By Ros Satar at the ATP World Tour Finals, London

  • Andy Murray [1] def. Stan Wawrinka [3] 6-4 6-2
  • Tops Group John McEnroe with a perfect 3-0 record
  • Will face Milos Raonic for a place in the final
LONDON, ENGLAND – Andy Murray cruised past Stan Wawrinka to make the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals semi-finals for the fourth time, and will face Milos Raonic next.

 

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Andy Murray [1] def. Stan Wawrinka [3] 6-4 6-2

Forget the scenarios, forget the permutations. Nothing less than a win would ensure Andy Murray avoiding Novak Djokovic. With Stan Wawrinka coming out of the gate with some heavy hitting, knocking out 15 winners in five games, Murray did well to absorb the pace and heat coming from the other side of the net.

No inch was being given by either man, but Murray’s dogged determination brought up a snagged ball on a net-cord, a break point and a dumped backhand in the net from Wawrinka for the first break.

Could he make it stick? A hold to love underlined that he too meant business, and the pressure was now building on Wawrinka. Where he had started perhaps the brighter of the two at the start of the match, the unforced errors were now beginning to creep up as Murray threatened for a second successive break

With Murray gaining ground now – he clinched the first set off another Wawrinka error. With that set he guaranteed his qualification but by then the bit was firmly between his teeth. With an immediate break at the start of the second set, Murray fended off a Wawrinka breakpoint and to add insult to injury broke the Swiss once more to open up a 3-0 lead.

With Wawrinka killing his racquet, the frustration was evident in the Swiss who rapidly found himself a double-break behind. From there it just unravelled further for the Swiss, who is in a three-way hunt for the No. 3 year end ranking as well. As befits the way in which his game fell away sharply especially in second set, a forehand shank sent Murray to the top of the group with a perfect record in the round robin for the first time, and into the semi-finals for the third time.

He said, after the match: “I weathered the early storm a little bit. Stan came out hitting the ball huge. He was hitting a lot of winners, a lot of aces. He had a couple of opportunities on my serve, but 15-30s, 30-Alls.

“Once I got through the early part of the match, I started to create chances in most of his service games. I served very well myself. I got a lot of free points with my serve. That allowed me to also dictate a lot of the points, whereas at the beginning of the match I wasn’t able to do that. Stan was, like I said, hitting the ball big, serving well, dictating most of the rallies.”

Wawrinka’s practice had showed a lot of pace, as did the first five games or so in the match, before Murray found that chink in his armour

He explained, after the match: “I think he did many things good. I think he was serving really well, especially playing good after the serve. He didn’t give me many chance, especially at the beginning.
He make me hesitating a little bit with my game, when to go, when to stay back. That’s why he’s so good. That’s why he’s No. 1.

“He’s in full confidence. He’s playing the right things. For me was tough. Tough score also. I think I was starting well, but few little things can make a big difference against a player like him.”

The Swiss has never beaten a World No. 1 in the regular tour, but has managed to get the better of them in Slams – and of course beat Novak Djokovic in the US Open this year to make it three Grand Slam titles in three years. So who did he feel was the favourite to lift not only the title but also to lay claim to the year-end No. 1?

“For sure [Murray’s] playing more than well enough to win it here. Who is the favorite? I
think for me Novak and Andy are at the same level. I think it’s going to be a really interesting weekend with some really good match tomorrow, semifinal, and hopefully amazing final.”

Murray will face Raonic in the afternoon match for a place in the final – beginning at 2pm GMT.

 

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