Andy Murray was happy to step up a gear as he continued a pleasingly low-key start to his Wimbledon campaign.
After beating compatriot Liam Broady in the first round, Murray won 17 of the last 20 games in a 6-3 6-2 6-1 victory over Lu Yen-hsun of Chinese Taipei.
Ranked 76 in the world, Lu came into the match on an 11-match winning streak after clinching Challenger titles in Surbiton and Ilkley and showed his confidence by breaking Murray’s serve in the opening game.
But once the world No 2 got the break back in the sixth game, he never looked in any danger and by the third set was playing some of his best tennis.
The drop shot worked particularly well for Murray and he broke the serve of Lu, a quarter-finalist here in 2010, seven times.
Murray began the tournament determined to conserve energy for the tougher challenges ahead, and he said: “I think the second and third sets, I played well.
“The first set was a tough set. Both of us had a bunch of chances, a lot of deuce games.
“Once I got that, got an early break in the second, I started to settle down, played better tennis. I finished the match really well.
“I’ve started well here quite a few times over the years. I don’t know if this is the best one or not.
“But (yesterday) was, for sure, a good match, an improvement from the first round, against a guy who has won a lot of matches on the grass recently.
“I was just happy that I improved as the match went on. Hopefully I start the next match like I finished this one, keep it going.”
Murray has been well and truly overshadowed by world No 772 Marcus Willis during the first week, while British No 4 Dan Evans next takes on Roger Federer.
Having the spotlight lifted a little off him is surely welcome, but Murray said: “I don’t think it changes anything in my mind really.
“I’ve played here a number of times, sometimes when there’s been big competitions going on elsewhere in different sports, sometimes when some of the other Brits have made deep runs, as well.
“But it makes absolutely zero difference to me, how I perform and how I play. When the attention’s been on me a lot, I’ve played well. When it hasn’t, I’ve also played well.”
Willis’s fairytale run, involving seven wins in pre-qualifying, qualifying and the main draw, came to an end on Wednesday when he was beaten on Centre Court by Federer.
Murray had been following the story as closely as anyone and watched all of the match.
“I think he played very well in the second and third sets,” said the Scot.
“I don’t think he started so well. I think everything that had gone on, it was still a bit of, I don’t know, a joke. He was just laughing the whole time at the beginning.
“Once he actually got his mind on the match and focused on the tennis, he played some really, really good stuff. He actually had a little chance at the end of the third set.
“I don’t know what he thought of the match, if there were things he could have done differently. But I thought he did pretty well for his first time playing anyone near that level.”
Federer would surely not have expected to play two British players neither of them called Murray, and Evans is likely to be a tougher prospect if his performance against Alexandr Dolgopolov is anything to go by.
The 26-year-old, who has climbed from a ranking similar to Willis’s 12 months ago up to 91, brushed aside the 30th seed 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 6-1 to reach the third round at a grand slam for the second time. “It’s a very good win, obviously,” said Murray. “Dolgopolov’s a very tricky opponent for anyone. To beat him in straight sets was a very, very good result.
“Now he’s given himself the chance to play against Roger.
“Like I said when Marcus played him, he has a chance. He’s not going into the match as favourite. But Dan, when he plays well, is on his game, he’s not easy to play against.
“He plays different to a lot of the guys, too. He’s not as unorthodox as Marcus, but he’ll serve and volley a little bit, comes forward, uses a lot of slice. Hopefully he goes out there and plays his best tennis and makes it interesting.”
Murray’s next opponent is Australian John Millman, who defeated 26th seed Benoit Paire on the same day he learned he would be going to the Rio Olympics.
“I’m buzzing for that, and then to go out there and put together a pretty good performance was awesome,” said the 27-year-old.
Troicki’s tirade: Page 23.