Murray overcomes early scare to reach last eight in Austria
TOP seed Andy Murray moved into the Erste Bank Open quarter-finals on Thursday as he came from behind to defeat France’s Gilles Simon in Vienna.
The Briton bounced back from losing the the first set to register a 4-6 6-2 6-2 victory in just over two hours and 40 minutes, and will now face American John Isner in the last eight.
Murray will make it three tournament triumphs this month, following on from the China Open and Shanghai Masters, should he win the Vienna title.
And if he can keep in form, he could still move up a place and be world number one for the first time in his career before the end of the year, such is the points situation between him and Novak Djokovic, who is not playing this week.
The Wimbledon and Olympic champion looked in trouble in the first set as world number 24 Simon responded to being broken in the opening game by winning the next four in a row, with a third break then sealing the set. But Murray then dug deep to claim a second set that saw him win each of the last four games.
And after Simon required courtside treatment for blistering on a foot, Murray completed the job in the third, again taking the final four games.
Dunblane’s brand-new OBE Jamie Murray and Brazilian Bruno Soares also ended their quarter-final jinx after reaching the semis in the doubles in Vienna last night.
The Australian and US Open champions had fallen at the last eight stage in Tokyo and Shanghai but made it third time lucky by beating qualifiers Guillermo Duran (Argentina) and Mariusz Fyrstenberg (Poland) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. The number one seeds will now face local favourite Oliver Marach and Frenchman Fabrice Martin for a place in this weekend’s final.
Meanwhile, Angelique Kerber posted her third straight win at the WTA Finals while Dominika Cibulkova seized her last chance to join the world number one in the semi-finals.
After losing her opening two matches, Cibulkova knew only a straight-sets win over Simona Halep and the same result for Kerber against Madison Keys would be enough to see her progress in Singapore.
And that is exactly what transpired, with Cibulkova winning a hard-fought match 6-3 7-6 (7/5) before Kerber eased past Keys 6-3 6-3.
Halep had her left knee heavily strapped and was clearly in some discomfort but, knowing she needed a set to keep her hopes alive, she battled manfully to force a decider.
However, it was Slovakian seventh seed Cibulkova who won the second-set tie-break and the match.
The 27-year-old told a press conference: “This win is really, really big for me. I feel relieved. I’m really, really happy about my win, about the way I played and the way I handled the situation and the pressure.
“It seems like I’m playing my best tennis under the biggest pressure.”
The result meant Kerber qualified for the semi-finals but she needed to beat Keys to secure top spot in the Red Group, while a set for the American would have sent her through instead of Cibulkova.
But the consistency of Kerber proved too much for debutante Keys, who dropped serve six times, winning just four of 20 points on her second serve.
In the semi-finals, Cibulkova will face White Group winner Svetlana Kuznetsova while Kerber will take on the winner of Friday’s clash between Agnieszka Radwanska and Karolina Pliskova.
MAKING A RACKET: Andy Murray fought back to beat Gilles SImon.