HELENE ELLIOTT

Andy Murray advances to fourth round at Wimbledon, feels pressure

No. 2-seeded Murray avoids the fate of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal by defeating Spain's Tommy Robredo, 6-2, 6-4, 7-5, to make it to the Wimbledon round of 16.

WIMBLEDON, England — Andy Murray feels the heavy burden of expectations now that he's safely into the fourth round and has avoided the stumbles that sent Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal home shockingly early.

"I think there's a lot more pressure on me now with them being out," said Murray, the No. 2-seeded player and Great Britain's hope for its first men's title since Fred Perry in 1936.

"I don't read the papers and stuff, but there are papers in the locker room so you see some of the headlines and stuff. It's not that helpful."

Murray didn't have to worry about generating any Doomsday headlines after his 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Tommy Robredo of Spain, a match completed under the closed roof of Centre Court while sporadic rain created havoc elsewhere.

Although Murray dislikes playing indoors because he thinks it changes the way the court plays, his performance Friday was methodical and efficient. It was his third consecutive straight-sets triumph and felt reassuring to Murray, who missed the French Open because of a back injury.

"I played my best match of the tournament so far," he said. "I hit the ball really, really well from the back of the court tonight from the first game, and that was pleasing because I served well the first couple of matches but maybe hadn't hit the ball quite as I would have liked."

Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, the serve-and-volleyer who upset Federer in the second round, saw his 15 minutes of fame end when Juergen Melzer of Austria beat him, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3. Stakhovsky acknowledged he was still coming back down to earth after beating Federer.

"Everybody wanted a piece," Stakhovsky said of the interview requests he received.

But it wasn't all bad.

"If someone would ask me, 'Would you rather beat Roger and lose in the next round?' I would always take it, obviously," he said. "I'm just a little disappointed that I got so blinded by the game I produced with Roger that I kept going with the same game against Juergen, which was not right."

Darkness halted an intriguing third-round match between No. 17 Sloane Stephens of the U.S. and Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic. Cetkovska, who upset No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark earlier in the week, had capitalized on Stephens' sloppiness to win the second set, 6-0, after Stephens had won the first set in a tiebreaker. They will resume play Saturday as the second match on Court 3.

The wave of upsets continued Friday with Kaia Kanepi of Estonia eliminating No. 7 Angelique Kerber of Germany, 3-6, 7-6, 6-3. Only four of the top 10 women's seeds and six of the top 10 men's seeds have reached the third round, the worst combined performance by top-10-seeded men's and women's players in a Grand Slam event in the Open era, according to the International Tennis Federation.

A little further down the food chain, No. 29 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria lost to Grega Zemlja of Slovenia. Dimitrov injured his ankle but fought off several match points before Zemlja won the rain-delayed match, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-9.

Dimitrov, perhaps previously best known as Maria Sharapova's boyfriend, was assumed to be the "man with a black heart" mentioned by Serena Williams in a recent Rolling Stone magazine interview that was critical of Sharapova. The subject won't die, although it should.

"You guys tell me what kind of heart I have," Dimitrov said when asked about Williams' comments. "I am here to talk about the slippery courts, how many injuries we had, pull-outs. I don't think we should be talking about that in general."

Two other seeded men advanced. No. 4 David Ferrer of Spain defeated compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5, and No. 13 Tommy Haas of Germany beat Jimmy Wang of Taipei, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. Haas has dual German and American citizenship, making him the closest thing to an American man left in the draw now that the others have gone. Asked whether American journalists can count him among their number, he smiled.

"You can write that, sure," Haas said. "That's fine with me."

Not everything is looking bad for the Americans. Pittsburgh native Alison Riske, a wild-card entrant who had never won a Grand Slam match before her first-round match here, defeated Urszula Radwanska, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, to set up a third-round match on Saturday against Kanepi. Also on Saturday, top-seeded Williams will face 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm on Court 1.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

Twitter: @helenenothelen

 

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