CHAMPION Andy Murray has never had it so easy in the first week at Wimbledon. The Scot dropped just 19 games in the first three rounds, enabling him to extend his winning run at the All England Club to 16 matches, pre-dating the London 2012 Olympics in which he won gold.
But standing 6ft 8in and in the form of his life, No20 seed Kevin Anderson is tasked with stopping Murray from reaching a seventh consecutive Wimbledon quarter-final today.
The 28-year-old reached the last 16 at the French and Australian Opens this year and, buoyed by reaching back-to-back tournament finals in February, Anderson then beat world No5 Stan Wawrinka at Indian Wells and also reached the quarter-final at Queen’s.
Friday night’s third-round win against world No15 Fabio Fognini in five sets was only the second time he had beaten a top-20 player in a grand slam, yet their meeting on court 17 was not without its problems.
Fognini was aghast at having to play such a high-profile match on one of the All England Club’s smallest stages, while Anderson won in spite of back problems, which he said were brought on by the stress of the occasion.
Yet the South African, bidding to be the first to reach a Wimbledon quarter-final since Wayne Ferreira in 1994, believes playing against home favourite Murray in the second match on Centre Court this afternoon might actually calm his nerves.
He said: “It’s one of those things where I think there will be more pressure on him than there is on me, so I can just sort of relax a little bit more. I know it might sound a bit backwards, but it might make me a little bit more calm for the next match.”
In comparison to Murray’s outstanding record on grass, Anderson’s is modest with just a 53 per cent success rate, which could be the telling factor today. Coping with the complexity of Anderson’s serve will be Murray’s biggest challenge, but he will be expected to march into the last eight.
ORDER OF PLAY
Centre Court (From 1pm)
■ Alize Cornet (FRA)  v Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 
■ Andy Murray (GBR)  v Kevin Anderson (RSA) 
■ Novak Djokovic (SRB)  v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 
Court One (From 1pm)
■ Sabine Lisicki (GER)  v Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 
(Resuming at 6-4, 1-1)
■ Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)  v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
■ Angelique Kerber (GER)  v Maria Sharapova (RUS)