Andy Murray reaches fourth round
LONDON -- Olympic champion Andy Murray continued his perfect start to Wimbledon with a straight-sets victory over Tommy Robredo to reach the fourth round of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament on Friday.
Playing under the retractable roof on Centre Court because of persistent rain, Murray was in control throughout and advanced with a clinical 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 win.
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The second-seeded Murray, who missed the French Open because of a back injury, has yet to lose a set at the All England Club this year. He warmed up for Wimbledon by winning at Queen's Club.
"I played my best match of the tournament so far," said Murray, who no longer has Federer or Rafael Nadal in his half of the draw and remains on course to meet No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.
After losing to Roger Federer in the final last year, he is again bidding to become the first Briton to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.
Murray was dominant in beating the 29th-ranked Robredo. It was Murray's 14th straight match win on grass, a run that goes back to last year's London Olympics, where he beat Federer for the gold medal.
Murray lost serve only once and finished with 40 winners against 14 errors.
"I struck the ball very well from the start of the match," he said. "I had a lot of winners tonight and that was probably the most pleasing part because I did not serve very well on the first couple of matches. I hope I can keep playing better."
Also Friday, the player who stunned Federer in one of Wimbledon's greatest upsets didn't stick around very long. Two days after eliminating the seven-time champion on Centre Court, Sergiy Stakhovsky fell to Jurgen Melzer in four sets.
The 116th-ranked Ukrainian couldn't replicate the serve-and-volley magic that stifled Federer, losing 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 to the left-handed Austrian. While Federer struggled with Stakhovsky's serve, Melzer broke him six times.
"I'm just a little disappointed that I got so blinded by the game I produced with Roger that I kept going with the same game I played against Jurgen, which was just not right," Stakhovsky said.
For the second straight day, play was disrupted by rain and the sliding roof was closed over Centre Court. Four singles matches didn't start and were rescheduled for Saturday.
In a tournament jolted by a rash of injuries and upsets, the player who caused the biggest surprise of them all came crashing back to earth.
Stakhovsky had snapped Federer's streak of reaching 36 Grand Slam quarterfinals on Wednesday, beating perhaps the game's greatest all-time player on the biggest stage in the sport.
On Friday, he was out on Court 3 and couldn't maintain his level of play against Melzer, a 32-year-old all-court player who has reached at least the fourth round of every Grand Slam.
Still, Stakhovsky will always have that momentous victory to hold onto.
"Nobody is going to take it away from me," he said. "If someone would ask me, 'Would you rather beat Roger and lose in next round?' I would always take it, obviously."
Stakhovsky said he struggled to cope with all the distractions and media interviews that came his way after the Federer match.
"It was quite hard for me because yesterday was a busy day," he said. "Everybody wanted to chat. Everybody wanted a piece. It just takes some time and energy off.
"Next time if I'm able to produce such a result, beating a top player on a Grand Slam or any other event, I'll be more prepared and I will know how to behave myself. Today was just a new experience for me which I was not prepared for. `'
Melzer said he didn't care about the pressures on Stakhovsky and just came into the match ready to beat him with his serve returns.
"You go out there and show him that I'm not Roger Federer and I can return his serve and make him play tough volleys," he said. "That was my goal today."
Melzer converted six of his seven break-point chances. He finished with a break, hitting a forehand crosscourt return on match point. The Austrian had more winners (47 to 44) and fewer errors (16 to 20) than Stakhovsky.
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Stakhovsky, who called for the trainer and had his right ankle taped in the first set, kept coming to the net even though Melzer was zeroing in on his serve.
"In general if I would say about my match, I think I just played stupid," the Ukrainian said. "It would be, I think, the exact word of showing how I should not play Jurgen. I should have realized that somewhere in the end of the second set."
In other men's play, Ferrer won an all-Spanish encounter against Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the third round for a sixth consecutive year.
Ferrer advanced with a scrappy 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 win in a match originally scheduled for Thursday but pushed back because of rain. He will next face No. 26 Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Melzer will face Janowicz, who served 30 aces and beat Almagro 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-4 on Centre Court to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the first time.
Only six men and four women -- 10 total -- among the top 10 seeds reached the third round -- tying the performance at Wimbledon in 1996 (four men, six women) and the French Open in 1998 (two men, eight women).
It's the worst performance by the top 10 women's seeds at any Slam in the Open era. The previous low was five at the 2001 French Open.
In another twist, this tournament has produced the fewest five-set matches (12) over the first two rounds at Wimbledon in the Open era. The previous record was 13 in 1981.
Among the early casualties in the men's draw was Grigor Dimitrov, one of the rising stars in tennis. He was eliminated in the second round in a five-set, rain-delayed match that lasted more than four hours over two days.
Zemlja hit a forehand passing shot on his sixth match point to become the first Slovenian to reach the third round at the All England Club.
Dimitrov is known as "Baby Fed" for a playing style, especially his one-handed backhand in the manner of Federer's. But like Federer, Dimitrov failed to get to Round 3.
Despite predictions that he could be the next big thing in tennis, Dimitrov has yet to make a breakthrough on the big stage. His best showing so far in a Grand Slam was the third round at last month's French Open.
"Things happen I guess for a reason," Dimitrov said. "But it's a good learning curve for me. I'm going to step out strong for the upcoming weeks."
While the 22-year-old Dimitrov is going home early, the 35-year-old Haas is moving ahead. The 13th-seeded German beat qualifier Jimmy Wang of Taiwan 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 to make the third round for the eighth time.
Playing some of the best tennis of his career at age 35, Tommy Haas -- who has dual German-American citizenship -- reached the third round for the first time since 2009.
Asked whether he'd be comfortable being identified as the last American standing, Haas smiled and said: "You can write that, sure. That's fine with me."
The 13th-seeded Haas had considered playing as an American -- and briefly even had the ATP website list him as an American when he first became a U.S. citizen in January 2010 -- but then decided to remain loyal to Germany.
"If you had a German-American flag, I would represent that flag but it doesn't exist," Haas said. "In the long run I played for Germany for too long."
The 13th-seeded Haas never faced a break point Friday and will face Feliciano Lopez on Saturday.
"He is obviously feeling pretty good, no question about it, winning in Eastbourne," Haas said about Lopez. "He's been in the quarters here three times in his career. I'm going to have to play extremely well to have a chance to win that match."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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