Andy Murray continued his title defense at Wimbledon in style, cruising to a straight sets victory over Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Murray never looked in danger in this one, handling Bautista Agut with relative ease to the delight of the crowd supporting him. Such has been his tournament—after three matches, he's yet to drop a set.
Murray controlled this match with a strong service game. He smashed 11 aces and won 35 of his 40 first-serve points. But as he generally does, Murray also won with variety. He won 16 points at the net. He ripped 43 winners (to just 18 for Bautista Agut). He varied his shots to great effect.
Simply put, Bautista Agut was overwhelmed.
Here's the winning point, via Wimbledon on Twitter:
After the match, Murray had fun talking about his brother Jamie, who was playing at the same time:
Ah, so that's where his motivation comes from.
Without question, the talk coming into this tournament was Murray's decision to appoint former player Amelie Mauresmo as his coach after Ivan Lendl quit the position. That decision was surprisingly unpopular with many folks, but thus far it has appeared to pay dividends. Tom Perrotta of the Wall Street Journal certainly thinks Mauresmo deserves some recognition:
If Murray bombed at Wimby, Mauresmo would've taken a lot of unwarranted blame. So let's give her some credit, deserved or not! He's rolling.— Tom Perrotta (@TomPerrotta) June 27, 2014
Mauresmo has been brought on to aid Murray in his grass season (and perhaps beyond, if the results are positive). As a former winner at Wimbledon herself, she has a unique perspective into what Murray is facing. As a creative and unorthodox player, she offers unique insight into the skills Murray brings to the table.
It feels like a natural fit.
And thus far at Wimbledon, Murray has appeared to benefit from the relationship. Up next is No. 20 Kevin Anderson in the fourth round, a player Murray will be expected to handle. Get past Anderson, and either Leonardo Mayer or No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov awaits. His path to the semifinals is more than traversable.
Of course, Novak Djokovic should be looming in the semis. But for the defending champion, anything less than a repeat performance will be disappointing, especially in a country that just watched their beloved soccer team bow out of the World Cup.
So no pressure, Mr. Murray. All that's riding on this tournament is the hopes of a nation, once again.