WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND (AP) - Andy Murray showed off his new favorite trick shot to an enraptured Centre Court crowd Friday.
He’s used it twice in recent weeks, including in the 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory over Ivan Ljubicic that took him into the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Midway through the fourth set, Ljubicic hit a short ball, and Murray hopped in the air, brought his racket behind his back and casually flicked a shot through his legs. The ball floated over the net and landed in for a cross-court winner.
It was nearly identical to a shot Murray hit during his victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final of the Queen’s Club grass-court tournament on June 13.
“It’s just one of those things that you’re just in the right position. I tried it at Queen’s and I tried it a couple of times in practice since. I haven’t missed one yet. You look like a plonker (idiot) when you do, so I’m glad I made it,” Murray said. “It’s one of those shots that you don’t get a chance to try them very often and, luckily, I’ve pulled it off a couple times the last few weeks.”
He hasn’t thought of a name for it yet.
“I’ve never really seen anyone do it before,” he said. “So I don’t know.”
His next chance to show it off will come against Richard Gasquet in the fourth round Monday.
Walking off court at almost 10 p.m. Friday, Murray found himself in the familiar position of carrying British hopes into the second week of Wimbledon on his own.
“Yeah, I’m used to it,” he said. “It’s been like that the last few years.”
In six appearances since 2005, Murray has only once failed to make the second week. In that time, none of his British compatriots have managed to stay around that long.
All three of the British men who received wild cards this year lost in the first round. Three women advanced to the second round _ although one of them beat another British player.
Elena Baltacha and Laura Robson bowed out of the women’s tournament in the second round Friday. But their performances were good enough to prevent the familiar gloom surrounding British tennis to descend.
Baltacha, the highest-ranked British woman at No. 68, lost 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 to 20th-seeded Peng Shuai. Robson threatened to pull off a major upset when she took a 4-1 lead in the first set against 2004 champion Maria Sharapova, but went down 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Big things have been expected of the 17-year-old Robson since she won the junior title at Wimbledon in 2008. But she has recently struggled with injury, and also had to contend with a growth spurt. She is ranked 254th and won her first Grand Slam match in the opening round this week.
Serving big and holding her own from the baseline, Robson troubled Sharapova but the gulf in experience told in the end. Now comes the tough part for Robson.
“I think it’s really easy to play well on a day like this where you’ve got a big stage,” Robson said. “You’re playing against a top-10 player, especially someone like Maria.
“And so it’s going to be hard going back to the lower tournaments, but it’s something that you’ve got to do to earn the right to play on such a big court again.”
For Murray, another Centre Court appearance beckons Monday against the 17th-seeded Gasquet, a repeat of a fourth-round match in 2008 which Gasquet led by two sets before losing in five.
“He’s a very talented player,” Murray said. “I played him many times. I grew up playing with him. He was always one of the best juniors growing up. He’s been in the top 10 in the world before. He’s beaten Federer a few months ago in Rome. He’s a tough guy.”
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