Andy Murray last night hailed his brother Jamie for helping boost his prospects of reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals.
Vasek Pospisil, Murray’s next opponent in the singles, was taken to five sets in the doubles last night by Jamie Murray and his partner, John Peers, meaning the Canadian had played ten sets of tennis in one day.
Murray learned of his older brother’s eventual victory as he sat in a press briefing after his own victory over Ivo Karlovic. The Scot took care of his side of business by beating Karlovic in four sets, 7-6, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash with a weary Pospisil.
The Canadian won his own last 16 clash yesterday against Viktor Troicki after coming back from two sets down on Court No 12. He then had to return to the same court with doubles partner Jack Sock to play a doubles match against Jamie Murray and Peers. Pospisil and Sock, the defending champions, lost to Murray and Peers, 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 3-6, 8-6.
This result rounded off a good day for the Scottish competitors at Wimbledon yesterday. As well as wins for both Murray brothers, there were notable victories in the girls’ junior tournament. Glasgow’s Anna Brogan defeated Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-2, while Maia Lumsden overcame Dalma Galfi, the third seed from Hungary, 7-5, 6-3.
Andy Murray praised both these feats later but saved his deepest gratitude for brother Jamie, who helped further Pospisil’s workload yesterday evening. The Canadian has now played three five setters in the singles and one in the doubles.
He was involved in more than six hours of tennis yesterday alone. Pospisil now has one day to recuperate before stepping out against the No 3 seed, whom he has not beaten in three meetings.
But Murray is alert to the danger posed by Pospisil, who has already overcome the challenge of a home favourite when beating James Ward in the third round on Saturday.
“He’s had a good run here,” acknowledged Murray. “He obviously won the doubles here last year. He can play well on the surface. He’s also played a lot of tennis here, which, you know, is a positive for him in some ways.
“But also maybe he’s a little bit fatigued,” he added. “So if that is the case – and I won’t bank on that being the case – I’ll try to use that to my advantage. Although my match was quite long today, the rallies aren’t particularly long, and it’s not as physical. So I feel pretty fresh.”
Murray was delighted to look up and see his brother and Peers had just won the winning point against Pospisil and Sock, clenching his fists in celebration.
In answer to one question, he doubted that his appreciation would stretch to taking Jamie out for dinner. However, he conceded that the extra effort was likely to have “fatigued” Pospisil further. Murray was simply relieved to have negotiated the considerable obstacle of Karlovic, in a match that lasted a little over three hours on Centre Court and was predictably close.
“I’ve played him enough to have an understanding of his game,” said Murray, who still has a 100 per cent record against Karlovic, winning all six of their meetings.
“I was expecting nothing different to what I got today. I expected it to be a very difficult match. I expected a lot of the sets to come down to one or two points, and that was the case. I’m happy that I got that match under my belt, managed to win it, because it could easily have gone the other way. Often he comes out on top in matches like that.”
Pospisil later reflected on what had truly been a “manic Monday” – as yesterday has been dubbed at Wimbledon because every player is involved. Few have such arduous days as he experienced, however. “It’s been a long day and I am pretty tired now but I have a day off tomorrow, so that is good,” he said. As for the challenge of facing Murray, probably on Centre Court, he added: “He’s had great results here over the years. Obviously, you know, he’s one of the big four, as they say. But I think I’m serving well, I’m playing well, and I will have a good day of rest tomorrow.
“I know I will have my hands full and I have to go out there and play to the best of my abilities. And that’s what I plan on doing.”