Mur­ray over­comes early scare to reach last eight in Aus­tria

The Herald - Herald Sport - - TENNIS - HAY­LEY MILNE

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.

Pic­ture: Getty

MAK­ING A RACKET: Andy Mur­ray fought back to beat Gilles SI­mon.

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