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.