Andy Murray cruised into the third round of Wimbledon yesterday with a convincing 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over dreadlocked Dustin Brown of Germany.
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A Rasta boy in tennis whites is about as incongruous a sight as you’ll see on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, and his brand of tennis is equally idiosyncratic, yet effective enough to have dispatched Rafael Nadal here two years ago.
But Murray was having none of his tricks and tumbles. Despite the odd diving backhand dive volley (degree of difficulty 4.7), Brown could do nothing against Murray’s castle-like defence, allowing Brown just 14 points on his serve and committing only five unforced errors.
The low error count was all the more amazing because the tennis was far from routine. This was a match of deft exchanges around the net, scurrying sprints for vaulted lobs and uncannily executed drop shots.
The best game came at 2-2 in the second set, in which Murray broke his German opponent. A precise lob followed a sensational backhand pass and all Brown could do was applaud and offer a thumbs-up.
The exhibition stuff continued for another set-and-a-half, but the Scot was always the smarter, stronger and more focused player.
Brown said, “If he has a problem with his hip, I don’t want to play against him when his hip’s good. Most of the time when he was hitting ridiculous shots, I just laughed and said, ‘Good job, let's see if he does it again’. Yeah, he did for three sets.”
Tougher tests await, though. The top seed will now play Fabio Fognini, his conqueror in the recent Rome Masters on Italian clay. Grass is a different matter, though, and Murray should have too much craft and guile for the Italian number one.