Young challenger Andy Murray marched into the last 16 of Wimbledon on Saturday, while comparative veterans Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt issued reminders that they are far from spent forces.
British third seed Murray trounced 30th-seeded Serb Viktor Troicki 6-2 6-3 6-4, needing just one hour and 36 minutes to maintain his hopes of reaching the final at SW19 for the first time. The 23-year-old Scot is on this form the most likely player to stand in the way of Roger Federer’s bid for a sixth title, in the absence of injured world No. 1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal. Murray will next play Federer’s compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka after the 19th-seeded Swiss battled to a 5-7 7-5 6-3 6-3 victory against unseeded American Jesse Levine. He is seeking to become the first British man to win the title since Fred Perry in 1936, and came into the tournament on the back of his breakthrough first win at London’s Queen’s Club grass warm-up event. Wawrinka has won three of seven outings against Murray, but they have never before met on grass. “We practice a lot together and last week we practiced together before the tournament,” Wawrinka said. “But when you are on the match you focus on the game and you try to win the match. That’s it.
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“I think it’s going to be a big match. Andy is playing very well. He’s improved a lot. He’s playing great since the start of the tournament.” Sixth seed Roddick, who lost the 2004 and 2005 finals to Federer, was pushed hard before beating Jurgen Melzer 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-3 after almost three hours on court. The American had defeated the Austrian 26th seed in their previous eight encounters, but had to dig deep before setting up a clash with Czech 20th seed Tomas Berdych — who crushed Russian 12th seed Nikolay Davydenko 6-2 6-3 6-2 . “Considering the way he served in the first two sets, I was glad to get through with a two-set lead,” said the 26-year-old, who has dropped a set in each of his three matches this year. “I was having trouble getting a read on it. He was hitting all of his spots. “I’ve played him a lot of times. That’s the best he’s served against me.” Last year Roddick was knocked out in the second round by Janko Tipsarevic, but insists he is better prepared this time. “I probably even shouldn’t have played here last year,” he said. “I went into matches hoping for a good result as opposed to feeling like I was prepared and deserved a good result. This year I’m a lot more prepared. I’ve played a lot more tennis. That’s a huge thing.” Hewitt, the 2002 champion, notched his third successive straight-sets victory when he disposed of unseeded German Philipp Petzschner 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. The Australian former world No. 1, continuing his rehabilitation from hip surgery, reached the last 16 for the sixth year in a row. His next opponent, Radek Stepanek, is in doubt after suffering a knee injury during his 7-5 7-5 3-6 4-6 6-4 third-round win over Spanish 16th seed David Ferrer. “Hopefully, I’ll be all right,” the Czech 23rd seed told reporters. “I just called my doctor and, if he can show up right away and try to help me get ready for my match, I’ll be ready to battle again. “When I hit the ball, I felt there was something wrong with the knee. When I came back to serve, my knee didn’t respond, it just broke down. I couldn’t even stand on the leg so I had to stop and call the physio. “I thought, ‘I’m gonna retire,’ but slowly the pain was leaving and I was able to play with the tape. It was actually very uncomfortable but I was able to play and that was for me the most important thing.” In Saturday’s other matches, eighth seed Gilles Simon of France progressed into the fourth round with a 6-2 7-5 6-2 win against Romanian 31st seed Victor Hanescu. He will next play unseeded Spanish claycourt specialist Juan Carlos Ferrero, who ousted Chilean 10th seed Fernando Gonzalez 4-6 7-5 6-4 4-6 6-4 in an epic clash. Ferrero, who climbed to the top of the world rankings in 2003 after winning his only Grand Slam, the French Open, will be seeking to emulate his effort of making the quarter-final stage two years ago. Tommy Haas also progressed into the fourth round after completing a 7-5 7-5 1-6 6-7 (3-7) 10-8 victory against Croatian 11th seed Marin Cilic, with the four-hour match having been halted at 6-6 in the deciding set due to bad light on Friday evening. The German 24th seed earned a clash against Igor Andreev, with the Russian 24th seed beating unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (8-6).