LONDON — Never has a routine, straight-sets victory been so remarkable.
Britain’s Andy Murray brought a small sense of order to Wacky Wednesday at Wimbledon. In a day of stunning upsets, ill-timed injuries and slips and biffs on the grass, his match was ordinary, his scoreline routine.
His 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan was notable only for not being notable — one of the rare times that could be said on a day when Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova lost, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga quit, Victoria Azarenka didn’t even start and five more players, including the man who beat Rafael Nadal earlier in the week, also went out with injuries.
“You have to concentrate on yourself,” Britain’s top player said. “I think when a lot of players get injured, the one thing is, you may be a little tentative yourself at the beginning of the matches, maybe not feel that comfortable throwing yourself around the court. But after the first few games, that normally goes away.”
Second-seeded Murray served 11 aces and hit 41 winners to only 14 unforced errors during his 2 hours, 1 minute on Court 1, the same court where Azarenka slipped during her match Monday, twisted her knee and, as it turns out, hit her last shot of Wimbledon 2013.
“The court was not in a very good condition that day,” Azarenka said after announcing she’d withdrawn.
Murray, however, reported no issues with his footing.
“I felt fine in my matches, to be honest,” he said.
He is seeking to become the first British man to win his country’s Grand Slam tournament since 1936. All by itself, that makes every appearance of his at Wimbledon a pressure-packed, headline-producing affair throughout London.
Given the way the draw is opening up, Murray should expect more of the same over the next 11 days — or however long he lasts.
“I don’t know what will be written,” he said. “But I just have to take care of what’s going on on my side of the court, practice well, prepare well for the matches, try and concentrate on each one at a time. I’ve done a good job of that the last few years.”
It helped him get the Olympic gold medal last year, captured here at the All England Club. He followed that by winning first Grand Slam trophy at the U.S. Open.
Still, Wimbledon is — well — Wimbledon and Britain is hungry for a champion it can call its own.
When the draw first came out, Murray was looking at a possible matchup against third-seeded Federer or fifth-seeded Nadal in the semifinals en route to a possible second straight final. On the other side of the draw stood top-seeded Novak Djokovic, with none of the sport’s Big Four in his way.
Nadal was gone Monday. Now, Federer is gone, too. As is Tsonga, the sixth-seeded Frenchman who was in Murray’s quarter of the draw but withdrew with an injury to his left knee.
“I tried, but no chance for me to beat a guy like this without my legs,” Tsonga said after quitting down 2 sets to 1 against Ernests Gulbis.
Murray’s next match is against 32nd-seeded Tommy Robredo, who topped Nicolas Mahut on Wednesday. The only other seeds left in Murray’s quarter are No. 20 Mikhail Youzhny and No. 22 Juan Monaco. But to Murray, any thoughts of looking farther down the bracket than Friday’s match are as silly as they were when the draw came out and tennis fans were abuzz about the potential Federer-Nadal quarterfinal.
“Everybody was so obsessed with how the draw was before the tournament started,” Murray said. “Now everybody wants to change their views on it because a few guys have lost. There’s top players still left in the tournament, and there’s a lot of young guys as well coming through. Those sort of players are starting to break through and play more consistently. I’ll just concentrate on my next match.”
About those young guys and the state of men’s tennis, which, for one day at least, looked more unpredictable than it has in years, Murray said the consistency of the top players has been amazing.
“But that is not going to last forever,” he said. “When guys have slight dips in form, some of the younger guys start to improve and raise their level, then that’s going to be tough to maintain for a long period. There’s been a lot of depth in the men’s game for a long time. I think it’s just now the results are starting to show that.”