Wimbledon, London :British fourth seed Andy Murray gave a royal command performance as he raced into the third round at Wimbledon with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Finland's Jarkko Nieminen in front of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.
Murray had the task of entertaining the Queen on her first visit to the All England Club since 1977 and the Scot rose to the challenge with a dominant display that earned a clash with French 23rd seed Gilles Simon in the next round.
The 23-year-old had a golden chance to reach his first Wimbledon final last year in the absence of the injured Rafael Nadal, but he fell just short after losing his semi-final against Andy Roddick in four sets.
This year has been a curious one for Murray, who has been stuck in something of a rut lately and has failed to get past the quarter-finals in eight events since losing to Roger Federer in the Australian Open final.
As usual at Wimbledon, it falls to Murray to carry the weight of a nation's expectations on his shoulders. But on this evidence the world number four looks capable of coping with the pressure.
He dismissed Jan Hajek with the minimum fuss in the first round and coped well with the potential distraction of playing in front of the Queen.
After acknowledging the monarch's presence with a brief bow to the royal box, Murray got down to business.
He had insisted he wouldn't be fazed by having to entertain the sovereign, but there was a definite hint of nerves during a lacklustre opening service game.
Nieminen had four break points but was unable to take any of them as Murray got out of trouble.
That narrow escape jolted Murray into life and the Scot was totally dominant from then on.
He broke Nieminen in the next game to open up a decisive lead and took the set by firing down three aces.
Nieminen, the world number 67, has a solid record on all courts after reaching the last eight here in 2006 and emulating that achievement at the Australian and US Open.
He has been ranked as high as 13th but that was four years ago and Murray never let the Finn get any rhythm as he cleverly mixed up his game.
Murray's serve earned him plenty of free points and you felt he was always one step ahead of Nieminen when they became locked in a long rally.
The pressure told as Murray converted his third break point of the seventh game with a simple volley.
That was enough to take a firm grip of the match as Murray easily served out the set.
Murray was so dominant now that he was finally able to relax for the first time in weeks.
There was no let-up though and Nieminen was crushed in the third set as Murray unfurled winner after winner.
He gave a final bow to the Queen as he walked off court before heading onto a terrace at the front of Centre Court for another brief audience with the monarch.