-6 6-1 6-1.

The Spaniard had dropped at least one set in all three previous matches and gone 2-1 down to the Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov before coming through strongly in the last two sets on Saturday.

Today he caused a certain amount of consternation by not turning up on the far-flung Court Two until almost ten minutes after the scheduled start-time of 11.30. In the early games he regularly held break points without being able to capitalise and should never have been taken to a tie-break. He then went 0-3 down and never recovered, netting a backhand to concede the set in just under an hour.

The second set tie-break went his way and from then on it was all downhill, taking the next two sets while conceding only two games.

Dodig had reached new heights by playing in a fourth round of a Grand Slam albeit with the benefit of two retirements by opponents, Philipp Kohlschriber and Igor Sijsling.

Ranked 49 in the world, he can look back with satisfaction, while Ferrer prepares for a quarter-final.