London – Rafael Nadal's nightmare on Centre Court was looking like Andy Murray's dream Wimbledon scenario on Friday as the All England Club came to terms with one of the biggest shocks in its 126-year history.
World number two Nadal, the champion in 2008 and 2010, and 11 times a Grand Slam title winner, was knocked out of Wimbledon by world number 100 Lukas Rosol, 6-7 (9/11), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in a Thursday night sensation.
While the great Spaniard retreated to Mallorca to lick his wounds, Murray was suddenly enjoying a clear sight of a first Wimbledon final having seen his long-time nemesis knocked out.
For the last two years, Nadal had proved a bridge too far for the world number four, winning semifinals in 2010 and 2011.
Nadal had also won their quarterfinal meeting in 2008.
But with Nadal out of the equation, the 25-year-old Briton can start planning realistically to become the first British finalist since Bunny Austin in 1938, even of becoming the country's first champion since Fred Perry in 1936.
Next up for Murray is Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis who beat the Scot at the All England Club in 2006.
After that, he could face big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic before the likes of Andy Roddick, the three-time runner-up, who beat him in the 2009 semi-finals, seventh seed David Ferrer and ninth seed Juan Martin del Potro present themselves as potential last eight opponents.
Murray reached the third round by cutting Croat giant Ivo Karlovic down to size, and he believes that surviving such a barrage of big serving will work in his favour as the tournament heads for a second week.
“You need to show good patience, mental strength. I think I did a good job of that,” said Murray.
However, Murray insisted on Friday that Nadal's defeat would not be a factor in his planning.
“It's irrelevant to me unless I reach the semi-finals. I have a guy who has played in a Grand Slam final and that's my focus,” he said.
“If anything the draw has opened up for Philipp Kohlschreiber. He would have been expecting to face Rafa in his next match. I face Marcos and maybe he will have a performance like Rosol.”
Murray added: “I was surprised by Rafa's defeat, but from what I saw of the match, Rosol just went for rockets and came out swinging.”
If he makes it to the semi-finals, Murray could face Rosol, although a more likely opponent would be French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who defeated Roger Federer on his way to the semi-finals last year.
America's Mardy Fish, back in action after heart surgery, and highly-rated young Belgian David Goffin are also in the mix in the bottom quarter of the draw.
Meanwhile, Rosol, whose only other trips to Wimbledon had ended in defeats in the first round of qualifying on five successive occasions, was still struggling to come to terms with his new-found fame on Friday.
He said he didn't know how to describe his achievement.
“I have no idea – maybe like B team in the Czech Republic that can beat Real Madrid,” said Rosol, who will bid to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time when he faces German 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber on Saturday. – Sapa-AFP