British No. 1 Andy Murray snuffed out straight sets win over rising star Nick Kyrgios to reach his fifth Australian Open semi-finals.
The Sixth seed sailed to a 6-3 7-6(7-5) 6-3 win over the home favourite to set up a last 4 clash with Thomas Berdych, who defeated Spaniard Rafael Nadal earlier in the day, for a potential spot in Sunday’s final showdown.
Murray, 27, was never “going to underestimate Kyrgios” after watching the 19-year-old come back from two set down to clinch a five-setter against Andreas Seppi two days ago and with the Canberra native playing in his first quarter-final fixture at the Australian Open, he held his nerves and produced brilliant tennis on the big points en route to ending his opponent’s fairytale run.
Next up is Czech seventh seed Thomas Berdych, who leads their head-to-head 6-4 and works with the Scot’s long-time friend Daniel Vallverdu. in straight sets earlier on Rod Laver Arena.
“It’s nice to be in the latter stages of a Slam. I’ve given myself an opportunity again,” said the two-time Grand Slam champion.
“The conditions were tricky, but I tried to use them to my advantage. I think I did that quite well.”
Back on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday evening, Murray got the first break of the game in the sixth match to go 4-2 up. Kyrgios struggled to keep his unforced error counts down with seven to Murray’s 3 after seven games and, despite managing to serve his way out to 3-5, it was Murray who sealed the opener in 32 minutes.
The Australian settled down in the second set, stayed with Murray to force a tie-break and then threatened to pull ahead when he raked in three straight points to open up a 3-2 lead.
But Murray was not giving away freebies and, with Kyrgios serving to stay in the game at 5-6, a second stunner-of-a-lob down baseline in the space of four games helped Murray clinch the second set tie-break.
Kyrgios broke for the first time for 3-4 in the third set but the Dunblane native broke back to serve for the match, which he closed out sending a smooth forehand winner down the line.