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Determined Murray advances to quarter-finals

Andy Murray hits a backhand during the Olympic tennis
by Alexandra Willis
Wednesday 1 August 2012

The reaction said it all. Having completed a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Marcos Baghdatis, Andy Murray yelled to the grass and then the sky, a Nadal-like lawn-mower throttle as he did so, before adopting his now habitual point and gaze to the heavens. The man wants a medal. So much, that he hasn't even held or touched one. 

"No, no one's offered me yet," Murray said, when asked, also revealing that he watched Team GB's first two gold medals from the locker room.  "But the plan is to try to get one for yourself.  Everyone always says, you know, not to hold trophies before you actually win them.  I certainly haven't held the Wimbledon one.  I haven't held any gold medals either."

Murray admitted that he was not at his technical best during his conquest of the smiling Cypriot, something he put down to the unfamiliarity of playing with the Centre Court roof open. His first serve meandered around the 65% mark, and he only converted 50% of break points. But, 33 winners and just 15 unforced errors proved more than good enough to Baghdatis's 25 and 21 in those departments. 

"At the start of the match it was very windy and it pretty much continued that way. But, you know, after playing two matches indoors, where there's none of that to worry about, it did take me I was pretty unsure of myself at the beginning of the match, didn't feel comfortable on the court," Murray said.

"Then, yeah, managed to settle myself down and move my feet better to get in better position in the second set. Played some good tennis after that. But it was very, very different conditions to the first two rounds."

The Cypriot took advantage of Murray's slightly slow start out of the blocks to break first, Murray broke back, before Baghdatis broke again to steal the set in 46 minutes. But Murray upped his level and romped through the second, winning 90% of points on his first serve, and making just four unforced errors. 

The third was far closer, the Scot breaking early on, and clinging onto it to advance to the quarter-finals, one win from medal contention.

Their meeting, of course, came just under a month after Murray dashed to victory at 11.02pm in the third round of The Championships, something he also said was a situation to manage. 

"Well, before the match you will go over a match like that for tactics, think about the things that worked and didn't work, the things that he tried to do against you that, you know, there's a chance that he might do again," Murray explained.

"But, you know, when you're out on the court, it's not something you know, every day in sport is a different day, especially a high skill sport like tennis, things can change.  You can be timing one shot better than another on one day and, you know, you need to be able to adjust your tactics during the match.  So I'm glad I did that today."

With support for Murray building, the Centre Court crowd as raucous as it has ever been, he admitted the tension has been building. 

"When you play in front of a home crowd, the support is great.  It can push you on when you're in tough situations," Murray explained. "But with that, does also come a bit of extra pressure.  And today there was a fair amount of tension on the court.  That's probably why my celebration was what it was.  It was a release of that tension."

His next appointment is with Nicolas Almagro in the quarter-finals, a player Murray certainly won't be underestimating. 

"He's a tough player.  He takes a lot of risk on the court.  He goes for his shots, doesn't hold back.  He doesn't have loads of variation, but he can overpower you.  He has a big serve, as well. That's why he's been in the top 10 for the best part of this year."

The London 2012 Olympic tennis is taking place at Wimbledon. Visit the ITF Olympics site for full scores, draws and the London 2012 site for video content, venue and schedule information.

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