By the standards of the Pimm's set who frequent these parts a riot nearly broke out here yesterday when the start of the third-round match between Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt was delayed because of a security alert. Thankfully, however, the slow-handclapping died out before anyone sent for the water cannons.
Perhaps the crowd were feeling hard done by after Andy Murray once again sped through his match with the determination of a man anxious to avoid the rush-hour congestion. The gridlock on west London's roads has been worse than ever during the Tube strike, with some players at the Aegon Championships getting out of their courtesy cars and walking the final few hundred yards to the venue.
Having taken only 59 minutes to win his first match against Andreas Seppi, Murray needed just 11 minutes more to see off Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, winning 6-4, 6-4 to earn a quarter-final today against Mardy Fish. From the moment the 22-year-old Scot opened up with three successive aces in his first service game it was clear that he had no intention of hanging around.
Garcia-Lopez, a 26-year-old Spaniard ranked No 52 in the world, won his first tournament last month at Kitzbuhel. He has an easy, languid style and a big forehand and volleys well for a player at his best on clay, but Murray always had his measure.
The world No 3 made a cautious start but was never in trouble on his serve and converted the only two break points of the match in the ninth game of the first set and the fifth of the second. It was a routine win, though there were still Murray moments to savour, especially a beautifully judged backhanded lob that landed just inside the baseline and a scorching forehand cross-court winner on match point.
"He started very well," Murray said. "He served well and hit some big forehands at the start. I needed to hang in a little bit in the first set, but I served well throughout the match. I gave him a slight chance where I went down 0-30 at 5-4 in the first set, but apart from that I don't think any of my service games went to deuce. I didn't give him any break points."
Fish, the world No 25, should provide a stiffer test. Although he has never gone beyond the third round at Wimbledon, the 27-year-old American likes playing on quicker courts and has enjoyed good wins here over Michael Llodra and Feliciano Lopez. He has played Murray three times before, Fish winning in Indianapolis in 2005 and the Scot in San Jose and Washington the following year.
The match between two four-times winners of this tournament ended in a tight 7-6, 7-6 victory for Roddick over Hewitt. The American now faces Ivo Karlovic in the next round.
* Mel South, Elena Baltacha and Naomi Cavaday, the last British players left in the Aegon Classic at Edgbaston, all lost yesterday, going out to Jie Zheng, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Stefanie Voegele respectively.Reuse content