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Wimbledon 2017: Andy Murray wants British players, including Johanna Konta, to aim even higher

Murray challenges British players to aim even higher at Wimbledon
By Michael Hincks via PA Sport

06/07/2017 at 08:18Updated 06/07/2017 at 10:20

Andy Murray challenged his compatriots to make it an even better Wimbledon after four British players reached the third round of the singles for the first time in 20 years.

Wimbledon highlights are live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player at 10pm

The world No 1's 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over Dustin Brown meant there was success for all four home singles players on Wednesday, with Murray's win following those of Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Aljaz Bedene.

Kyle Edmund could make that five when he takes on Gael Monfils on Thursday, but Murray feels celebrations should be tempered.

Britain's Andy Murray reacts after breaking Germany's Dustin Brown's serve during their men's singles second round match on the third day of Wimbledon

Britain's Andy Murray reacts after breaking Germany's Dustin Brown's serve during their men's singles second round match on the third day of WimbledonGetty Images

He said: "It's obviously good to have more players playing in the slams and winning matches. I know Heather and Jo won. I saw Aljaz won, too. Hopefully we can keep going.

" I wouldn't say this is the target. Obviously we want to try and do better than that. Aim as high as you can. "

"Why not try and get five, six players into the quarter-finals of slams? It's better to set the goal as high as possible and fall a little bit short than go, 'Yeah, we're delighted with five or six players in the second or third round of a slam'.

"It's not to say that getting to the third round isn't good, but some of the players, like Kyle and Heather and Jo, they're capable of doing more than that."

Johanna Konta of Great Britain acknowledges the crowd as she celebrates victory after the Ladies Singles second round match against Donna Vekic

Johanna Konta of Great Britain acknowledges the crowd as she celebrates victory after the Ladies Singles second round match against Donna VekicGetty Images

What next for the Brits?

While Murray prepares for a first grass encounter with Fabio Fognini on Friday - the duo currently share a 3-3 head-to-head record - Konta in kind is getting ready for a first-ever third round appearance at SW19.

The world No 7 is venturing into the unknown, but will be expected to dispatch Maria Sakkari, who has beaten Czech duo Katerina Siniakova and Kristyna Pliskova to make it to this point.

Watson meanwhile is in the third round for a third time. On the last occasion in 2015, the Brit was two points away from knocking out eventual champion Serena Williams, but it was not to be as the American showed her mettle when it mattered most.

Heather Watson of Britain waves to the fans after losing her match to Serena Williams in 2015

Heather Watson of Britain waves to the fans after losing her match to Serena Williams in 2015Reuters

Victoria Azarenka is next up for Watson – the Belarusian is unseeded having taken a year out during her pregnancy and subsequent birth of her son, Leo, but as a two-time Australian Open champion and twice a semi-finalist here at Wimbledon, she will prove more than a threat to Watson, who will be the underdog in Friday's encounter.

Bedene, like Konta, finds himself in the third round for the first time at Wimbledon – matching his efforts at the French Open last year – and comes up against big-serving Gilles Muller in the third round on Friday.

Muller is seeded 16th for the tournament, though he has never reached the fourth round of Wimbledon, while his best Grand Slam finish came at the US Open in 2008 when he reached the quarter-final.

A Friday to remember?

With four – potentially five – British players hoping to make the second week of Wimbledon, Friday is set to be a day of mixed results, on paper at least. While Murray and Konta are favourites, Watson and Bedene will be viewed as outsiders.

However, wins for Watson against Dominika Cibulkova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at Eastbourne show that Watson is a woman in form, with Wednesday's victory over 18th Anastasija Sevastova the most-recent evidence that she is playing with a swagger that defies her current ranking of 102.

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria AzarenkaGetty Images

A show-court appearance will likely befall Watson and Azarenka - the Brit must garner the positives from her Williams clash two years ago if she wants to stand a chance against the Grand Slam champion.

Meanwhile, Bedene faces Luxembourg's greatest export whose serve packs a punch. But having already overcome Ivo Karlovic in a first-round slug-fest, the Brit will see no reason why he cannot repeat the feat once more.

A clean sweep from all four would make it a Friday to remember – we won't hold our breath, but we can cross our fingers at the very least.

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