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Wimbledon: Majestic Andy Murray in cruise control after crushing win over Kyrgois

Scot to face Tsonga in the last eight after a ruthless demolition of bad boy Kyrgios

By Paul Newman

If Andy Murray treats his friends like this, who knows what he might do to an enemy? Murray talks warmly about Nick Kyrgios, the controversial Australian who is one of the game's outstanding young talents, but there was never a hint of mercy as the world No 2 won 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 to reach his ninth successive Wimbledon quarter-final.

Murray's 19th win in the 19 tour-level matches he has played against Australians earned a last-eight meeting tomorrow with an opponent from another country whose players he loves to sweep aside.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Murray in the first round of the Australian Open eight years ago, but since then the Scot has won 26 matches in a row against Frenchmen in Grand Slam competition. He has won 12 of his 14 career meetings with Tsonga, including two here at the All England Club.

While Murray will be looking no further than his next match, this crushing victory reinforced his position as the favourite to win the tournament following Novak Djokovic's defeat at the weekend. It was Murray's ninth successive victory on grass following his triumph at Queen's Club before Wimbledon and he remains unbeaten since his reunion with Ivan Lendl.

"If I can keep the level I'm playing at now I think I give myself a chance in most matches," Murray said. "The trick is to keep that up and maintain that level for the whole two weeks."

He added: "Today was very good. I knew it was a dangerous match so I was switched on from the start. I'm fully aware of how difficult my next opponent is as well. I know Tsonga is one of the best grass-court players in the world."

Murray has now reached the quarter-finals at 20 of the last 21 Grand Slam tournaments he has played - the only hiccup his fourth round loss to Kevin Anderson at last year's US Open -while his tally of 50 wins at the All England Club is bettered by only seven players in the Open era.

Kyrgios contributed to his own downfall by losing his focus after Murray won a tight first set - the Australian described his subsequent performance as "pretty pathetic" - but Murray played almost flawless tennis. By the end Kyrgios looked utterly downcast, having been bewildered by the variety of his opponent's game as Murray mixed crunching cross-court forehands and thumping backhand winners with delightful variations of pace and spin.

There were times when Murray seemingly had Kyrgios on a string as he pulled the world No .18 into the net with deft drop shots and then sent him scampering back to retrieve killing lobs. Murray hit 36 winners to Kyrgios' 29, but an even more telling statistic was the Scot's tally of six unforced errors, compared with the Australian's 19.

Kyrgios, nevertheless, did himself no favours with some of his tactics and shot selection. Wanting to come into the net as much as possible might have been a reasonable strategy, but all too often his approach shots were simply not good enough. Murray loves to have a target at the net and when he has time to take aim before pulling the trigger he is usually deadly.

Murray served out for the match after just an hour and 43 minutes. When he met Kyrgios at the net the Scot almost looked embarrassed. Kyrgios revealed later: "He said: 'Sorry'. I said: 'It's OK. Just win the tournament please.' Then we hugged."

Belfast Telegraph


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