On the eve of the match, Andy Murray had hinted he might focus on getting his body into the condition necessary for singles rather than move on to the American hard court season.

And as in his last appearance at SW19 when he lost the singles quarter-final to Sam Querrey in 2017, his exit was a disappointing one on second Wednesday.

Court 2 has always been known as the graveyard of champions and with nine singles titles between them, Murray and Williams became its latest victims.

It started buoyantly with the pair threatening to break, but Jamie Murray’s former men’s doubles partner Soares held on with all his experience then in the next game stole the break himself with a back-hand return.

A Murray mishit got Soares and Melichar to set point and the former, who at this stage had only dropped points on is serve when he double-faulted, saw out the set powerfully.

Soares finally dropped his first point on serve in-play in what became an exhilarating sixth game of the second set which did reach deuce, but still the Brazilian could not be broken.

He could be bruised though – a ball boy, eyes fixed on a ball looping through the air, ran straight into him at the start of the ninth game and thankfully it ended in smiles all round.

Not for long though. Soares double faulted twice to leak three set points then, after saving the first of them, double faulted again.

There was one more ominous twist to come, however, as everything clicked back into place for the top seeds.

Murray was broken in the very first game of the third set after Williams made a couple of uncharacteristic errors. Soares was back to serving out to love.

Williams, then, was also broken as the instinctive familiarity of the more regular pairing really came to bear and the noisy cauldron of fans was silenced to hardly a whisper.

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