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Grabcopy
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Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « on: January 25, 2012, 09:22 AM »
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Andy Murray has stormed into his seventh slam semi-final in the last nine events, with a 6-3 6-3 6-1 destruction of rising son Kei Nishikori.

On a cooler day, Murray never had to burn too brightly to see off the world number 26, who was clearly feeling the effects of the 14 sets he'd endured against Ebden, Benneteau and Tsonga.

In truth, the Scot will look back on the match with mixed feelings. There'll be satisfaction in negating the smoking backcourt play of the Japanese, but disappointment at landing only 44% of his first serves. However, as Tim Henman once memorably observed, "There's no 'remarks' column in tennis".

Sticking to his new philosophy of hugging the baseline, Murray picked up where he left off against Kukushkin, who suffered eight consecutive service breaks at the hands of the Scot in round four. The difference today was that break points on the Murray serve were as plentiful as mediocre Melbourne sushi restaurants.

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After storming to a 2-0 lead, the world number four needed to save two break points to consolidate it. This became the theme of the match, with Murray converting seven out of 18 and Nishikori two out of 10.

Those break-point stats told a truer tale than the scoreline of a match that was closer than met the eye. The Japanese is a true talent, admirably displayed in the fifth game with a remarkable ‘tweener’ lob that forced a sinew-busting smash, which Nishikori promptly fizzed into a corner.

Murray served out the opening set in 55 minutes, another stat that offered a more-accurate reading of the match. A more-heartening figure was the 58% of points won on second serve, which remains the most consistent of any player left in the tournament.

A barrage of pulverising groundstrokes from Murray and Nishikori's less-than-nuclear serving (averaging just 85mph on his second delivery) helped secure the second set. With the groundwork done, Murray rode off into the Victorian sunset at a canter in set three.

"There were a lot of good points," Murray said. "Most of the fun points, he was winning, so I was trying to keep them as short as possible. I played a bit better in the third, but it was tough. I need to serve better. I didn't serve particularly well, but the returning was good."

After an awkward and functional victory, the best that can be said is that Murray controlled the dynamics of the match, if not the tennis itself – as good a measure of a seasoned matchplayer as any.

Murray will need all of that match management and more as he prepares for a probable semi-final with Novak Djokovic. Should he negotiate that, a showdown with Nadal or Federer beckons. Truly, the great titles bow down to no one.
[ Last edit by Grabcopy January 25, 2012, 02:17 PM ] IP Logged
lashurst
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 11:06 AM »
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We who were crazy enough to lose a night's sleep to watch this match must agree that some of Andy tennis wasn't up to par.
Blame the serve for much of that. No wonder he didnt want to know the 1st serve % in the post match interview.

A win is a win though, so good for Andy and all credit to Kei for giving tennis fans a great match.

Thanks for the report Nigel. Good on yer mate!
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Grabcopy
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #2 on: January 25, 2012, 11:20 AM »
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Thanks for the report Nigel. Good on yer mate!

Yeah, wasn't expecting to write it... but somebody let us down. No names, no pack drill.
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ChrisMac
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #3 on: January 25, 2012, 12:31 PM »
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 Smile Nice report Nigel, thanks
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 12:36 PM »
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Good title! Report: clean and precise.
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #5 on: January 25, 2012, 12:38 PM »
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Thanks G.c, well done Andy, now for the big one! Go Andy you can beat him yay
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michelle
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #6 on: January 25, 2012, 12:39 PM »
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Good report. Usually in every slam you can have a bad match, but winning it ugly and in three easy sets got the job done. I'm sure by friday Andy will have ironed out the serve gremlins and playing well. He did say he woke up with a sore neck and that could have been an issue re the serve, but all will be well by Friday.
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #7 on: January 25, 2012, 01:55 PM »
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It was certainly a strange old match with a mixed performance from our 5 in a row man.

Before the match began I remember saying to myself that for once I'm not worried about which Andy was going to turn up and whilst it wasn't a masterful performance by any means, he does now seem to have air of consistency to his on court presence at least. He seems very comfortable in his top four roll these days.

There were a few positives to draw from: He was very tenacious on all of the big points and seemed pretty focussed throughout. His length was very good and his backhand looked as solid ever. At no point was I worried about the loss of the match or even a set for that matter.

On the other hand I thought his footwork was really bad today. There were so many balls that came to him that he was not micro adjusting for. Normally this is one of his main attributes but he definitely seemed stuck on a lot of the points today. Of course the biggest concern was his serve which was quite frankly appalling. Against Novak this will obviously need to improve drastically.

Still, another semi final awaits and for once I'm sure Novak will be fearing Andy more than Murray fears Novak.

C'MON ANDY!
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #8 on: January 25, 2012, 02:29 PM »
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We who were crazy enough to lose a night's sleep to watch this match must agree that some of Andy tennis wasn't up to par.
Blame the serve for much of that. No wonder he didnt want to know the 1st serve % in the post match interview.

A win is a win though, so good for Andy and all credit to Kei for giving tennis fans a great match.

