/ Tennis

Imperious Andy Murray reaches US Open quarter-finals

Updated: Tuesday, 04 Sep 2012 10:51 | Comments

Andy Murray did not face a single break point against Milos Raonic
Andy Murray did not face a single break point against Milos Raonic

Andy Murray had his timing spot on last night as he gave rising star Milos Raonic a lesson to ease through to the quarter-finals of the US Open.

The third seed had been anything but comfortable in a gruelling third-round victory over Feliciano Lopez on Saturday but things could not have been more different on Monday night.

Murray was in control throughout the whole match, leaving Raonic shaking his head at the excellence and variety of the Scot's play, and he did not face a single break point in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 triumph.

And instead of the blazing hot conditions that had made the Lopez match so tough, it was cool and damp, with the match brought forward because of the threat of rain. Murray had only just walked off the court after taking exactly two hours to wrap up victory when the rain began to fall, which was fitting on a night when it seemed the Scot could do nothing wrong.

He said: "It just started raining just now, so it was perfect timing to finish.

"When we got told the match was getting moved a bit earlier, it wasn't so much the match getting earlier that was hard - it's knowing there is possibly going to be showers and stops, which can disrupt the rhythm of the match and can make it tough, especially when you're playing against someone with as big a serve as him.

"It's tough to get into a rhythm when there isn't stops in the match. I was glad I managed to get the match done before the rain came."

At 21, Raonic is closing in fast on the top 10 and his huge serve and forehand make him a threat to even the game's best players.

He had demolished James Blake in the previous round and it was partly because of the danger posed by the young Canadian that Murray made sure his concentration never wavered.

"I knew going into the match that I was going to have to return well," the third seed said. "And then I also had to stay extremely focused and give as few points as possible on my serve away.

"He was always going to come up with some big returns or come to the net a couple of times, get me in tough positions on my serve.

"But I passed really well tonight when I needed to. I kind of made him back away from the net. I had to play extremely solid, and I did that."

Raonic beat Murray in their only previous meeting on clay earlier this season and has pushed Roger Federer very hard in all their three matches.

The 21-year-old was left almost in awe of Murray's performance, and he told the Scot so when they shook hands at the net.

Raonic said: "He said, 'Sorry, I got lucky a few times.' I said, 'Don't be sorry - it was simply amazing. Keep it up and you'll do well'.

"Considering what I was able to put into the match, to have somebody that took me out of it and neutralised me and took it even one step further... I haven't really felt in that situation too much when I feel like I'm doing things well."

Raonic had served 89 aces in his first three matches - substantially more than anyone else in the tournament - and in the first few games Murray struggled to get a racquet on the ball.

But the 25-year-old is a master at working opponents out and, after forcing Raonic to save break points in the seventh game, he struck in the ninth with the cutest of drop shots.

From there, Murray simply got better and better, breaking once in the second set and twice in the third to reach the quarter-finals at an eighth straight grand slam tournament, where he will meet Croatia's Marin Cilic.

Murray's tally of 31 winners and 12 unforced errors was a reflection of his quality, while he was delighted to deny Raonic any chance of a break.

"On this surface, against a big hitter like him, normally you'll have to save some break points," Murray added. "But I served really smart today, did a good job behind my serve.

"I did the same at the Olympics. I didn't get broken the last three matches I played there. It's really important to serve well the deeper you go in the tournament. It conserves a lot of energy.

"The first round I served really badly, so there were long baseline rallies. It's physically tiring when you're serving at or 29% or whatever I was serving at in the first match. So I was happy with that."

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