Andy Murray handed a massive boost to his chances of reaching the Wimbledon final
Andy Murray was handed a massive boost to his chances of reaching the Wimbledon final yesterday as Rafael Nadal was incredibly knocked out of the tournament.
After Murray had booked his place in the third round with victory over Ivo Karlovic, he was widely expected to be joined by Nadal. However, the Spaniard was on the receiving end of a tremendous performance from world number 100 Lukas Rosol.
The 26-year-old produced a powerful display against Nadal, showing no signs of buckling under pressure as he won in five sets. It was a tremendous match for the centre court crowd to watch and without doubt one of the biggest shocks in Wimbledon history.
Why does it benefit Murray though' Well, the Scotsman was seeded to meet Nadal in the semi-finals. This led to many believing that the British No.1 could fall at the same hurdle he has done in the last three years at SW19.
However, with Nadal out of the way, it is likely that if Murray makes it to the semi-final, he will be the favourite to progress to his first Wimbledon final. This presents him with a tremendous opportunity.
The Murray camp won't be thinking too much about this at the moment though. Regardless of whether Nadal was still involved, Murray needs to win a few matches yet to make the final four.
This includes his third round match with Marcos Baghdatis on Saturday. Another tough test for Murray, he will look to remain calm and let his superior ability do the talking.
To succeed at Wimbledon, he needs to use the home crowd to his advantage, but not get caught up in the moment. He certainly doesn't want to read too much into the fact Nadal has been knocked out.
If anything is to be taken from it, it is that shocks can happen. Murray may be the world No.4 and the home favourite, but he doesn't have a right to progress.
In fairness to Murray, his attitude has been fantastic so far. Remaining calm and professional, he has got the job done. Getting the basics right is the priority ‘ such as having a high first serve percentage ‘ and then he has the quality to produce magic moments.
As for Baghdatis, the man that will take on Murray on Saturday afternoon, he certainly has some pedigree. Back in 2006, he reached the semi-final of Wimbledon and the final at the Australian Open and this propelled him to No.8 in the world rankings.
The 27-year-old has failed to reach these heights since, but he will be confident of competing with Murray and perhaps take some inspiration from Rosol's unlikely victory.