Murray set for first major test
7:26am Friday 27th June 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Andy Murray is ready to take a step up when he faces Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the fourth round of Wimbledon on Friday.
The defending champion has been untroubled so far, beating David Goffin comfortably in round one and then dropping just two games in a rout of Blaz Rola.
Murray is yet to lose his serve and has only faced five break points in his two matches.
But 27th seed Bautista Agut is having the best season of his career and won his first ATP Tour title on grass in Holland last week.
Murray and the 26-year-old have never played a match against each other before but they practised together on clay in Valencia in April.
"He's a very good player," said Murray. "He doesn't play like a lot of the Spanish guys. He plays very flat. Not much top spin. The grass courts suit his game pretty well.
"He's obviously started well here. It will be a step up for sure. He's improving all the time."
The good news for Murray is he is will be back on Centre Court after his once yearly outing to Court One, where he took on Rola.
The grim weather forecast means it is likely to be a frustrating day for many players, but Murray is guaranteed to finish his match under the Centre Court roof.
That could give him another advantage given he is familiar with the change that makes to the conditions, unlike his opponent, who is through to the third round at Wimbledon for the first time.
Bautista Agut is at a career-high ranking of 23 having climbed 50 places since the start of the year.
The stand-out result of his year came in the second round of the Australian Open, when he upset Juan Martin del Potro.
"It was very good for me to win this match because after this match I thought I could win against every player," said the Spaniard.
"It gave me a lot of confidence to start the season very well.
"I'm not scared. I will try to play my game. I am winning a lot of matches. I will try to be aggressive and I will try to enjoy playing with Andy here on grass."
Like a lot of tennis players, Bautista Agut was a talented footballer who trained with Villarreal as a child. He might have become professional but chose tennis.
He said: "(In football) it was not easy to change from a small field to a big field. When you are 12, 13 in Spain, you change.
"I had to change my friends on the team. I was playing with people one year older than me and it was not easy. I was not feeling good with this team.
"With tennis, I was enjoying it. I was playing good. I had to take one sport."