ANDY Murray cut giant Croat Ivo Karlovic down to size as the World No four reached the Wimbledon third round with 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) victory yesterday.
Murray had to withstand a barrage of booming serves from Karlovic, who at 6ft 10in is the tallest man on the ATP Tour, but the British number one's gritty display was rewarded with victory in three hours and eight minutes.
The Scot will play Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov or Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus for a place in the last 16.
"Winning is all that is important when you play a guy with his style. It's so challenging to get into a rhythm," Murray said.
"Tie-breaks are a bit of a lottery with someone like him and you just have to get a racquet on his serves and hope for the best.
"You can't really prepare for it because so few guys play like him. But I actually thought I returned well today. I tried to make him play as many balls as possible."
Women's top seed Maria Sharapova survived a scare before reaching the third round of Wimbledon where she was joined by her biggest rival for the women's title Serena Williams yesterday.
World No 1 Maria, who elected to come off court in the Wednesday night gloom when leading by a set and 3-1 against dangerous grasscourter Tsvetana Pironkova, went into meltdown for a while on the resumption in sticky lunchtime heat on Court One before prevailing 7-6, 6-7, 6-0.
Serena, the four-times champion who Maria beat to win her sole Wimbledon crown in 2004, was far more ruthless in a 6-1, 6-4 defeat of Hungarian qualifier Melinda Czink.
The sixth seed, who has not added to her 13 grand slam titles since returning this time last year from a career-threatening foot injury and health problems, was razor sharp as she booked a third-round clash with China's Zheng Jie.
Maria had saved five set points against the 2010 semi-finalist Tsvetana on Wednesday before moving into a commanding position -- only to pack her bags three games shy of victory.
That decision looked odd at the time and even more so as she made a ragged start yesterday.
Tsvetana, whose serve is a real weapon, immediately got back on level terms at 3-3 and when the second set reached a tiebreak she went 6-1 ahead.
Maria again saved a couple of set points before sending a forehand long and set up what could have been a nervy decider.
Tsvetana double-faulted on a game point at the start of the third and that proved the spark for Tsvetana to catch fire again and rattle off six successive games and set up a meeting with Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei. Unlike Williams, though, she will not get a rest day and will be back on court on Friday.
"I started with no motor whatsoever and felt like I was (stuck) on pause," Maria, who was clearly not happy with her performance, particularly on serve, told reporters.
"But she is someone who comes out and fires. If she played on grass 365 days a year she would be in the top five."
While all eyes remain on the men's "big four" two of the new generation continued to impress on Thursday as they moved into the third round. AFP