• ATP Tour

Angry Murray battles to victory in Japan quarter-finals

ESPN staff
October 5, 2012
Andy Murray was not happy with his performance during his quarter-final with Stanislas Wawrinka © PA Photos

Andy Murray lost his cool and smashed his racket during a turbulent three-set triumph over Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open on Friday.

Murray has been enjoying the best year of his professional career, having won Olympic gold and his maiden grand slam title at the US Open, but some of the old anger crept back into his game in Toyko. The defending champion cruised through the first set but then lost his temper in the second, eventually winning 6-2 3-6 6-2.

It was the fourth game of the second set that sparked Murray's wrath, after he produced an extremely sloppy service game. Wawrinka took full advantage of the Brit's unforced errors, prompting Murray to slam his racket into the court as he ceded his advantage.

The match had all started so comfortably for the world No. 3, who broke in the first game with a punchy counter forehand that zipped past Wawrinka at the net. Murray then produced a delicate lob from close to the net to set up a further break chance as he raced to a one-set advantage with some class.

Then came the brief meltdown as Wawrinka began to find the lines, losing only seven points on serve in the set. The Swiss deservedly levelled the match when Murray blocked a return into the net, and the momentum was with the underdog as they headed to a decider.

Crucially, Murray dug in to drag Wawrinka into a scrap on the Swiss' serve in the fourth game of the final set. A lengthy deuce battle ensued, eventually won by Murray before he broke again to clinch victory.

Murray will now face Milos Raonic for a place in the final after the Canadian came through a big-hitting war with Janko Tipsarevic 6-7(5) 6-2 7-6(7). Raonic hit a staggering 24 aces as Tipsarevic failed to create a break point in the match.

In a contest lasting two hours and 43 minutes, Raonic fell behind despite being the only man to threaten a decisive move before the first-set tiebreaker. His two breaks of service both arrived in the second, before more chances were wasted in the decider as Raonic edged a tense tiebreaker 9-7.

Later in the day Murray returned to court alongside brother Jamie in the doubles quarter-finals, losing 6-4 3-6 10-2 to Radek Stepanek and Leander Paes after a champions tiebreaker.

In the other half of the singles draw, Murray's expected final opponent Tomas Berdych was a popular loser on Friday after the second seed was beaten by home favourite Kei Nishikori.

The world No. 17 produced one of the finest performances of his career to claim a 7-5 6-4 victory to become the first Japanese player to reach the semi-finals. Next up for Nishikori is Marcos Baghdatis who defeated Dmitry Tursunov 6-2 6-4.

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