Andy Murray keeps cool head to beat Australian hot head Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon

Keeping a cool head against the hot head, Andy Murray is – whisper it quietly – looking every inch the man to beat at Wimbledon.

Nick Kyrgios, the number 15 seed, posed Murray his biggest test yet in an eagerly anticipated fourth round clash, though he had beaten the unpredictable Australian in their four previous encounters, including three victories in Grand Slams.

The pair are close friends off the court but Murray has a 18-0 record against Australian opponents and Kyrgios is the antithesis of the Scot, a self-styled maverick who attracts his share of controversy and negative publicity.

Much depended on which Kyrgios would turn up, the showman or the show-off, perhaps even the little known 19-year old who stunned Rafael Nadal in the same round two years ago.

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And in the early stages it looked like it could be an attritional and brutal battle – as both players held their serve, Kyrgios banging down a succession of unstoppable 138mph deliveries.

But when Murray broke him at 5-5 everything changed and Kyrgios’s self-belief suddenly and inexplicably evaporated. Within another hour the number two seed was walking off Centre Court with a fourth consecutive straight sets win on his record, 7-5, 6-1, 6-4.

This was a ruthless display, the sort coach Ivan Lendl would certainly approve of. Murray was never distracted by the sideshow across the court as Kyrgios made increasingly maddening decisions, once even deciding not to return to his chair at a changeover, lingering on the baseline as if he couldn’t wait for the match to end.

Four matches, four wins, no sets dropped, confidence soaring and energy levels topped up to the max. Murray couldn’t have written a better script for his tournament to date.

“I knew it was a dangerous match, so I had to be switched on from the start,” said Murray.

“I played well and the first set was really key because he was serving really well.  I was able to dictate lots of the rallies and the second set was much more comfortable because Nick lost his focus, which made it a bit easier.

“I just kept my head down and concentrated on my side of the court and controlled what I could and fought for every point and didn’t give up any cheap games.”

Murray has now made nine last eight appearances at the All England Club, the same number as the legendary Pete Sampras, with only Boris Becker (11) and Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer (14) ahead of him.

So far, so predictable but these are still uncharted waters for the world number two. For the first time in his career he makes the quarter-finals as the tournament favourite, following the weekend defeat of defending champion Novak Djokovic.

In his ten Grand Slam final appearances he’s only played the Serbian or Federer, who is lurking on the other side of the draw and looking as comfortable on grass as ever, following a straight sets win over Steve Johnson.

But it pays not to look too far down the road. Next up for Murray is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday – a player he has beaten twice at the All England Club. And he’ll be fresh, having played just six games against fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet before he retired due to injury.

“Every year I play here there is expectation, there is nothing different about this year,” added Murray.

“I’ll try my best to go as far as possible but the matches will keep getting tougher and I’ll need to play very well to get past Tsonga, who is one of the best grass court players in the world and very dangerous.

“You can learn from matches you’ve played and see what worked well but every match is different and if you put in a bad performance then it’s very easy to lose. If I keep playing this solid and with this focus, I’ll have a good chance.

“If I keep playing at this level then I would give myself a chance in most matches but the trick is maintaining that level for the whole two weeks.”

Meanwhile, Jamie Murray and partner Bruno Soares are locked in a marathon men’s doubles third round match with Mate Pavic and Michael Venus.

The third seeds took the first two sets but then let control slip, as the 16th seeds took it to a decider, which was deadlocked at 13-13 when bad light stopped play.

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