Andy Murray will need to repel a barrage of hostile deliveries to keep his Wimbledon title defence alive.
Murray has dropped just one set en-route to his tenth consecutive Wimbledon quarter-final but after facing four opponents universally pre-faced by the word unpredictable, he knows exactly what he’ll get against Sam Querrey.
The American is second on the Championship service stats with 99 aces in his first four matches, only Rafael Nadal’s conqueror Gilles Muller has banged down more bullets with 102.
He’ll give Murray few chances – with 83 percent of first serves won in comparison to the Scot’s 74 percent. And his big weapon is also remarkably consistent, with just eight double faults on his scorecard against Murray’s 11.
But where the defending champion should have the better of his rival will be in his court coverage and superior movement, the key strength of his game. The 6ft 6in Querrey is best described as languid and Murray’s hustle and bustle game is the perfect foil, should the nagging hip problem that hit his preparation not resurface.
However, he’ll need to be patient and exploit his chances. Fourth round opponent Benoit Paire made 44 unforced errors against the top seed and Querrey will not be so profligate.
“I didn’t actually know that I was through to my tenth Wimbledon quarter-final until someone told me, I honestly don’t keep track of these things,” said Murray.
“When you get to this stage of a big tournament then the nerves don’t disappear, you just learn to handle them better and that’s the benefit of experience.
“This is still quite new for Sam but he’s going to be a very tough opponent. You can’t afford to let any opportunities slip against him. He doesn’t have too many loose service games and will be very tough to break.
“What gives me confidence is I’m hitting the ball better and moving well, two things that’ll need to do against Sam to stand a chance.”
Since making his debut as an 18-year old in 2005, the consistency of Murray’s Wimbledon record is remarkable.
This will be his 58th singles match here, on a court he has made his personal playground.
The absence of Nadal – who looked to be running into form – from his side of the draw could have made the days ahead easier, though that’s doing a great disservice to Muller or Marin Cilic, who will await Murray should he get the better of his last eight rival.
“This is the tournament, and Centre Court is the place, where I’ve played my best tennis, and I guess that consistency proves it,” added Murray.
“I’ve played so many matches on this court but it’s the first games that I remember the best, like losing to David Nalbandian in my first tournament.
“I remember being nervous but there was no pressure. It’s completely different to now because of the expectation, it’s a very different kind of nerves.”
SSE, the energy behind Andy Murray Live 2017 returns for a second year to The SSE Hydro in Glasgow. SSE do more for their customers, providing access to exclusive sport and entertainment reward offers and they’re giving customers the chance to win amazing experience packages to this year’s already sold out event. Sign up to #SSEReward now for free ssereward.com/competition