Jun 27 2011 By Colin Mackenzie
Once again Andy Murray remains the last Brit standing at Wimbledon after despatching the former World ranked No 3 Ivan Lubicic in four competitive sets under the Centre Court's roof on Friday evening.
Both Laura Robson and Elena Balthacha fell in their second round matches, the former giving Maria Sharapova a real fright before losing the first set 7-6 in a tight tie break.
Murray knew he would be in a battle because Lubicic is one of the few players on the circuit to have a good record against him. They stood at three wins each in their career record with Lubicic having won the most recent encounter.
The 32-year-old Croat has a massive serve, thundering down his delivery at speeds of up to 139 mph. He had a 70 per cent success rate with his first serve too.
In contrast Murray was having some difficulty with his first serve, eventually reaching 58 per cent. But the 24-year-old Brit had the greater mobility, a facet which was eventually to tell.
After Murray took a comfort break at the end of the second set which Lubicic won 6-4 he returned a new man. He blew away the Croat 6-1, with the latter making a supreme effort to win the sixth game of the set to ensure that he served first in the fourth set.
Murray did break Lubicic's serve to go 5-4 up with his serve to follow but was immediately broken back. As the clock neared 10pm it was Murray's resolution in the tie break that eventually secured victory. He even managed the trick shot between his legs that had so delighted the crowds at Queen's Club two weeks ago.
Afterwards Murray said; "It was a tough one. We were both struggling behind our second serves. His huge returns made it difficult.
"I was just in the right position to make that (trick) shot. I haven't missed one yet but you look like a plonker if you do miss it. I felt I played well from the back of the court. I just need to serve better. I gave myself eight out of ten and I thought the match was of a high standard."
Robson, at 17 the same age as Sharapova when the latter won Wimbledon in 2004, raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening set of her match on Court One. Her powerful serve and ground strokes seemed to unsettle the Russian.
But, gradually, Sharapova found her range and although Robson led the tie break 4-2 she couldn't maintain her excellence.
In the second set Sharapova led 5-1 before Robson made a spirited recovery, eventually losing 6-3. She needs to address her lack of mobility but clearly she is a talent for the future.
Baltacha, ten years older than Robson, was in a position to beat her Chinese opponent Peng Shuai, the No 20 seed. She led 4-3, 40-15 on her serve in the final set but failed to capitalise, spraying her forehand wide on too many occasions. She lost 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Baltacha whose ranking has risen to 68 in the world has plenty of potential. But she seems to freeze at the big moments when in sight of victory. This is a tennis player's nightmare.
Andy Roddick was the biggest name to lose yesterday, going down in straight sets to big serving Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Among the women Vera Zvonareva was the biggest casualty, losing 6-2, 6-3 to Tsvetana Pironkova whom she had beaten in last year's semi final.