Hot stuff from Murray
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:36
The British number one went through his shot-making repertoire to defeat Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis 6-2 7-5 6-3 in just one hour and 28 minutes.
It was an impressive demolition from Murray, who stepped up a gear from his unconvincing first-round win against American Robert Kendrick.
And it was a timely one too on a day when Elena Baltacha went out of the women’s singles to leave Murray flying the British flag at these championships.
“I served really great,” said Murray. “I didn’t give him many opportunities at all. I served a lot better than the first match. I had a few nerves and tension in the first match but today I was a bit more relaxed and it was good.
“I was very happy with the way I played. If I serve like that for the rest of the tournament I’ll have a good chance.”
The first set merely proved the variety of shot-making in the Murray game. One sliced backhand lob had Gulbis scrambling embarrassingly. One drop-shot winner from behind the baseline was masterful in its execution.
His feet were quicker, his mind more creative, his serve more solid. So much so that he won 16 straight points on serve while breaking the Gulbis serve twice. It was a set guaranteed to create uncertainty in his opponent and Gulbis looked like a man whose ranking has tumbled from 53 to 74 this year.
The second set was much more competitive, Gulbis showing glimpses of the talent which had seen him defeat Tim Henman at the French Open two years ago in the first round. But the Murray serve was in fine shape and he simply waited for his chance and he finally engineered the crucial break in the 11th game, drawing the error on the Gulbis backhand before serving out impressively.
The third set was just as convincing, the vital break coming in the third game, and Murray finished off the match with another break courtesy of a ripping forehand cross-court pass on match point. For Murray it is two down and five to go. And the game is coming on nicely.