London – World number four Andy Murray ignored the fuss over his Centre Court snub to sweep into the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a ruthless 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Croatia's Marin Cilic on Tuesday.
With rain disrupting the second week, Wimbledon officials provoked howls of criticism after scheduling home favourite Murray on Court One rather than the covered Centre Court.
That meant Murray, bidding to end Britain's 76-year wait for a male singles champion at Wimbledon, was forced to endure several rain interruptions on Monday while his title rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer coasted through under the Centre Court roof.
Murray had to wait until Tuesday afternoon before he was finally able to finish off Cilic in between more showers and the 25-year-old will be back in action against Spain's David Ferrer or former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals in just 24 hours' time.
“I honestly don't care which court I play on. It makes no difference but obviously every player would rather be on Centre Court because you know you are going to get your match in regardless of the weather,” Murray said.
“I don't think I deserve to play every match on Centre Court. It's just annoying when the weather is bad.
“I haven't always dealt with rain delays that well in the past, so it's good experience for me. Probably from now on I will play on Centre so it won't be a problem.”
Rafael Nadal's shock exit last week has given Murray, beaten in the Wimbledon semi-finals for the last three years, a golden opportunity to become the first British male finalist at the All England Club since Bunny Austin in 1938.
It helped Murray's cause that Cilic had to survive the second longest match in the tournament's history to get past Sam Querrey in the last round.
That 5 hour 31 minute epic appeared to have left the 16th seed a spent force and when play was suspended due to rain on Monday afternoon, Murray had taken a firm grip with a 7-5, 3-1 lead.
Despite the scheduling storm, Wimbledon chiefs stuck to their guns and Murray was back on Court One on Tuesday for an earlier than usual 1100GMT start under ominous grey skies.
Murray led 40-0 on his serve from the previous evening and he quickly finished off the game as drizzle began to fall again.
Cilic then held serve before the rain sent the players scurrying from the court for a delay of over an hour, but Murray emerged to take the second set with another break.
Even when Murray faced four break points in the first game of the third set, he produced a perfectly-placed ace on each occasion to get out of trouble.
Murray landed the knock-out blow in the fourth game when he unleashed a superb passing shot down the line to break for a 3-1 lead that sealed his place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the fifth successive year. – AFP