Murray’s fairytale Wimbledon victory fit for a Queen

June 24th, 2010 - 10:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Maria Sharapova By Bill Scott
London, June 24 (DPA) Scot Andy Murray turned in a command performance on court as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II made her first visit to Wimbledon in more than three decades in time for her subject’s 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 defeat of Jarkko Nieminen Thursday.

The bemused Nieminen, a proud Finn from one of northern Europe’s strongest democracies, played along with the ancient pomp and ceremony demanded under British royal protocol.

Both players looked only slightly out of their element as they dropped their bulging tennis bags and bowed - somewhat stiffly - to the Centre court Royal Box before and after the match which sent Murray safely into the third round.

“As a professional sports person, you’ve got to learn to sort of block out distractions,” said Murray. “Obviously, playing at Wimbledon, there’s pressure, various things going on every time you go out on the court.”

Nieminen was no stranger to the Wimbledon big stage, losing to former hero Tim Henman in the 2005 first round.

“I like the atmosphere. It’s maybe the best court in the world,” he said. “My playing in front of the queen was big news at home. It doesn’t happen every day and it’s a big honour to be in front of her.”

Fourth seed Murray made a breakthrough for the semi-finals a year ago and will next face Frenchman Gilles Simon, who advanced in a walkover when Ukrainian opponent Illya Marchenko was unable play due to a shoulder injury.

Two more Frenchman joined Simon after five-set wins as Julien Benneteau came back against Andreas Beck 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 and Jeremy Chardy beat Lukas Lacko 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-7(5-7), 8-6.

“It was a good match, he’s a tough player,” said Murray. “He doesn’t give you many free points. I served very well, which is good.

“Obviously it was quite a big occasion, but you try and prepare for it the same as every match.”

The Queen seemed entertained by the contest which ended in Murray’s favour after just over 90 minutes, with the Scot slamming 18 aces and breaking his 67th-ranked opponent on four occasions.

Both men were taken up to All England Club headquarters to meet the Queen as she made her departure after a three-and-a-half hour visit, her first to the tennis since 1977. That was the year that Virginia Wade won the women’s title, which leaves some momentary reason for optimism.

The last British man to claim the singles trophy was Fred Perry in 1936, almost three-quarters of a century ago.

Murray improved to 3-0 over Nieminen and takes a 3-1 mark into his meeting with Simon, just back from a long-running knee injury.

“It’s a long time since I played a match against a really top player in a Slam,” said Simon. “But I’m not in my best shape and Andy is a very good player.

“I’m fully recovered, but I can still feel the pain. For the maybe next two months, or three months, there are still a risk for me.”

The women’s draw began taking shape on Day four as a quartet of seeds earned easy wins into the third round. The four matches produced a total of just 14 games lost for winners.

Polish seventh seed Agnieszka Radwanska beat Alberta Brianti 6-2, 6-0 while tenth seed Flavia Pennetta got one back for Italy with her ouster of Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-1, 6-1.

The 14th-seeded Victoria Azarenka put out Serb Bojana Jovanovski 6-1, 6-4 as 2004 champion Maria Sharapova, seeded 16th, hammered Ioana Raluca Olaru of Romania 6-1, 6-4.

Two more Romanians also exited as Edina Gallovits and Alexandra Dulgheru were also eliminated.

In later showcase matches, defending champion Serena Williams was playing Russian Anna Chakvetadze while second-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki was taking on Kai-Chen Chang of Taiwan.

Men’s second seed Rafael Nadal was aiming for the third round as he played Robin Haase of the Netherlands.

And there was also the completion of the John Isner v Nicolas Mahut record-shatterer which was due to enter its third day at 59-59 in the fifth set after exactly 10 hours of overall play since Tuesday.

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