Thanks for the report Nigel. Good on yer mate!

I agree, Murray wasn't anywhere near his best today. I wondered why the Eurosport commetators (especially Mats!) were seemingly in awe of his performance. I'm in a way glad he has a bad serving day out of the way before the SF, I sometimes feel he has one poor serving day in a tournament and this was it so far.

Nice article by the way Nigel
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #9 on: January 25, 2012, 02:31 PM »
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Great movement and shot-making by Murray throughout. May the winner of the Murray and Nole semi-final lift the trophy. I will be thrilled if we get to see Andy lift his first grand slam trophy. Best of luck~
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Joe
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 03:00 PM »
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I agree, Murray wasn't anywhere near his best today. I wondered why the Eurosport commetators (especially Mats!) were seemingly in awe of his performance. I'm in a way glad he has a bad serving day out of the way before the SF, I sometimes feel he has one poor serving day in a tournament and this was it so far.

Nice article by the way Nigel

Yes, I wondered why they were salivating over it, given that in the set and a half that I saw (second half of the first and most of the second before I fell back to sleep!) I saw a lot of things not to like. Maybe I'm just too harsh these days, but I thought his serve was off and he put some regulation forehands into the net, especially when Kei rushed it. I'm just glad he's thrown in a bit of a duff performance before the big match in the semis, as hopefully it will show him what needs to be tightened up and steel his resolve further.
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #11 on: January 25, 2012, 03:36 PM »
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Although not at his best, apart from the poor serve and a few brief losses of focus, I thought this was a good match from Andy - he moved well and played some great shots.  Winning ugly is, after all, better than not winning. 

I said on the match thread that I wanted to see him tested, and he was.  Nishikori is a very good, gutsy player who fought to the bitter end, and, quite frankly, had he not been so fatigued after his earlier exertions, I think that this match could well have gone to four if not five sets.

What impressed me most though was Andy's continued good on-court demeanour.  His body-language stayed positive and the chuntering and swearing was kept to a minimum.  There was no more wasting energy flagellating himself and ranting at his box (definitely a Lendl effect - as the man said, "I can shout back"!).  He is, at long last, learning to keep his emotions under control, and that is going to be half the battle in his endeavours to win his first Slam.
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lashurst
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #12 on: January 25, 2012, 03:59 PM »
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Great movement and shot-making by Murray throughout. May the winner of the Murray and Nole semi-final lift the trophy. I will be thrilled if we get to see Andy lift his first grand slam trophy. Best of luck~
Nice of you join us on MW, janetx. Welcome to the Mad House of Muzza GS tennis hug
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #13 on: January 25, 2012, 04:17 PM »
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Do a lot of you even play tennis? You guys want 60 60 61 victories in a slam QF? It may be a bit unrealistic.

I play 2-3 days per week competitively at club level and there are times you can serve on a dime and some days MISFIRE big time, or it may be the BH breaking down but you're serving like a demon. It happens.

The big positive is that Andy is going for winners so much more on break points than letting the rally be dictated by his opponent or wait for errors. He is adding variety into his serves with the kicker on the Ad court and slider on the Deuce court rather than going for the flat bomb and then timidly sending a weak and short 2nd serve for them to attack.

The new serving strategy may take a wee while to embed to his play but  the more he uses this tactic, the more natural it will be throughout the course of 2012. This along with a new sense of calm (he is even congratulating opponent's winners than scream) is a great positive. Mats Wilander may have been critical of Andy in the past, but he is giving credit where it is due as Andy has been making great strides so far in 2012.

It's all about getting the W. Just 2 more and MW will have to change the banner art with a pic of Andy holding aloft a slam trophy Wink

Believe.
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Apollo
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Re: Murray dispatches tennis' rising son « Reply #14 on: January 25, 2012, 04:36 PM »
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Do a lot of you even play tennis? You guys want 60 60 61 victories in a slam QF? It may be a bit unrealistic.

I play 2-3 days per week competitively at club level and there are times you can serve on a dime and some days MISFIRE big time, or it may be the BH breaking down but you're serving like a demon. It happens.

The big positive is that Andy is going for winners so much more on break points than letting the rally be dictated by his opponent or wait for errors. He is adding variety into his serves with the kicker on the Ad court and slider on the Deuce court rather than going for the flat bomb and then timidly sending a weak and short 2nd serve for them to attack.

The new serving strategy may take a wee while to embed to his play but  the more he uses this tactic, the more natural it will be throughout the course of 2012. This along with a new sense of calm (he is even congratulating opponent's winners than scream) is a great positive. Mats Wilander may have been critical of Andy in the past, but he is giving credit where it is due as Andy has been making great strides so far in 2012.

It's all about getting the W. Just 2 more and MW will have to change the banner art with a pic of Andy holding aloft a slam trophy Wink

Believe.
Nice post!  I rewatched some of the match this morning before going to work and (haha) knowing the outcome, I was able to appreciate the good things Andy was doing which was better than the nervous watching last night.
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