Saturday, February 17, 2018
Sports

Murray wins third-round match at Wimbledon

LONDON — When a 19-stroke exchange ended with Andy Murray's Wimbledon opponent slapping a forehand into the net, thousands of Centre Court spectators rose in unison.

They applauded Murray's first service break. They screamed for joy. They waved their Union Jacks and Scottish flags. It was only a third-round match, merely 12 minutes and three games old, yet to some that tiny early edge seemed massively meaningful.

So imagine the reaction, louder and livelier, when the second-seeded Murray finished off his 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 victory over 32nd-seeded Tommy Robredo less than two hours later Friday to advance to Week 2. And try to fathom what would happen if Murray ever were to become the first British man in 77 years to hoist the trophy.

"You need to be professional enough to not let that stuff bother you and just concentrate on each match," said Murray, who has won 20 of his past 21 contests on grass, including a run to last year's final at the All England Club. "I did a good job of that today. I played well. My best match of the tournament, so far."

The locals' hopes that Murray will follow up his 2012 U.S. Open victory with another major title only increased in the aftermath of surprisingly early losses this week by seven-time champion Roger Federer, two-time winner Rafael Nadal and two-time semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

All were seeded in the top six, and all were in Murray's half of the draw. Their departures mean the most daunting obstacle in Murray's path — until a potential final against No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, anyway — might very well be surging expectations.

"There's a lot more pressure on me now, with them being out," Murray acknowledged after compiling 40 winners and only 14 unforced errors against Robredo.

"I mean, I don't read the papers and stuff. But there are papers in the locker room so you see some of the headlines and stuff. It's not that helpful."

The lone other remaining singles player from the host country, Laura Robson, made her way into the third round at Wimbledon for the first time, defeating 117th-ranked qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino 6-4, 6-1.

Robson, 19, heard her share of rowdy support. She also was serenaded with the "Awwwwwww" that often accompanies a mistake by a player the crowd cares about.

"I love when people get involved," Robson said. "Sometimes they do, like, a massive groan if I hit a double fault, but I'm doing it as well. So, yeah, we're just living it together."

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