A relaxed-looking Andy Murray today eased past Andreas Seppi 6-2 6-4 in the fourth round of the Sony Open Masters in Miami.
Some match-ups in tennis are pure torture and, when Seppi sees the Scot across the net, he must feel like Dante, who had to fight his way through the nine concentric circles of Hell just to get his name on the guest list for Purgatory.
The Italian, who looked like the sky had fallen on his head throughout, got off to a shocking start by trying to out-counterpunch the arch-counterpuncher. Exerting his greater length and variety on proceedings, Murray broke in the very first game.
Seppi, who took over an hour to hit his first winner, must have dreaded the start of each rally, knowing he would have to run back home to Bolzano and back in pursuit of Murray’s hefty groundshots. With the Scot changing pace, direction and spin at will, he broke again for 5-2 and duly served out the opening set.
The British number one, who looked as lean and dangerous as a hungry timberwolf, continued to impose his lacerating game on the 16th seed. As Murray’s purposeful groundshots strafed the net, Seppi at last beefed up his own backcourt game and maintained parity until 4-4.
With the match finally looking competitive, Seppi reverted to Chicken Licken mode and dumped two routine groundshots into the net to gift Murray the chance to serve for victory. The Scot survived a break point to prevail and book a quarter-final spot against either Jo-Wilfred Tsonga or Marin Cilic.
it's a good'un Nigel. That'll do nicely