Murray facing toughest challenge yet this SW19 against Dimitrov

Defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray (second-favourite at 9/4 to lift the title again) sailed through the first four rounds of SW19, seeing off his challengers all in straight sets and dropping just 32 games. However, next he faces his toughest opponent yet this year in recent Queen’s Club champion Grigor Dimitrov.

Murray has now gone 17 matches unbeaten at the All England Club, including the 3-0 victory over Novak Djokovic in the 2013 final and his successful run in the 2012 London Olympics. The Scot is priced at 11/8 to win in straight sets again in this quarter-final, and is odds-on at 2/7 just to beat Dimitrov.

Bulgarian 11th seed Dimitrov, though, is in fine form of his own, with three out of his four victories this tournament all being 3-0. He is 11/4 to beat Murray, and 8/1 to do so in five sets.

The duo have faced each other four times before, all on hard courts, with Dimitrov winning just once – the most recent in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel ATP Acapulco tournament earlier this year.

In all four of their meetings Murray has always won the opening set, either 7-6 or 6-4, and he is priced at 10/3 and 4/1 respectively to do so again. If you fancy Dimitrov to get the second, and in a tie break, as he did in the last match, take odds of 2/1 and 9/2 for each.

The first set in half of their meetings has ended 7-6, and there is a price of 13/8 for that to happen again for either player.

Dimitrov, 23, has so far not really impressed in Grand Slams, but reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open this year. He has yet to go beyond that stage in any of the four major events. He is a 16/1 shot to go all the way, though.

Despite not really impressing on the big stage, the youngster has been given the ultimate honour of being compared to the next Roger Federer by many throughout his short career so far.

“It puts a little pressure on my shoulders but I think all that is beginning to fade away. I’m a different player, a different person,” Dimitrov said on the matter.

Murray, meanwhile, also commented on the topic. “Maybe right at the beginning of his career it was hard for him because everyone was comparing him to Federer,” the two-time Grand Slam champion said.

“It’s impossible to live up to what Roger’s achieved. Maybe no one again will ever win that many Slams [17]. So that could have been tough for him at the beginning. But now he’s starting to come into his prime. He’s won a lot of matches this year. He’s a tough player. It will be a hard match for me.”

On the upcoming match, Dimitrov said: “I know [Murray] really well. We’ve practised together many times. I beat him in Acapulco, best of three, but this is best of five. We all know that it’s his home here.

“He knows his way around the grass pretty good. I’m just going to play my game. I’m not going to step back. I’m going to play aggressive tennis, focusing on my game and what I can bring to the court. I hope there will be no hard feelings later.”

Murray has revealed that he has been taking tips from one of his most avid supports of the last few years and compatriot Sir Alex Ferguson, who was in the crowd for his win over Kevin Anderson last round. “We send messages to each other at various times during the year,” Murray said.

“We stay in contact throughout the year. We chat about a lot of things. I chatted to him for a few minutes after the match today. We talked about my match, spoke about football, the World Cup.

“He just said a few things, what he’s observed when he’s been watching me – not necessarily about technical or tactical things, but more mental things, how you respond to tough or tight situations. You’re going to listen to someone like him. He’s witnessed a lot of big, tight sporting occasions. He obviously knows his stuff.”