Andy Murray put down a marker this evening with a scintillating, mesmerising display of piledriving tennis. With his shots cracking like rifle fire in the thunderdome that Wimbledon Centre Court becomes when the roof slides over, the Scot stormed to a mighty impressive 6-2 6-4 7-5 third-round victory over 32nd seed Tommy Robredo.
Those who endured from behind the sofa Murray’s pre-Lendl displays of pressure-soaking and counter-attacking crawled into daylight tonight to see a player transformed. This match signified the emergence of a brick wall from the wind-blown wisteria of earlier years.
Right from the off, Murray was anchored to a spot in the middle of the baseline. From here, he shuffled left and right, dictating play like André Previn conducting the London Symphony.
With his kick serve jumping all over the greenery in the hothouse humidity and his mesmeric game sending the Spaniard hither and thither, Murray broke for 2-1 with a series of balls drilled mercilessly into the wide-open spaces.
The British number one maintained the ballistics throughout the first set, with some regulation groundshots hitting close to 100mph. He broke again for 4-1, but a relatively sloppy game saw Robredo claw back one break.Read more (250 words)
Murray refocused and took away the time from his laboriously big-swinging opponent. At 5-2, an increasingly defiant Robredo pounded a forehand into Murray’s backhand corner, only to see the Scot drift a low backhand onto the apex of sideline and baseline. A service winner sealed the set.
Set two saw more of the same, Murray spinning shots from the baseline like a fly shuttle on a weaving machine. With his shoes shuffling over the baseline paint, the world number two sent the Spaniard scampering from corner to corner as his stone-wall groundshots relentlessly found their mark.
Murray’s remarkable and telling statistic of 100% first serves won, backed by a welter of pounding groundshots, helped him capitalise on an early break to take the set 6-4.
In set three, the lightweight Spaniard rolled the dice, firing groundshots way out of his comfort zone and achieving an astonishing level of application in the face of Murray’s unrelenting hostility.
But Robredo’s counter-attack was like a pop gun against the Red Army. With consummate professionalism, Murray brought up a break point at 5-5 with a snap backhand volley to the very margins of the Centre Court. After the Spaniard netted a regulation forehand, the number two seed served out without drama to book a spot in round four.
With Federer and Nadal crashing out before round three, Murray’s fans will be hoping that this display signifies a shark sensing blood. More will be revealed in the rounds ahead, as he prepares to take on Victor Troicki or Mikhail Youzhny in the last 16.