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Temperatures rising but Murray stays cool as he wins over Middle England to secure clash with ‘Deliciano’

SOME like it hot.

Instead, it was Richard Gasquet, from Beziers in the Languedoc region of south-east France, who crashed and burned.

Temperatures in south west London yesterday hit a sweltering 29C and from the moment the Scot shaded the first set in a tie-break it was clear his game was too hot for the Frenchman to handle.

Gasquet possesses an elusive serve, a lovely backhand and has twice subjected Murray to severe grand slam scrutiny, but the Scot was always in charge. The 24-year-old initially failed to make any inroads on the Gasquet serve, but when he upped the intensity the Frenchman had no answer.

A matter of days after a rain-soaked Murray Mound had to be closed on health and safety grounds, shirt sleeves and shorts were the order of the day. In addition to his tennis, Murray is winning over Middle England and a diverse crowd which included the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, comedian Michael McIntyre, Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish and R’n’B star Jay-Z, radiated warmth.

But there is expectancy in the air, too. If you include his run to the final at Queen’s, this was Murray’s eighth win in a row and he has now reached the quarter-finals for the fourth year running.

For most of yesterday it seemed like Lukasz Kubot, the Polish world No 93, would be the Scot’s unlikely opponent in the last eight. Not only was he bidding to become only the second Pole ever to reach a grand slam quarter-final, he was aiming to become the first qualifier to reach that stage since Vladimir Voltchkov in 2000.

Instead, that honour went to Australian teenager Bernard Tomic and Kubot’s attempt to follow him foundered when he surrendered two match points in the third set against Feliciano Lopez before losing in five sets. Instead, Murray will face the 29-year-old Spaniard, a good friend and practice partner, who has been christened ‘Deliciano’ by his mum, Judy, on Twitter.

Lopez said last night that the pair have already laughed about it and he didn’t expect any favours from Mrs Murray come Wednesday.

“She’s funny,” Lopez said. “She has great personality. But, you know, Wednesday is going to be a family member playing against Deliciano. She won’t be supporting me anymore.”

Lopez might have lost all four of the previous meetings between the two men, but they have never met on grass and the 29-year-old from Barcelona is sure to savour the occasion.

The world No.44, who has a new coach in Alberto Berasategui, beat Andy Roddick earlier in the tournament and even has a famous win against a home favourite on Centre Court to speak of. Four years ago, he effectively saw Tim Henman off the premises when his five-set victory put an end to his last appearance at Wimbledon.

“It is a great match for me to play,” he said. “I played Tim Henman on his last Wimbledon and it was such a great experience. This will be another. I mean, it’s the No.4 player in the world, quarter-finals of Wimbledon, on his court. There are so many things to enjoy.”

This will be his third quarter-final at Wimbledon and Lopez knows he will be the underdog. But he feels he has plenty of time to recover from his exertions.

“Andy is a great player and I know I have to play well if I am to beat him here,” said Lopez. “But I am ready for the battle.” On yesterday’s evidence, he will have to be.

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