Andy Murray knows he cannot afford the same slow start he made against Marcos Baghdatis if he is to beat Nicolas Almagro on Thursday and move to within one victory of an Olympic medal.
The third seed had to fight back from a set down against Baghdatis on Wednesday, eventually coming through 4-6 6-1 6-4 to the delight of a raucous Centre Court crowd. Almagro is better known as a clay-court player, and Murray has beaten him in both their previous meetings on fast surfaces, but the 11th seed has had a fine season.
Murray said of their quarter-final clash: "The reason why his ranking has gone into the top 10 is because he's been playing better on the other surfaces this year. He's a tough player. He takes a lot of risks on the court. He doesn't have loads of variation but he can overpower you. I'll need to play well to win. If I serve like I did the last couple of sets, that will help me out a lot."
Murray admitted the best-of-three-set formula had left him teetering on the brink against Baghdatis, who was much the better player in the first set but dumped an easy forehand into the net in the fourth game of the second set to concede a break that swung the momentum the Scot's way.
He added: "It's challenging because the match can be over quite quickly, especially in windy conditions where you're struggling to time the ball and he's hitting the ball flat and through the court.
"It was a challenge to stay focused. It could have gone the other way if I hadn't started the second set well.
"Guys like Marcos, when he plays his best tennis he's so, so tough to beat. It's obviously easier to keep it up for three sets than it is for five. That's why you can't really afford slow starts. I was lucky to get away with it."
Murray was due to be in action again later in the opening round of the mixed doubles alongside Laura Robson but their clash with Czechs Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka was postponed. It will be played on Thursday evening instead, with Murray taking on Almagro first on Court One and then returning to the same court for the fourth match.
The 25-year-old already had a packed schedule and would now have to play seven matches in four days if he reaches the medal matches in both competitions, potentially even playing three in one day.
Other standout matches today see Roger Federer face John Isner and Novak Djokovic meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while in the women's singles Maria Sharapova will take on Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams faces Caroline Wozniacki.