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Andy Murray has returned to the quarter-final stage at Flushing Meadows after a dominant victory over an overwhelmed and error-prone Grigor Dimitrov in the last sixteen. Andy's opponent in the last eight will be Japan's Kei Nishikori, who won the last match on Louis Armstrong Stadium with some strong serving and good net play of his own against the giant serving Ivo Karlovic.
Andy and Kei last faced each other in the semi-final stage of the Rio Olympics last month. Andy won - as he has on six other occasions - after two scrappy performances against Fognini and Johnson in the previous two rounds. In Rio Andy knew he needed to raise his level, particularly his first serve percentage, to see off Kei's return and defence, and he did exactly that win an emphatic 6-1 6-4 scoreline.
Kei has been slightly under the radar at this US Open, but he is the only other player on the men's tour along with Andy to reach the second week of each slam this year. Nonetheless, since his run to the finals here in 2014 Kei has yet to go beyond a quarter-final match at a major.
Despite his strong movement and dynamic backhand, Kei struggles with the variety Andy has honed in his game over the last two years. Against Lorenzi in the third round Andy suppressed his variety for the best part of two hours as he struggled to find the balance between aggressive short points and grinding defence, but when he began to mix up his shots and make proper use of the variety at his disposal, the match swung decisively his way.
Andy will know that strong serving and attacking use of variety are the keys to victory over the Japanese man. Their last match over best-of-five sets is the longest match Andy has played this year.
The match is scheduled to be played second on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday 7th September, not before 1pm local time, 6pm BST, however barring a retirement in the women's match beginning at 12 noon/5pm this quarter-final is unlikely to start before 2pm/7pm. The weather is forecast for sun, cloud, and possible showers. Temperature around 28 degrees Celsius, humidity of 60%, and a north-easterly wind of 12mph. If the predicted showers arrive the roof might be closed for the match, or closed mid-match.
Thanks to Bev for the H2H image.
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