The world number one and defending champion has beaten Alexander Bublik, Dustin Brown and Fabio Fognini and will face France’s Benoit Paire on Monday. What questions need answered?
How’s he looking?
Pretty good on the whole. Murray cruised through against Bublik and Brown but Fognini was a more accurate test of his form and there were some ups and downs. Murray was dictated to by the flashy Italian more than he would have liked but finished very strongly with five games in a row to avoid a fifth set.
How’s the hip?
Anyone watching Murray practise unaware of how he has been performing in matches would be alarmed. The Scot continues to limp in between points, although his movement during them has generally been good. He was not happy with that part of his game against Fognini and the two days in between matches should allow him to do a lot of good recovery work. It is a still a slight concern but not a big one.
Is he the title favourite?
Based on the first week, no. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have all looked ominously good, with Murray the only one of the big four to drop a set so far. The Scot has stepped up his form from the French Open but needs to take it up another couple of notches.
What can we expect from Paire?
Murray has specialised in unorthodox opponents this fortnight and Paire is no different. The Frenchman loves a drop shot, has one of the better backhands in the game and can become paralysed by nerves with the winning line in sight. Murray generally copes well with quirky players thanks to his own great touch but the worry is, should he win, he will have little rhythm going forward.
Who comes after Paire?
Murray’s section has really opened up, with Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Lucas Pouille and Nick Kyrgios all falling by the wayside. Should Murray beat Paire, he will play either South Africa’s Kevin Anderson or Sam Querrey of the United States, both big servers with much more straightforward games than Murray’s first four opponents. After that would very likely come a semi-final clash against Nadal.