Wimbledon 2014: Andy Murray home and dry in last eight with another straight-sets victory over Kevin Anderson - as rivals are left to wait
Giant Anderson felled in three sets by poised display and Centre Court roof
The British weather is doing its best to spoil the chances of many of his rivals but Andy Murray, with the welcome assistance of the Centre Court roof, is safely through to his seventh successive Wimbledon quarter-final. The defending champion, a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 winner here on Monday over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, has yet to drop a set.
Anderson, the world No 18, presented Murray with his stiffest test yet, but the 27-year-old Scot came through it with barely a blemish. Thanks to the roof, which was needed for the latter half of the match after another rain-affected day, Murray is through to the last eight on schedule, which is more than can be said for the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, whose fourth-round matches have been delayed until Tuesday.
If they win, Nadal and Federer will have to play again on Wednesday, though at least they are not in the position of Stanislas Wawrinka, who is facing five matches in seven days if he is to make the final. Murray, who enjoyed raucous support from his home crowd, will expect to play his quarter-final on Wednesday against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, the champion of Queen’s Club, who beat Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 7-6, 6-2.
“All of the matches are tough,” Murray said. “Everyone in the quarter-finals of Slams is playing top tennis. I just have to do what I’ve got to do and concentrate on my side of the court.”
He added: “I’m just trying to stay concentrated when I’m out on the court. I don’t worry about everything else that’s going on outside of it and everything that’s said.
“I just try to play tennis and not worry about the rest, but when you play in front of a crowd like that it gives you a big lift. It raises your intensity and it makes it hard for the opponents as well in tight situations.”
Anderson was playing in the fourth round for the first time in six visits to the All England Club. He is one of the most improved players in the men’s game but never quite did himself justice on his first appearance on Centre Court. The South African can use his 6ft 8in frame to hit some huge serves, but on this occasion, with Murray returning with his customary excellence, he never got into a consistent serving rhythm.
Meanwhile there were plenty of examples of the variety of Murray’s repertoire. Twice he stroked wonderful forehand cross-court passing shots, which were hit flat with barely any topspin and with just enough pace to beat Anderson as he moved forward. Even more exquisite was a drop shot which was played from behind the baseline and turned almost 90 degrees on landing.
Video: Ross Hutchins on Andy Murray chances
Murray, who is on a 17-match winning streak at the All England Club, flew around the court as if his life depended on every point. He repeatedly chased down Anderson’s best shots before forcing the South African into a mistake or creating an opportunity to hit a winner.
In only the third game Anderson went 0-40 down and was broken when he put a backhand long three points later. Murray, who was in top form from the start, bellowed out a cry of “Come on”. The Scot went on to serve out for the first set in 43 minutes without having to defend a break point.
When Anderson served at 0-30 in the opening game of the second set he put what should have been a routine smash into the net. The South African went on to save six break points in that game but on the seventh he put a volley long. Two games later Murray broke again to go 3-0 up, Anderson netting a forehand under pressure from the world No 5’s return.
Kevin Anderson was unable to make full use of his huge serve in his first match on Centre Court (PA)
A few drops of rain had fallen midway through the first set but now, just as Murray was threatening to run away with the match, it started to come down more heavily. The players went off for 25 minutes while the roof rolled into place and when they returned Anderson appeared to be more comfortable.
Murray was broken for the only time in the match and Anderson had a point two games later for a second break. Murray held on, however, and by the end of the set normal service had been resumed. When Anderson served at 3-5 and 30-40 his attempt at playing serve-and-volley failed, the quality of Murray’s return forcing him into an error.
Anderson, enjoying the windless conditions under the roof, played some of his best tennis in the third set. There were no breaks of serve, although Anderson had to hang on grimly in the eighth game, successfully defending five break points.
Murray hit some stunning shots in the tie-break, including two superb forehand cross-court pass winners and an athletic half-volley pick-up after Anderson had struck probably his best return of the match. Murray saved a set point with an unreturned serve at 5-6 and two points later completed victory with a big backhand into the corner.
“When it was outdoors I played very well,” Murray said. “Then when we came back indoors he started striking the ball better and serving better. I was dropping the ball a little bit shorter than I was in the first set and a half so I had to do a bit more running at the end. I got a bit tentative, but it was a good win because he was playing very well at the end and was making it very tough for me.”
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