Andy Murray swept into the Queen’s Club quarter-finals in emphatic fashion as the world number two finished a hectic Thursday by routing Australia’s Marinko Matosevic 6-2, 6-2.
Murray had to complete two matches in one day after heavy rain on Wednesday left the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event behind schedule.
But the US Open champion rose to the challenge, first avenging last year’s embarrassing Queen’s exit against Nicolas Mahut with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory over the Frenchman in the second round.
Murray had led 6-3, 2-2 overnight and needed 43 minutes to finish off former Queen’s finalist Mahut.
The 26-year-old was back in action just over three hours later against Matosevic, but the draining schedule didn’t seem to trouble Murray, who missed the French Open with a lower back injury.
This is the Scot’s first competitive action since retiring from the Rome Masters in May after aggravating the recurring back problem, but he showed few signs of rust as he demolished world number 65 Matosevic in 56 minutes.
The top seed’s next opponent will be Germany’s Benjamin Becker, who enjoyed a surprise 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 win over Ukrainian seventh seed Alexandr Dolgopolov.
“This afternoon was tricky because it was extremely windy. I had to be patient and not play high risk tennis too close to the lines,” Murray told the BBC.
“I have been moving fairly well in the first couple of matches and hopefully that will get even better.”
With Wimbledon looming in just 10 days, Murray could do with a strong showing on the lush lawns of west London and he remains on course to secure a third Queen’s title.
Bosnia-born Matosevic posed little threat as Murray teased and tormented him with some sublime groundstrokes.
Murray broke for a 3-1 lead in the first set and then cemented his advantage with another break in the sixth game before serving out the set.
He kept his foot on the gas and broke again in the first game of the second set.
That effectively ended the contest but Murray added one more break for good measure before closing out a solid day’s work.
Lleyton Hewitt continued his giant-killing run as the Australian moved into the quarter-finals with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over American sixth seed Sam Querrey.
Hewitt is a four-time champion at the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event, but thoughts of a record fifth crown were some way from the former world number one’s thoughts when he arrived at the start of the week.
The 32-year-old is well into the twilight of his career and his lowly 82nd position in the world rankings reflects that diminished status.
But the former Wimbledon champion brushed aside the highly-regarded Grigor Dimitrov in the second round before cutting big-serving Querrey down to size on Thursday.
Hewitt next faces former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who took just 57 minutes to beat British wildcard Daniel Evans 6-0, 6-3.
“I sort of pick and choose the tournaments I want to play nowadays,” Hewitt said. “So for me, going into a Grand Slam, this is perfect preparation.
“It’s good to come through a close three setter against a quality player.”
Czech second seed Tomas Berdych progressed to the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Slovenian 16th seed Grega Zemlja.
World number six Berdych now faces defending champion Marin Cilic, who battled back from 5-2 down in the final set to beat Spanish qualifier Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the French fourth seed, survived a pair of gruelling three-set matches in the space of just a few hours to earn a last eight meeting with America’s Denis Kudla.
Tsonga defeated compatriot Eduoard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3 early on Thursday in a tie rescheduled from Wednesday due to rain.
The world number seven was forced to play again later in the day, defeating Holland’s Igor Sijsling, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
smg/djPublished 13 Jun 2013, 23:23 IST