Scot Murray, China's Li advance in Miami
MIAMI (AFP) –
Reigning US Open champion and second seed Andy Murray blasted nine aces en route to a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the third round of the Miami Masters on Monday.
Murray, who won this event four years ago, needed one hour and 54 minutes to oust the 29th seeded Dimitrov.
Last year’s runner-up to Novak Djokovic would have faced a tougher task had not the 21-year-old lost his composure when serving for the first set at 5-3.
Dimitrov double faulted three times to allow Murray to break back and the doughty Scot duly got the better in the tie-break.
It is the second time in as many tournaments that Dimitrov has cracked when serving for a set against a top-ranked player, serving up four double faults when he led world number one Djokovic 5-3 in the third round at Indian Wells.
Murray, who committed 22 unforced errors to Dimitrov’s 38, will face Italian Andrea Seppi in the fourth round, the 16th seed having beaten experienced Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.
Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet rolled over 28th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-4 and 10th-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro beat Belgian David Goffin 6-3, 6-4. Gasquet faces Almagro in the fourth round.
Also, sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France, cruised past Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-3.
In the women’s draw, China’s Li Na reached the quarter-finals here on Monday with an error strewn 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 win over giantkilling Spanish teenager Garbine Muguruza.
The 31-year-old Li – who is playing in her first tournament since suffering an ankle injury in January’s Australian Open final – will face world number one Serena Williams in the last eight.
Williams too struggled having to come from a set down to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 against Slovakia’s 13th seed Dominika Cibulkova.
Li – the 2011 French Open champion and two-time Australian Open finalist – made 39 unforced errors, including four double faults, and allowed her 19-year-old opponent to battle back to 5-5 in the first set having led 5-1.
Even at 6-1 in the tiebreker Li faltered as 73rd-ranked Muguruza, who had claimed the scalps of the seeded Caroline Wozniacki and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in previous rounds, fought back to 6-6.
However, fifth-seeded Li pulled herself together to take the next two points and the set.
Li was more clinical in the second set breaking Muguruza, who was born in Venezuela but has a Spanish father who now lives in Barcelona, in the second game and then again when closing out the tie as her opponent served a double fault on match point.
Williams, who is bidding for a record sixth Miami title, admitted she had not been at her best and at 4-1 down to Cibulkova in the second set and staring defeat in the face she had had to pull herself together.
“I was struggling mentally, I was making so many errors,” said Williams, who regained the number one spot in Doha in February but has not played since.
“I could not pull myself together. Someone (a fan) kept telling me to relax and I listened to him. I saw my dad courtside and he was so calm, it helped me.”
Meanwhile, defending champ Agnieszka Radwanska defeated American Sloane Stephens 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 to reach the quarter-finals.