There was a familiar feeling that surrounded Wimbledon on Thursday. As Andy Murray dispatched his latest victim, Slovakian qualifier Blaz Rola, in what was his most decisive grand slam victory for as many as seven years, there was an aura about the Brit that suggested he may be back to his best as he looks to retain his Wimbledon crown.
The victory over Rola in the second round – which brought Murray to the impressive total of 27 wins from his last 30 grass-court games – compounded his position as a favourite to win the championship.
It appears that Murray’s new coach, Amelie Mauresmo, is to thank (or to blame if you are happen to stand in the Brit’s way!) for reviving his form at the best possible time. While Murray performances were far from considered as let-downs, they had done enough to suggest he might not be capable of a Wimbledon win this time around. The resounding 6-1 6-1 6-0 success against Rola says otherwise.
Elsewhere in the All-England Tennis club, Rafael Nadal progressed to the third round of the competition for the first time in three years, after defeating Lukas Rosol.
The Spaniard may be considered the ‘King of Clay’ but he has struggled on the grass-court in recent years, despite winning the competition twice in 2008 and 2010. Nadal could win Wimbledon for a third time in his career, although he will have to be at his best to defeat Russia’s Mikhail Kukushkin, who is 63rd in the world rankings as it stands.
Kukushkin himself may begin to think about Wimbledon victory should he defeat the nine-time French Open winner, but he will have to survive Saturday’s battle before he can afford to do so.