It might have been tipping down outside but on Centre Court a full house luxuriated in the warmth of Andy Murray’s genius as the second seed marched into the last 16 of the gentlemen's singles with a 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 win over Tommy Robredo, the No.32 seed, in two hours, one minute.
It was Murray’s third consecutive straight-sets victory and by some distance his most impressive so far at the 2013 Championships.
His serve was consistently brilliant and his groundstrokes had his Spanish opponent hurtling from side to side trying to retrieve what always looked a lost cause once the Scot hit his stride early in the opening set and maintained his level of high skill until the last ball of a vastly entertaining match, a Robredo forehand return, which struck the tape and fell back on to the Spanish side.
For his part Robredo, who had also arrived in the third round without conceding a set, could not have tried harder, or played better. His tennis was as robust as the red wines of his Catalonian homeland but on the day it was the majestic Murray who called the tune for long stretches.
On a day when rainfall came and went, the Centre Court roof was called into play, something which Murray regards with less than full approval because it tends to slow down the exchanges when he is keen to be revving up to full speed. If this was a handicap, though, it didn’t show.
Robredo raised a few eyebrows by opening with a 124mph ace and held serve comfortably. The next time he stepped up on service, however, Murray cashed in on his very first break point when his deep forehand forced Robredo into a hasty prod into the netting.
It got worse for Robredo in his next service game when he built a 40-0 lead only to see it overhauled, and Murray went 4-1 ahead when the Spaniard miscued a forehand.
There was a slight setback to the script when Murray proceeded to lose his own serve on an unwise drop shot but from there he found another gear to capture the opening set in 35 minutes.
It was a set in which Robredo held serve just once, and he was broken again at the start of the second set by Murray’s exquisite backhand pass.
There were near squeaks for both men subsequently, but no more breaks of serve as Murray moved into a two-set lead with one hour 19 minutes gone.
Though both men began to tire in the final set the standard of tennis remained high. Robredo could make nothing of the Murray serve, and the Scot conceded just five points in six games.
The crucial break did not come until the eleventh game as errors began to creep into the Spaniard’s game and when Murray served for the match the first point showed that it was bound to be his night, as an outrageously lucky net cord fell dead on the Spanish side.
Robredo averted one match point – and then came that final net cord which sank his hopes.
Murray, whose winning streak on grass is now 14, said it was a match in which every set got tougher. "But I hit the ball really, really well from the back of the court from the first game. But he's a really fit guy and fights for every single point and you need to be ready for that. But I played well, my best match of the tournament so far."
Asked what the departure of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal from his side of the draw had meant, Murray said, "There's a lot more pressure on me now with them being out but you need to be professional enough not to let the papers and stuff bother you and just concentrate on each match."
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
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