Murray cruises into Queen’s final

Britain’s Andy Murray swept into the final at Queen’s with an imperious 6-3, 6-1 victory over four-time champion Andy Roddick in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Murray, seeded second, was in sublime form as he demolished one of the top grass-court players of the last decade to set up a final clash against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or James Ward.

This was arguably the most complete performance of Murray’s career and the victory was especially sweet for the world number four as it went some way to avenging his 2009 Wimbledon semi-final defeat against Roddick.

Murray had won six of his nine meetings with Roddick but the loss at Wimbledon still rankles with the Scot.

The 24-year-old will have taken extra delight from the way he totally overwhelmed third seed Roddick here and he will now be heavy favourite to win this Wimbledon warm-up event for the second time.

“Andy is one of the toughest players to break on the tour but it was just one of those days. I hardly missed a ball,” Murray said.

“Everything that touched my racquet came off. I felt great out there.

“It’s nice to get off the court quickly. I’m sure if we play in a couple of weeks at Wimbledon it’ll be a lot more competitive.”

Murray, who last won the title here in 2009, had an unexpected chance to rest his troublesome ankle injury on Friday when Marin Cilic was forced to pull out just before the start of their quarter-final with an ankle problem of his own.

The Scot certainly seemed refreshed as he slammed down two aces in his first service game and then snatched the early momentum by breaking Roddick in the next game.

Roddick didn’t help his cause with a couple of loose slices that flopped tamely into the net, but Murray was mixing up his game nicely to keep the American from settling into his rhythm.

As ever, Murray was looking to use the drop-shot at every opportunity and he caught Roddick with two exquisite efforts to move 4-1 ahead.

Murray’s serve was in good working order and, with his sliced backhand causing the American no end of problems, Roddick began to wear an increasingly exasperated expression as the first set ended with another Murray ace.

Roddick’s formidable record on grass — he had won 32 of his previous 37 matches at Queen’s, as well as reaching three Wimbledon finals — underlined Murray’s achievement in dominating so completely.

The American was going for a record fifth Queen’s title, but there was no let-up from Murray at the start of the second set and he broke again in the first game.

A Roddick double-fault gifted the break point and Murray was quick to seize the opportunity with a superb return that his opponent could only volley into the net.

Murray was toying with Roddick now, drawing him in with low slices and then passing at will, and his place in the final was secured when he broke for a 4-1 lead and then converted his third match point.

For the first time since the Open era began in 1968, there are two British semi-finalists at Queen’s and Murray’s win means there could a first all-British final here since 1931.

Ward, a wildcard entry ranked 216th in the world, has knocked out fourth seed Stanislas Wawrinka and defending champion Sam Querrey en route to the last four and he will aim for another giant-killing against French fifth seed Tsonga later on Saturday. — AFP

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Steve Griffiths
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