LONDON (Reuters) - Early in the third set of Andy Murray’s Wimbledon quarter-final against Canadian Vasek Pospisil the Centre Court scoreboard flashed a message warning of the impending shutdown of the London Underground.
As the capital prepared for strike-induced gridlock, however, home hope Murray stayed in the fast lane through the men’s draw, winning a rain-interrupted match 6-4 7-5 6-4 to reach his sixth All England Club semi-final where seven-times champion Roger Federer awaits.
Murray was solid rather than adventurous, which has been good enough so far to dispose of players ranked 59, 78, 27, 23 and 56, but the next hurdle standing in the way of a second Wimbledon title will be considerably higher.
The 28-year-old 2013 champion can only beat who is on the opposite side of the net though and in Pospisil he faced a player with enough in his armory to keep him on his toes, even if he rarely threatened to derail the third seed and dampen the spirits of the Pimms-drinking home crowd.
Pospisil, battle-hardened after three five-setters en route to his first grand slam quarter-final, served superbly and produced some stunning touches around the net, but only in the final game of the match did he earn a break point.
Murray duly snuffed out the danger, and with Prince William, his wife the Duchess of Cambridge and ex-England soccer captain David Beckham, watching under the Centre Court roof that slid shut after a second rain delay, he delivered the winning blow.
Unseeded Pospisil was given two warnings for slow play by French umpire Pascal Maria — the first at 5-5 30-30 in the second set and the second, which cost him a first serve, when he was broken at 4-4 in the third.
Both looked harsh and even Murray’s fans booed.
“I think a lot of times these umpires, they seem to just want to be seen,” 25-year-old Pospisil, who is yet to win a set off Murray in four meetings, told reporters.
The Briton broke in the third game of the match and after holding for 3-1 light drizzle forced the players off court.
Pospisil was 30-0 ahead on the Murray serve in the sixth game and looked poised to earn break points only to put a bounce smash into the tramlines with his opponent out of position.
A miraculous off-balance lob helped Murray close out the first set and after a second stoppage, this time to slide the roof into position after a brisk shower, he turned the screw.
Pospisil dived in vain to try and cut off a dipping backhand on break point down at 5-5 and Murray held for a two-set lead.
After that, Murray’s 150th grand slam win was a formality.
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris