Ruthless Andy Murray makes light work of Robin Haase
No 2 seed Roger Federer thrills crowds with outrageous lob in his straight-sets win
Andy Murray swept past Robin Haase and into the Wimbledon third round after a comprehensive 6-1 6-1 6-4 win. Photograph: Getty
Andy Murray, in the form of his life this summer, put a blip in the first round behind him here on Thursday to embarrass Robin Haase out of Wimbledon in less than an hour and a half. It was a breathtaking exhibition of focussed skill and invention, to which the Dutchman had hardly a single worthwhile answer.
After struggling briefly to find his rhythm in beating Mikhail Kukushkin in straight sets on Tuesday, Murray began like a purring Rolls Royce on Court No 1 on day four and finished with controlled ease to win 6-1, 6-1, 6-4. It was a miserable performance by Haase, who took a set off Murray in each of two matches in the US Open, most recently last year, but was woefully out of his depth here.
The difference between good and great players is not just talent, but concentration and patience. For all that Haase is a fine strokemaker and moves with lovely balance and judgment across the grass, he finds the strain of doing it rally after rally as exacting as anyone who comes up against Murray, whose ability to get the last ball in is extraordinary.
Murray was delighted at the end. After signing the usual slew of autographs, he said courtside, “I started very well, quickly. He started to play better tennis in the middle of the second set. He has good variety in his game so there were some fun points.
“There are still nerves, which is good. I give more attention to every single point that way. I was very happy with the way that I played. There were some things I could have done better against Kukushkin in the first round but today I dictated the points better from the baseline.”
The Dutchman did not lack for commitment at the beginning. He was roughly on level terms for the first quarter of an hour, and scolded himself audibly on the changeover after three games, desperate to hurt his opponent’s defence but struggling to find a way. Thereafter his mood drooped in keeping with the soporific conditions, until a brief rally in the third set.
Murray, meanwhile, increasingly mastered his own destiny, holding and breaking to love. He sensed Haase’s anxiety, who double faulted and was powerless to even chase the sublime winning lob.
It didn’t get much better for Haase, and Murray closed out the first set in just 20 minutes for the cost of a single game. The second set took him only 10 minutes longer. Haase had one chance to break and blew it. He was, as John Lloyd euphemistically put it, “accepting his fate a little bit too quickly”.
At the start of the third, he banged down his fastest serve to that point, 122mph, and held, hinting at a fightback. While the paying customers might have craved a contest, applauding Haase’s flickering resistance, Murray just wanted to get him out of there. Haase saved break point to stay ahead in the serving cycle for 2-1.
However, when he refused to challenge a seriously close line call against him in the fifth game, framed a forehand long for the fifth time and then, in the next game, tried a drop-shot that didn’t even reach the net, followed by a limp double fault, resignation looked to be invading his spirit again.
Murray broke when Haase wearily shoved an off-balance forehand well wide and the contest was all but done. Even a fruitless and hilarious charge to the net by Haase to distract Murray in the course of a smash provided only light relief to the one-sided beating.
Haase found his third ace to stay in the match before Murray brought it to a merciful conclusion with a succession of blistering ground strokes. He even brought a “bravo” then applause on his racket from the Dutchman after two delicious points for 30-love. A final crosscourt backhand to the ad corner was too good for Haase.
Roger Federer thrilled Centre Court with an outrageous lob as he moved effortlessly into the third round with a 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory over American Sam Querrey.
The highlight of a one-sided match was the audacious shot executed by the Swiss from behind his own baseline, slipping the racket between his legs to direct the ball over the head of the stranded Querrey.
“It’s rare that those shots happen so when they do you have to pull them off. If you don’t win the point you do look a little bit silly,” Federer said.
“It was the perfect shot, I even had a little bit of time which allowed me to get into position. It just felt like I had time.”
Federer remains on course to become the first man in history to win eight Wimbledon titles, but far tougher challenges await in the draw than outclassed world No 36 Querrey.
“I’m very happy with the way I’ve played in the first two matches so far,” Federer said.
“I’ve been playing well this season and have had a good run. There’s a little relief that I’m actually playing well here at Wimbledon as well.
“I had to work hard, Sam’s a good player. The first set was tough and he was serving well and I didn’t know how long he’d keep that up for.”
British wildcard James Ward battled past Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic on to reach the third round of Wimbledon for the first time, delighting a vociferous home crowd.
The 6-2 7-6 (4) 3-6 6-3 victory on a sun-baked Court Two moved Ward into the top 100 and meant Britain had more than one man in Wimbledon’s third round for the first time since 2002.
After winning the first set with some crunching shots Ward was made to work harder against an opponent ranked 66 places above him at No 45 in the world. The 28-year-old Briton missed numerous chances to break in the second set but produced a superb back-hand lob on his way to taking the tiebreak.
Vesely, who reached the third round at Wimbledon last year, found more of a rhythm with his big service game to take the third before stopping to receive treatment on his left shoulder.
Broken early in the fourth the Czech had chances to hit back but was thwarted by a scurrying Ward who sealed victory and a first ever Grand Slam third-round appearance when Vesely sent a weary backhand into the net.
Ward will play either Canadian Vasek Pospisil or Italian 30th seed Fabio Fognini next.
(Guardian service and agencies)