Murray cruises past Youzhny to reach last eight at Wimbledon
Novak Djokovic follows the Scot into the quarter-final stage of the championships
Scotland’s Andy Murray in action during his fourth round match against Mikhail Youzhny of Russia on day seven of the Wimbledon Championships. Photograph: Getty
If Andy Murray ever feels the smug impulse, he should think of coach Ivan Lendl. Lendl at one stage, after he retired from tennis, tried his hand as a professional golfer and falls easily towards that sport.
When an unstretched Murray won his third round match against Tommy Robredo in straight sets Lendl observed: “It’s like golf. If someone shoots a 62 they don’t often follow it with a 64.”
Well Murray followed it with a 64 yesterday against a talented opponent. Murray fought out a tough middle set, that would have made his night long and arduous had it gone the other way in a tiebreak against the one time top 10 player Mikhail Youzhny.
It may have taken 72 minutes and Murray’s serve may have been broken twice by the Russian but in second-week matches mind games are as important as hitting a sweet tennis ball.
Murray won 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-1 in a match that at least tested him for two difficult sets. He now faces Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-final.
“It’s tougher to play the world number two in the fourth round than in the first. But you have chances. You never think ‘I can’t do it’,” said Youzhny.
Murray was pleased to have come through the fight, especially the second set tiebreak.
“There was more ups and down, especially the second set, where I came back from 5-3 down in that tiebreak. That was a big set to win,” said Murray. “You don’t fluke getting to the quarter-finals of a Slam. You have to win four tough matches.”
Murray added that the pressure on him was “seven or eight out of 10”. And just over half way there.
The world number one took note of who some see as his prospective opponent next weekend. Novak Djokovic also wavered in the second set after a 6-1 first but not to the extent of Murray. Djokovic dropped his serve to the youthful 35-year-old Tommy Haas but had it back before anyone had time to consider a tiebreak and won the set 6-4.
The two-set advantage essayed the match towards a less hasty finish than Djokovic would have wanted. Haas endlessly chased and knew that this would probably be the last time he would have such a chance to press towards towards his best ever result at Wimbledon, the semi-final in 2009.
Djokovic broke Haas for 4-2, dropped serve in an untidy finish, but pressed home in a third set tiebreak 7-6(4).