Andy Murray advanced to his eighth quarterfinal in a row at a major tennis tournament, completing a straight set victory over Milos Raonic at the U.S. Open minutes before rain started to fall in New York.
Murray, the men’s No. 3 seed from Britain, took exactly two hours to complete a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over the 15th-seeded Canadian last night at the National Tennis Center. Murray didn’t face a break point in the match, which tournament organizers moved to an earlier start time with the weather forecast calling for patches of rain throughout the night.
“It was perfect timing to finish,” Murray said at a news conference. “When we got told the match was getting moved a bit earlier, it was tough knowing there could be showers and stops that could disrupt the rhythm. I was glad that I was able to get the match done before the rain came.”
Murray’s win put an early end to matches on the U.S. Labor Day holiday. The previous day’s action stretched until 2:26 a.m. yesterday as John Isner lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in a five- setter that matched the latest finish in U.S. Open history.
Federer moved into the final eight when American Mardy Fish withdrew from the tournament for unspecified health reasons. Fish, 30, was sidelined for more than two months this year while being treated for an accelerated heartbeat.
Serena Williams, the women’s No. 4 seed, cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 victory against unseeded Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic. It was the first shutout in a U.S. Open match since Maria Sharapova won 6-0, 6-0 against American Beatrice Capra in 2010. Williams later returned to court and lost a doubles match with older sister Venus. The Williams sisters were beaten 6-1, 6-4 by Russian pair Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova.
Fish said he was following medical advice in pulling out of the year’s final major, a withdrawal that leaves Andy Roddick as the only remaining American in the men’s singles.
The 20th-seeded Roddick, who has said he’ll retire after the tournament, returns to action today in Arthur Ashe Stadium against No. 7 seed Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, the 2009 champion. Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic, the No. 2 seed from Serbia, faces No. 18 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland for a spot in the quarterfinals.
In today’s other men’s fourth-round matches in New York, No. 4 David Ferrer of Spain meets No. 13 Richard Gasquet of France, and No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia plays Kohlschreiber, the 19th seed from Germany.
Women’s No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus faces defending champion Samantha Stosur of Australia, the No. 7 seed, for a semifinal spot in today’s first singles match. Sharapova, the 2006 champion and No. 3 seed, plays No. 11 Marion Bartoli of France in today’s other women’s quarterfinal.
Murray, 25, said he played his best match of the tournament in advancing to a quarterfinal against No. 12 Marin Cilic of Croatia, a 7-5, 6-4, 6-0 winner yesterday against unseeded Martin Klizan of Slovakia. Murray, who won the Olympic gold medal last month in London, has won six of their seven career meetings, with the loss coming at the 2009 U.S. Open.
“Hopefully I’ll get a good rest, get pumped and ready for the quarterfinals because you’re only a few sets away from competing for a Grand Slam,” Murray said.
While Murray has reached the final eight of all four majors each of the past two years, Switzerland’s Federer, 31, has now made at least the quarterfinals in 34 straight Grand Slams.
Federer will next meet 26-year-old Tomas Berdych, the sixth seed from the Czech Republic, who won 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-1 yesterday against No. 11 Nicolas Almagro of Spain. Berdych is in the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the first time in 10 tries.
Women’s No. 2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland was upset 6-1, 6-4 by 20th-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy. Vinci’s quarterfinal will be against her doubles partner Sara Errani, the 10th seed, who won her fourth-round match 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 against Angelique Kerber, the No. 6 seed from Germany.
The winner of the Vinci-Errani match will become the first Italian woman to reach the semifinals of the U.S. Open since 1930, when Baroness Maude Giacomo Levi made the final four. Levi, who grew up in Chicago as Maude Rosenbaum, competed for Italy after marrying Baron Giacomo Giorgio Levi.
Ana Ivanovic advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in her career with a straight set win against Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria. Ivanovic, the women’s 12th seed from Serbia, next faces Serena Williams, against whom she’s 0-3, including a straight-set loss at last year’s U.S. Open.
“I honestly don’t feel like I started out strong in the tournament,” said Williams, who’s lost a total of 12 games in four matches. “I’m getting back to more my game, which is good. I like to play better during the second week.”
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