LONDON (Reuters) - When a totally off-balance Andy Murray fashioned the most improbable lob winner to break Robin Haase in the first set on Thursday the Dutchman must have known that his 2015 Wimbledon journey was going to end sooner rather than later.
The delectable lob that bounced off the Scot’s racket gave him a 4-1 advantage and effectively broke Haase’s spirit as the 2013 champion sprinkled his opponent’s half of the court with 25 glorious winners to sprint to a 6-1 6-1 6-4 second-round win.
Thursday’s outing on a hot and humid Court One would have pleased his coach Amelie Mauresmo as it was a vast improvement on his underwhelming first-round win over Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin in which he was broken three times in the second set.
Two days on and Murray was at his imperious best as he dished out dreamy dropshots, flashy forehands and crowd-pleasing lobs to win the first set for the loss of only one point on serve.
“I was very happy with the way I played. I thought there were some things I could have done better in the first round but my opponent Kukushkin was playing unbelievably aggressive and made it very difficult for me to impose myself on the match,” Murray said courtside.
“Whereas today I did that much better, I was able to come forward and I felt I was dictating more of the baseline rallies and played a good match.
“In grand slams you have to try to conserve energy when you can because the two weeks can be quite draining physically and mentally.
“If you can get yourself off the court quickly... it can pay off toward the end of the tournament. So, yeah, I’m glad I got done quickly today.”
Murray’s rapid progress led to a sudden rush in fans flocking to a Court One that had been only 2/3 full during the 20-minute first set.
The latecomers who were forced to abandon their leisurely lunches on the leafy surroundings of the All England Club were rewarded with another Murray masterclass in the second.
After a break point in the third game was safely negotiated — with a forehand error from Haase ending that opening — Murray relentlessly ploughed on to bag the second set when the 78th-ranked Dutchman rolled a backhand into the net.
Haase had made things uncomfortable for Murray in their last meeting at the 2014 U.S. Open, when he won nine games in a row, but on Thursday winning back-to-back service games proved to be almost mission impossible.
Hence when he let out an almighty roar midway through the third set, one patron walking outside Court One was overheard asking his companion: “Has Murray just been broken?”
No, Haase had simply won two games in a set for the first time.
Haase went on to win one more game but was powerless to stop Murray from setting up a third-round date with Italian Andreas Seppi.
Editing by Ed Osmond