SONY OPEN TENNIS
Murray Beats Cilic For SF Spot; Gasquet Up Next
World No. 3 Andy Murray advanced to the Sony Open Tennis semi-finals on Thursday, defeating ninth seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3 in Miami.
The second-seeded Murray rallied from a break down twice in the first set and went on to convert six of his 18 break point chances to clinch the victory in one hour and 42 minutes. The Scot improved to 8-1 against Cilic to reach his 20th semi-final at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.
“I think today was probably the best match for me,” declared Murray. “It was a tough, tough match. The second set especially was a lot of long, long games and tough points. I just managed to come through that. Obviously, it took a while to get to the finish line, but I thought I played a solid match, [with] not too many errors and was [I] tough in the important moments.”
Murray is bidding to lift his first Masters 1000 trophy since 2011, when he successfully defended his crown in Shanghai (d. Ferrer). The 25 year old has appeared in the title match at Crandon Park twice, beating Novak Djokovic in 2009 and finishing runner-up to the Serbian last year. Should he go on to triumph, Murray will overtake Roger Federer at World No. 2 in the ATP Rankings.
For a place in the final, Murray will face eighth seed Richard Gasquet. The World No. 10 beat 2010 runner-up and fourth seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3 in 74 minutes. Gasquet crafted a clean performance, hitting 17 winners to 10 unforced errors and breaking serve three times to avenge his defeat to the Czech in the round of 16 at Indian Wells. He improved to 5-3 against Berdych in their head-to-head series.
Watch Gasquet Hot Shot
“I'm really happy with the way I played,” said Gasquet. “It was a good match for me. And I think I was solid mentally. I was playing very good. It's an important match for me.”
Looking ahead to the Murray clash, Gasquet said, “He can do everything on the tennis court. He's very clever. He's an unbelievable player, but I know his game. I think we played a lot of times already in the past, but for sure he will be the favorite. I have nothing to lose and I will try to play a good match.”
Gasquet is looking to win his third title of the season, having tasted victory in Doha (d. Davydenko) and Montpellier (d. Paire). The Frenchman has reached three Masters 1000 finals, most recently in Toronto last year (l. to Djokovic). The 26 year old is 3-4 versus Murray, with two of his wins coming on hard.