Defending champion Andy Murray faces the toughest test in his bid for consecutive Wimbledon titles when he meets the 29-year-old American Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The Brit sealed his place in the last eight with a straight sets dismantlement of the flamboyant Frenchman Benoit Paire, 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-4, despite briefly appearing to be troubled by injury.
Murray entered Wimbledon citing a sore hip after his exertions at the French Open but sailed through the opening three rounds with the loss of only a set – to Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
Querrey, meanwhile, outlasted the big-serving Kevin Anderson in five sets, 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-7(11), 6-3, to seal consecutive quarterfinal berths at the All-England Club.
Murray’s route to the last eight
His troubled hip certainly held up during his first round triumph over the showman Alexander Bublik as he made light work of the Kazakh, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, on Centre Court.
Dustin Brown posed an obstacle in round two after the German’s memorable win over Rafael Nadal in 2015 but Murray was equally as professional in his rout of the 32-year-old, prevailing in three comfortable sets.
His stiffest challenge came against the world number 29 Fognini on Friday evening, where the Italian threatened to take the top-seed the distance after breaking in the fourth set. However, Murray rallied and staved off set points before winning five games on the spin to emerge victorious, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. Afterward, he revealed that he was striking the ball with renewed vigor after being hampered by his sore hip during practice before the championships.
Similarly, he scarcely convinced in his fourth round victory over Paire, falling behind a break in the opening set before fighting back to take a one-sided tie-break.
Querrey’s route to the last eight
The American’s first-strike brand of tennis is well-suited to the lawns of SW19 and he kick-started his campaign with a straight sets victory over the Italian Thomas Fabbiano.
He was then pushed to four sets by Nikoloz Basilashvili before he underlined his credentials with a five-set victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Poor light forced the suspension of play on Friday – with the Frenchman serving to stay in the match – before both players re-emerged the following day and Querrey sealed the victory, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-5.
The 29-year-old is no stranger to upsets after stunning the then-formidable Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year and he will be looking to go one further this year.
Murray leads the head-to-head between the pair 7-1, with Querrey’s sole victory coming back in 2010 in the final of the now-defunct Los Angeles Open.
They met in round three of the Australian Open earlier this year where the Brit prevailed in straight sets and also squared off in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2010. Murray ran out a convincing winner that day and he has only dropped a single set to the American in his seven triumphs stretching back to 2006 in Newport.
Prediction: Querrey in four sets