x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray still on course to Wimbledon final

British No 1 says weight of nation's hopes will not hold him back as he continues his march.

Andy Murray took to the practice courts on Tuesday to prepare for his quarter-final match against Spain's Fernando Verdasco.
Andy Murray took to the practice courts on Tuesday to prepare for his quarter-final match against Spain's Fernando Verdasco.

Andy Murray insists he can cope with the burden of shouldering a nation's growing expectations that he will finally end the 77-year wait for a British man to win Wimbledon.

Murray was in commanding form once again as he swept into the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 win over Russian 20th seed Mikhail Youzhny on Monday.

The world No 2 has yet to drop a set in his first four matches and looked more at ease than ever in the All England Club spotlight as he prepares for a quarter-final clash with Spain's Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday.

Losing to Roger Federer in last year's Wimbledon final provoked a tearful response from Murray.

But, after winning the US Open and an Olympic gold at Wimbledon last year, Murray has appeared increasingly in command of his emotions both on and off court and he is in no doubt the pressure will not affect him.

"There's always pressure coming into this event and it builds with each match," Murray said.

"But I've dealt with it well over my career. I've played well at Wimbledon. It's been consistently my best slam over the course of my career.

"So that's partly down to the surface and partly down to enjoying playing in front of a home crowd and being able to kind of block everything else out – I work extremely hard to give myself the best chance to do well here."

Murray admitted he effectively lives in a bubble during the tournament to ensure he does not get wrapped up in the inevitable hysteria that builds as he progresses towards the final.

Top seed Novak Djokovic, in pursuit of a second title at the All England Club, will be contesting his 17th consecutive major quarter-final against 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych.

The Czech beat six-time grand slam winner Djokovic in their only previous clash on grass – at Wimbledon in 2010 – and in their most recent meeting, but the Serb will be more eager to rely on the overall 13-2 win-loss record he holds when the two lock horns on Wednesday.

Spanish fourth-seed David Ferrer takes on the Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who broke into the big time when he won the 2009 US Open but has not made it to the final four of a grand slam since.

Wednesday’s showcourt action

Centre court

D Ferrer (4) v J M del Potro (8)

F Verdasco v A Murray (2)

Court One

N Djokovic (1) v T Berdych (7)

L Kubot v J Janowicz (24)


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