Wimbledon: No drama as ruthless Andy Murray storms to victory
ANDY Murray cast a spell over Nikolay Davydenko on Centre Court yesterday in one of the most one-sided contests seen at Wimbledon so far this year.
JK Rowling had already left her seat in the Royal Box, but Murray kept the cauldron of expectation bubbling with an imperious victory. As far as the Scot and his legion of fans are concerned, it’s one down, six to go.
Not every opponent will be as compliant as Davydenko, however. His spikiness off the court was not reflected in his rather submissive demeanour on it. He had not enamoured himself to Murray, with some pre-match comments which saw him side with the likes of Virginia Wade and Tommy Haas in questioning the foundation for the Scot’s injury complaints. Davydenko could barely look at Murray at the net when they shook hands at the end of 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 win. It was a sign, perhaps, that he regretted suggesting the Scot could be a wily customer.
There was no gamesmanship required here. Murray did not face a break point on his serve in the entire match. He committed only six unforced errors, all of them coming in a slightly more competitive third set. It lasted for what seemed like an age – 40 minutes. The first one was done and dusted in half an hour, and the second in a remarkably swift 25 minutes. The whole show was over after just over an hour and a half. Murray threw his sweat bands to the crowd, as per norm. It was a more hygienic gift for his fans than is often the case here.
This was not one of the Murray-sponsored epics. No-one felt the need to sweat on Centre Court. Indeed, the atmosphere felt almost downbeat at times, not that Murray was helping. He was going about his work as efficiently as he could. Nobody had cause to get worked up.
Unlike the Russians who have moved in with ease in their monied thousands in areas nearby, Davydenko failed miserably in his attempt to annex Centre Court. Murray turfed him out quicker than it takes a Scottish Premier League club to say no to newco these days.
The crown of his bald head was not the only thing exposed as Davydenko struggled from the word go, losing the first two points of his first service game to Murray. He managed to hold this first game of the first set eventually. But it was a struggle. And it did not got any easier for someone who made it harder and harder to credit that he had once risen to the heady heights of No 3 in the world. His record did not seem so wretched against Murray prior to last night. The Scot only led 5-4 on head-to-head meetings and Davydenko had prevailed in their Grand Slam clash at the US Open six years ago. This, however, was their first meeting on grass. And Murray does not lose in the first round at Wimbledon. Davydenko, on the other hand, does. He was eliminated at the same stage last year as well, when, as the 29th seed, he lost to Bernard Tomic. The downward trajectory of his career is demonstrated by the fact he was unseeded here this time, hence the Herculean assignment he was handed yesterday on Centre Court.
There were huge cheers when he managed to hold a service game in the second set to make it 1-3. It was the first time he had managed to hold serve since the opening game. That said, at the speed with which Murray was putting his opponent to the sword, it didn’t seem so long ago.
Where was the drama? Where was the agony? There was none of the usual anguish associated with British tennis here. Notably, Murray kept his own emotions under check. There was barely evidence of a grimace as he shot Davydenko down with a ruthless display.
If his fitness is an issue, it did not show. But then greater and more physically imposing tests could await.
The 6ft 7in Ivo Karlovic’s match against Israel’s Dudi Sela, the victor of which meets Murray, was suspended last night, with the Czech Republic giant two sets in front. Murray has struggled against the bigger, more powerful servers in the past. Davydenko is not one of those and was swatted aside.
Murray might not have been impressed by some pre-match comments from Davydenko, who had suggested that his injury woes – or perceived injury woes – were down to a “Scottish thing”. Davydenko had added: “Sometimes he walks on court, he looks tired, like he doesn’t want to run any more and then he runs like an animal. He has done that all his career.”
Nothing could have been further from the case here. This was a show of ruthlessness from Murray which bodes well for the rest of the tournament. Now the hope is that his form remains more consistent than the weather, which turned for the worse yesterday evening, and forced Murray’s compatriot Jamie Baker off Court No 1 as he battled gamely against Andy Roddick.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
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