No hassle for Murray, now for the hustle as British No 1 faces up to the in-form Ferrer
21:31 GMT, 3 July 2012
Andy Murray will be welcomed back on to Centre Court on Wednesday like the Prodigal Son, having served his time out in rain and windswept exile on Court No 1.
He survived the ordeal impressively. Facing a powerful man like Marin Cilic in a stop-start fourth round could have been a nasty excursion, but he handled it adroitly, running out a 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 winner before the elements had a chance to do their worst.
Job done: Andy Murray beat Marin Cilic to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon
And now, again, for something
completely different. As in previous rounds, Murray's opponent bears no
relation to what has gone immediately before, with the tall and languid
Cilic replaced with the ultimate little hustler in David Ferrer.
The two men have emerged from the
toughest quarter of the draw to reach the last eight and if Murray has
done well to get this far without any major mishaps then Ferrer has been
even more convincing.
He is like those skilful Spanish
footballers who run and pass the opposition into oblivion, seemingly
incapable of feeling fatigue. Is he, as he maintained yesterday, not as a
good a player as Murray
Not again! The umbrellas went up soon after the resumption of Murray's match on Tuesday afternoon
Blown away: No 16 seed Cilic was no match for the impressive Murray on Court No 1
The 12-month rankings agree, although
the arguably more reliable season's 'race' does not. While Murray is
listed one place above Ferrer at four, the positions are switched when
2012 is looked at in isolation, with the Spaniard having a points
advantage of 3,395 to 2,600.
His immediate form is also superior,
having won the ATP event in Holland on grass the week before Wimbledon
and compiling a winning streak of eight matches on the turf. No wonder
Murray laughed when he was described to him as a 'clay-court
The last time they met was on the
dirt four weeks ago at the same stage of the French Open, with Ferrer
winning in four sets, but while he would choose that environment for a
duel the 25-year-old Scot would probably opt for grass.
Brit of alright: Murray stretches for a ball on Court No 1 on Tuesday afternoon
Andy's girls: Murray's mum, Judy, and girlfriend, Kim Sears, in the stands at the All England Club
Those who witnessed Ferrer's
surprise demolition of Juan Martin del Potro yesterday marvelled at just
how well he played, but the way Murray dealt with Cilic suggested he is
equipped for the task.
When Murray met Ferrer in Paris the
features of the match were the British player's inability to hold serve
after securing a break and the vulnerability of his forehand when moved
wide to his right.
Against Cilic, though, his serve was
impressive and his movement on to the forehand is superior on grass to
the slightly awkward way he slides on the clay.
Up next: Murray will face the in-form Ferrer for a place in the Wimbledon semi-final
Coach Ivan Lendl has made it a
priority to beef up Murray's second serve and it looks to be paying off,
with 71 per cent of points won against the Croat.
There were also 16 aces delivered
against a player with a massive wingspan so, even though Ferrer is an
outstanding returner, there is some encouragement for what is going to
be a key battleground. In the end it mattered little that they did not
come out until noon yesterday as the match was completed, although one
of the scheduling puzzles at this year's Championships was the decision
not to get under way at 11.30am, like the other outside courts.
Pop star: The Saturdays' member Molly King (right) watched Murray's impressive win over Cilic
What's going on Murray speaks to the umpire as rain starts to fall again on Tuesday
After Rafael Nadal, the most missed
man at this year's event might be former chief executive Ian Ritchie,
recently departed to rugby, with his wealth of Wimbledon experience. It
has been a baptism of fire (or rainwater) for his successor Richard
Lewis, who has relatively little 'live' event experience.
At least they were on court very
promptly, unlike, say, at the rain-threatened French Open final, when
Nadal and Novak Djokovic did not start until 20 minutes past the
Murray, resuming at 7-5, 3-1, kept
his focus either side of the rain delays, highlighting his supreme ease
of movement on the turf for someone 6ft 3in, running like a gazelle and
not once slipping over despite the greasy surface.
All the shots: British No 1 Murray hits a backhand during his demolition of the Croatian
Great Scot: Murray looked comfortable despite all of the stoppages due to persistent rain
He added to the existing break when
he took the second set, Cilic reluctant to get up from his chair
afterwards in the steady drizzle. Strangely that was a precursor to the
most awkward game that Murray faced, with Cilic, the 16th seed, forcing
four break points at the start of the third.
There are certain signs you pick up
that tell you Murray is feeling good about himself, and one was the way
he pulled out excellent first serves, including two aces, when faced
with going behind.
Danger lurking: The Scotsman could face Tsonga in the last four
Another was his willingness to keep
trying the drop shot which, while not working every time, succeeded
often enough to keep his opponent guessing. The decisive break came for
3-1 and he romped home after that, the business done by 2.10pm.
Now for Spain's Mighty Mouse, with
the winner to face either No 6 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or German
outsider Philipp Kohlschreiber. One thing we know for certain is that
between them they will produce a first-time Wimbledon finalist.
Put it there: The two competitors shake hands at the end of the three-set match