By Ros Satar
- Andy Murray overcame a sluggish start to prevail 4-6 7-6(3) 7-5
- Faces Richard Gasquet in the quarter-finals
Cincinnati, USA – Andy Murray had to dig deep to get past an inspired Grigor Dimitrov, to advance to the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters.
Dimitrov roared out of the blocks putting Murray on the back foot immediately, with a break in the first game, and stayed that nudge ahead for the first set. The World No. 2 showed some steel staving off a further three break points, and even started to challenge enough to earn one of his own at the end of the first set, but couldn’t execute as Dimitrov edged the first set.
That momentum stayed with him, as he repeated the early break, with a 4-1 advantage before Murray at least claimed the first of the two breaks back. The tide looked to be turning with a hard fought game, finally converting on his third break point to get things back on serve, holding to take the lead for the first time in the match.
A tie-break started with successive breaks of serve before Murray picked up a crucial mini-break to build up three set points, needing just one to take us into a decider.
This time it was the Brit’s turn to break at the start of the set, as Dimitrov began to look like he was running out of ideas, but he wasn’t quite done yet. A tired looking game from Murray allowed Dimitrov the chance to break back. Another sloppy game put the Bulgarian in the driving seat as Murray served to stay in the match.
Asking the question of Dimitrov, the Bulgarian’s attempts to serve were met with a double-fault to start, and ended with a break, to give Murray a fighting chance. It looked like he had gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for that pesky kid, as Dimitrov toiled to earn a match point, duly saved.
Between Murray looking like he was ready for the grave, and Dimitrov glaring at the net for getting in the way, or indeed the tram lines for magnetically drawing the ball to them, Murray drew level at 5-5 – honestly against all probabilities.
Once more Dimitrov’s resolve unraveled like a ball of string being tormented by a vindictive kitten, as Murray battled to a three set win, and with it a date with Richard Gasquet.
Murray leads their head to head overall, and interestingly Gasquet does lead their hard court encounters (discounting walkovers). Gasquet is playing some good tennis at the moment having made the semi-finals of Wimbledon.
There will be more of the flaring single-handed backhands for Murray to deal with, and Gasquet can expect Murray to pepper his slightly weaker forehand side if he can pull the Frenchman into solid rallies. Gasquet can be overly defensive, standing so deep at the back of a court, he may as well be in the car park, but Murray can expect another stern test.
Murray and Gasquet are scheduled on Centre Court at 2:30pm (7:30pm BST).