Wimbledon - Patience key for Murray
It was a mixed day for the British contingent at Wimbledon.
Andy Murray did okay; not spectacularly well, but he got the job done against Ivo Karlovic, a man whose best days might be behind him, but whose serving and sheer size makes him a real danger.
Karlovic certainly did not make life easy for him, but Murray was admirably patient, and moves on.
I think he’ll probably be happy that possible third round opponent Grigor Dimitrov had to retire, allowing Marcos Baghdatis through instead.
Baghdatis will not be an easy match – he was a semi-finalist here back in 2006 – but like Murray’s first-round opponent Nikolay Davydenko, he’s a player whose best days are perhaps behind him.
The Cypriot will try to set the pace, while Murray will counter-punch and look to pick him off – that should play into the Scot’s hands.
By comparison, a Dimitrov playing at the peak of his form has a certain unpredictability and danger.
Murray was one of four Brits in action on day two, and he was the only one still standing at the end of the day.
At least James Ward gave 10th seed Mardy Fish a mighty scare in a five-set epic on Court One.
Fish was gracious about Ward’s performance, and there is no doubt that he was pushed hard by the world number 173.
I can’t help but feel Ward will have regrets that having come back twice, he could not finish it off.
Some of his play was excellent, and as I mentioned a couple of days ago, he really needs the rankings points after recently losing all those he accrued last year in his run to the semi-finals at Queen’s.
Fish was not at his best – how could he be after his heart issues? Having scarcely played or trained in the last few months must have taken his toll.
That said, the way the American lost the fourth set was a mental thing, rather than fatigue – and also, of course, down to Ward’s brave fightback.
Where James goes now is up to him, but he will know that this week will count for very little if he doesn’t channel that level and commitment into matches at lower-profile events through the rest of the year.
Sara Errani was not the ideal opponent for Keothavong. She is a very similar player in fact, with the exception that she does everything just that little bit better than the Brit.
And as for Baltacha, taking on defending champion Petra Kvitova was always going to be a stern challenge.
Those two results should be a reminder to Heather Watson of how hard it will be against the top seeds.
Agnieszka Radwanska will be a formidable opponent, but Heather is playing as well as she ever has, and if she gets off to a better start than Anne or Elena managed yesterday, then who knows?