There’s something about being 5-1 down that spurs Jamie Murray and Victoria Azarenka into action.
The mixed doubles pairing had produced a stirring comeback from that deficit in the deciding set of their second-round match on Centre Court on Monday evening. On Wednesday they were trailing 5-1 in the first-set tiebreak before they kicked into gear again on their way of overcoming the 12th seeds Matwe Middelkoop and Johanna Larsson on Court Two to progress to the quarter-finals.
That Murray remains on course to win a fourth mixed doubles title owes much to his men’s doubles partner Bruno Soares.
Murray had not planned to take part in this year’s mixed doubles, but one text from Soares changed his mind.
The Brazilian messaged Murray at the start of the championships asking if he wanted to play with Azarenka, and the left-hander did not need to think twice.
A knee injury has stripped back Murray’s targets this year but after a third-round exit in the men’s doubles with Soares under the roof on Centre Court late on Tuesday night, it is now full steam ahead in the mixed.
Murray and Azarenka’s progress this week has been quite the rollercoaster. After beating Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Roman Jevbavy in a first-round match which took two days to complete, the duo saved a match point and came from 5-1 down in their second-round contest against seventh seeds Robert Farah and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
Their comeback this time was equally as dramatic. Murray and Azarenka fought back to 3-5 and then ratted off five straight points to edge the tie-break 8-6.
Azarenka’s dominance from the baseline and return of serve were key during the second set as they closed out a 7-6, 6-3 win.
“We had the quality to turn the tiebreak around,” Azarenka said. “We have the mentality to keep fighting whatever the score is.”
Murray remains on course for his third mixed doubles title here after winning alongside Martina Hingis last year and with Jelena Jankovic back in 2007.
What does he put his success down to? “A great partner,” he said. “I haven’t really played that well yet.
“The women also don’t always see my leftie serve that well. I make margins small for them to hit into.”
Murray and Azarenka, who saved five breaks during Wednesday's win, will now face Dutch pair Jean-Julien Rojer and Demi Schuurs for a place in the semi-finals.