SOME people will tell you that Andy Murray still isn’t quite himself at this year’s Wimbledon. The Scot continues to hirple gingerly around the baseline between points and only sparingly displayed his full power yesterday. But of the 128 players who started this year’s tournament, only eight remain. And the World No 1 and defending champion is one of them.

Tomorrow he will face Sam Querrey of the USA in his 10th consecutive quarter final at this venue, the fourth most of any player in the Open Era. This hasn’t happened by accident. It is, quite simply, what he does.

Plenty of pre-tournament rust has been shaken off during the first week and after this 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 6-4 win, anyone who feels he is running on empty due to that hip problem should be well warned about his ability to go the extra mile.

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Coasting never seemed likely to be an option yesterday against Benoit Paire, the fourth extravagant shot maker he has faced in a row at this year’s tournament. The only previous meeting between the players on tour – a Monte Carlo win where the Scot roared back after his opponent was unable to serve it out – was credited with turning around Murray’s glory year of 2016 and Murray might just have found a similar sense of momentum here. After admitting he wasn’t exactly delighted by the standard of his play and movement against Fabio Fognini on Friday night, he appeared far happier with both.

To be fair to this 28-year-old from Avignon, he just about held his emotions in check yesterday, even if he flung himself to the turf, further mangling the sacred SW19 court at least four times, and occasionally screamed out in frustration to the heavens. But when all is said and done, he was merely the latest statistic of Murray’s success against French opposition in the Grand Slams, an unbroken run against that country’s players which now stands at 28.

If the story of this one was Murray’s eight unforced errors to Paire’s 44, much of the action came early. The Scot’s serve broken in the third game of the match on the back of two clubbing forehands from the Frenchman and a sweet drop volleyed winner, but in the very next game a loose backhand from Paire saw parity restored. Three more break points came the Frenchman’s way in the next game, and he capitalised on the last. As before, Paire couldn’t live the pressure which the Scot was exerting and we were back on serve at 4-4. After an error-strewn tie-break, the Frenchman had a mountain to climb.

Paire decided to pare back his drop-shot heavy strategy in the second and third sets but the patterns of this match were established as the Scot served out for a 2-0 lead.

Drama arrived at the start of the third, the Scot correctly taking umbrage at umpire Mohamed Lahyani for saying he didn’t challenge a Paire ‘ace’ quickly enough.

“I challenged immediately then asked to see the ball afterwards,” the Scot said, but there was no real malice in the words. With boxers Carl Froch and David Haye watching on, two more errant Paire forehands provided the knockout punch.