Andy Murray shines in breathtaking performance

 

By Jake Davies

  • Andy Murray [2] defeats Grigor Dimitrov [22] 6-1 6-2 6-2
  • Murray now plays No.6 seed Kei Nishikori in a Davis Cup rematch on Wednesday
NEW YORK, USA – Andy Murray kept his foot on the gas as he powered past Grigor Dimitrov to set up a quarter-final clash with Kei Nishikori.

 

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Andy Murray [2] defeats Grigor Dimitrov [22] 6-1 6-2 6-2

The No.2 seed Murray gave Dimitrov one of his most one sided defeats, as he thrashed the No.22 seed with the loss of just five games. It was a performance worthy of taking anyone’s breath away, with Murray seemingly in control of proceedings for the majority of the fourth round match.

The stage was set for a potentially great match. Dimitrov had won their last meeting in Miami, which was one of Murray’s lowest points of the 2016 calendar, but Dimitrov also had very meaningful wins and performances at Wimbledon and Australia. After facing two break points at the beginning of the match, Murray seemed to stamp out any resistance fairly quickly. The Briton served two tasty unreturnable serves and commanded the first set from that point forward.

Murray kept asking Dimitrov some serious questions as he targeted the one-handed backhand of the Bulgarian with relentless persistence and precision. Another massive issue that the No.22 seed was having was the inability to break through the tireless defence of Murray.

The two-time Olympic gold winner, who was trying to show massive improvements of his third round match against Paolo Lorenzi, put to bed any serious doubts about his credentials for a second US Open title. The match illustrated Dimitrov’s flashy, attractive strikes of the tennis ball, but it also magnified his deficiencies on a tennis court. When an elite, defensive player of Murray’s stature imposes his defensive game on Dimitrov, he cannot produce consistent, attacking tennis when it matters most.

Murray’s former coach, Dani Vallverdu, now working with Dimitrov, watched on as Murray tore his player apart on the biggest stage in world tennis. Murray rolled eight games in succession to take a 6-1 3-0 lead, but even when Dimitrov notched a game on the scoreboard he could not build on that momentum.

The backhand down the line worked tremendously for Murray in important stages of the match. A wounded Dimitrov recognised he needed to protect the backhand side and continuously left the gaping court for Murray to play into.

As Murray prepared to serve out the match it began to rain. That was the only delay in the pace that Murray was playing at as he bested Dimitrov in impressive fashion.

The 2012 US Open champion now has made the quarter-final or better in 22 of his last 23 majors – the only exception was last year’s US Open where he fell to Kevin Anderson in the fourth round. Many remember Murray for his standout triumphs, but what should not go unnoticed is his top tier consistency for the best part of six years at majors now.

Murray will now focus on his quarter-final nemesis Kei Nishikori. He owns a 7-1 lead in previous battles with Japan’s finest. It provides pleasant reading from Murray, but he will be wary of just how close Nishikori can push him in a Best of Five match – like he showed at Davis Cup earlier this year.

The Briton, who served a 141mph serve during tonight’s win, has steadied the ship and still looks ready to make his fourth Grand Slam final of the 2016 season.

 

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