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Pressure grows as Murray reaches quarterfinals without dropping a set

updated 6:39 PM EDT, Mon July 1, 2013
Andy Murray is bidding to become the first British winner of the men's singles at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.
Andy Murray is bidding to become the first British winner of the men's singles at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Second seed Andy Murray beats Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in straight set to reach last 16
  • Briton will play Spain's Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals
  • Historic clash set to deliver first Polish male grand slam semifinalist
  • Novak Djokovic beats Tommy Haas to set up quarterfinal against Tomas Berdych

(CNN) -- The feat has not been achieved since 1936 but with every victory, the pressure on Andy Murray to deliver a first British winner of the men's singles at Wimbledon since Fred Perry grows.

The expectation is always there for any leading British player but with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer having unexpectedly dropped out of his section of the draw, Murray is fancied like never before to finally rewrite history.

The beaten finalist in 2012, the 26-year-old survived a second set scare to beat Russian 20th seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 7-5 (7-5) 6-1 and reach the quarterfinals for the sixth straight year.

Read: Murray - the man behind the mask

The second seed will meet the unseeded Fernando Verdasco for a place in the semifinals, with the Scot boasting an 8-1 winning record against the Spaniard, who beat Kenny de Schepper in straight sets.

"It was a tough match," U.S. Open and Olympic champion Murray said later. "The first couple of sets especially -- and he also had a chance at the start of the third.

"But once I got ahead in the third set, I concentrated really hard not to let him back into the match like I did in the second set."

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The turning point of a contest that lasted two hours and 37 minutes came in the second set when Murray managed to turn around a 2-5 deficit to win on a tie break.

Youzhny needed treatment on a shoulder injury early in the third set and faded soon after, so allowing the British number one to reach the last eight without dropping a set.

"I just have to concentrate on the next match," he said when asked about the pressure of being the home favorite.

Read: Lisicki dethrones Serena at Wimbledon

"Serena Williams lost today and she doesn't lose particularly often," he explained. "Roger lost, Rafa lost -- all these guys and girls are better than me and if they can lose, so can I."

Should Murray come through his quarterfinal, he will meet either Jerzy Janowicz or Lukasz Kubot in the last four -- with one of the Polish duo set to create history.

Whoever wins their clash will become the first Pole to reach the semifinals of a men's grand slam.

The Radwanska sisters may have put Polish tennis on the map in recent years but they have long been hoping that they will be joined by their male compatriots.

Read: The sisterly love that drives the Radwanskas

Without a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon since 1980, two came along on the same day as 24th seed Janowicz, 22, beat Austria's Jurgen Melzer in five sets while the unseeded Kubot was also taken all the way when beating Adrian Mannarino.

Despite the significance of their forthcoming encounter, Janowicz and Kubot, 31, hugged one another as soon as they met in the locker room after their respective wins.

"It's unbelievable what is going on right now," the big-serving Janowicz told reporters. "We have two players in the quarterfinals in the men's draw.

"Right now, tennis is a really famous sport in our country. I hope we'll get more fans."

Read: Rafael Nadal stunned at Wimbledon again

Kubot's passage to the quarterfinals was first eased by the shock defeat of Rafael Nadal in the opening round and then further helped as the Spaniard's conqueror Steve Darcis was forced to pull out of his second round meeting with the Pole through injury.

In the top half of the draw, David Ferrer -- who lost his first grand slam final against compatriot Nadal at the French Open last month -- reached his second straight Wimbledon quarterfinal when beating Croatia's Ivan Dodig 6-7 7-6 6-1 6-1.

"I'm trying to play more aggressive," said Ferrer, who has never progressed to the last four at Wimbledon. "I need to serve better than other courts, obviously when I am playing the second shot. Every match I am playing better with my game. I am confident."

Next up for the consistent Spaniard, who will rise to a career-high world No. 3 in next week's rankings, is Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, who beat 23rd seed Andreas Seppi in straight sets.

"He's a very great player," said Ferrer. "It's going to be difficult. I need to play my best tennis to beat Del Potro. And on a grass court I think it is more difficult. He plays better than me on grass. Last year I beat him, but I think I played my best match on a grass court."

Whoever wins through will meet either Novak Djokovic, who beat Tommy Haas in straight sets late on Monday, or Tomas Berdych, who sunk Bernard Tomic 7-6 6-7 6-4 6-4, in the last four.

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