WIMBLEDON, England – 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 merely a third-round match, 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 of Spain less than two hours later Friday to advance . And then, for a moment, try to fathom what would happen if Murray were to win the final point of The Championships, as the Grand Slam tournament is known around here, and 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 matches on grass, including runs to last year’s final at the All England Club and a London Olympics gold medal. “I did a good job of that today. I played well.
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“My best match of the tournament, so far.”
The locals are rooting for Murray to follow up his 2012 U.S. Open victory with the Wimbledon crown.
The other remaining singles player from the host country, 19-year-old Laura Robson, made her way into the third round at Wimbledon for the first time, defeating 117th-ranked qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-4, 6-1.
“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.”