LONDON – British fourth seed Andy Murray powered into the quarter-finals at Wimbledon with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 win over America's Sam Querrey on Monday.
Murray came into Wimbledon on a dismal run after failing to get past the quarter-finals of any tournament since January, but the world number four has yet to drop a set in four matches at the All England Club this year.
The Scot, beaten by Andy Roddick in the semi-finals here last year, was far too strong for 18th seed Querrey and will play French 10th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the last four.
For a British public starved of home success at Wimbledon for decades, this was a perfect day - one made even sweeter as it came just 24 hours after the England football team's lacklustre exit from the World Cup against Germany.
"This was great, especially towards the end of the third set. I played really well," Murray said. "There were a few dips in the performance but I was happy with the way I played.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well but I'm looking forward to playing Tsonga in the next round. He's a fun guy to watch and it should be a good game."
So often criticised for being too passive against opponents he should be bullying into submission, Murray has been far more assertive at Wimbledon this year and he continued in that vein here.
Murray's serve had not been broken since the third game of his first round match against Jan Hajek and he fought off two break points in his opening service game against Querrey.
The Scot had won his previous three meetings with Querrey and moved a break in front when his opponent dumped a volley into the net.
But Querrey responded well and ended Murray's long run without dropping serve as he broke back in the ninth game.
Suddenly Murray looked vulnerable on serve and Querrey had three more break points in the next service game.
This time Murray was able to keep the 22-year-old at bay and he put enough pressure on Querrey to make the American crack when he served to stay in the set at 5-6.
With the first set in the bag, Murray looked firmly in control against an inconsistent opponent.
Murray briefly found himself in trouble again at 15-40 in the opening game of the second set, but even then Querrey could not take advantage and the home favourite made him pay by breaking himself in the next game.
Although Querrey, who succeeded Murray as the champion at Queen's Club earlier this month, had won his last nine matches, he never looked confident enough to put the 23-year-old under sustained pressure.
The occasional big serve or flashing winner from Querrey was often followed by a careless mistake and Murray had little trouble closing out the set.
After a tight start to the third set, Murray began to exert more pressure again whe Querrey served at 4-4.
Four times he produced sublime winners from acute angles to earn break point and, although Querrey saved the first three, there was no denying Murray a fourth time as he drove a perfect backhand past the American.
That was the knock-out blow and Murray served out the match to huge roars of acclaim from the Centre Court crowd.