Off-key Murray battles into Queen's semis

June 18, 2016 | 16:00
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Defending champion Andy Murray survived a stern test from Kyle Edmund to reach the Queen's Club semi-finals with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory over the British wildcard on Friday.
Britain's Andy Murray takes a tumble in a point against Britain's Kyle Edmund in their men's singles quarter-final match in the ATP Aegon Championships tennis tournament at the Queen's Club in west London. (AFP/Glyn Kirk)

LONDON: Defending champion Andy Murray survived a stern test from Kyle Edmund to reach the Queen's Club semi-finals with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory over the British wildcard on Friday (Jun 17).

Murray will play Croatia's Marin Cilic in the last four on Saturday in a rematch of the 2013 final at the Wimbledon warm-up event in west London.

But the world number two had to dig deep to remain on course for a record fifth Queen's crown after a lacklustre first two sets against an inexperienced 21-year-old ranked 83 places below him.

Canadian third seed Milos Raonic will face Australia's Bernard Tomic in the other semi-final.

Murray defeated 2012 champion Cilic in the final three years ago but if the 29-year-old wants to repeat that he will have to improve significantly on his curiously limp performance against Edmund, who showed why he is regarded as Murray's likely successor as British number one with an inspired effort before being blown away in the deciding set.

"I train with Kyle a lot so I know how good he is. He is big, strong and when he is on, he is very tough to play against," Murray said.

"Kyle is the future of the game in this country. I have felt that in practice and I felt that in the match. He served extremely well, but I tried to up my aggression at the start of the third set and thankfully it worked."

Murray had waited 10 years to face a British opponent until he beat Aljaz Bedene in the second round on Thursday and just 24 hours later the top seed was taking on another compatriot in the promising Edmund.

It was the first all-British Queen's Club quarter-final in the Open era and the first last eight showdown between two Brits on the ATP Tour since Tim Henman defeated Greg Rusedski in Adelaide in 2002.


Murray took the first set despite being some way short of his best against Edmund, who appeared unperturbed by being unexpectedly awoken in the early hours of Friday to take delivery of a washing machine in his new flat.

The Scot was on the ropes when Edmund took the second, but he hit back emphatically with a pair of early breaks to finally restore the status quo in the third set.

Former US Open champion Cilic battled back to defeat American Steve Johnson 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-4 in the day's first quarter-final as the fifth seed advanced to the Queen's semi-finals for the third time.

"I really enjoy playing here. Grass suits my game and when I'm in good form I can always play really well," Cilic said. "I'm looking forward to Saturday's match. It's going to be probably a little bit of a crowd against me, but I'm going to enjoy that."

Raonic took advantage of Spanish sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut's busy scheduled to sweep into the last four with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.

Bautista Agut had to finish the second set of his rain-delayed second-round win over Donald Young earlier on Friday and he looked drained as Raonic slammed down 19 aces and booked his first Queen's semi-final appearance in just 60 minutes on court.

World number nine Raonic's run to the last four comes in the week he started working with American great John McEnroe as his coach.

Standing between Raonic and his third ATP Tour final of 2016 is world number 22 Tomic.

The 23-year-old will be in his first Queen's semi-final after beating Luxembourg's Gilles Muller 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-2.

Tomic has been practising with Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt this week and the four-time Queen's champion's advice has clearly rubbed off during his best winning streak since February.


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