No alarms for Murray as he eases into semis

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The Independent Online

Gilles Simon's deceptively languid style has helped him to victories over all the world's top players, but Andy Murray clearly enjoys playing the Frenchman. The 24-year-old Scot has dropped only one set in his last seven meetings with Simon and rarely looked in trouble as he brushed aside the world No 12 yesterday to reach today's semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters.

There were times in his previous match against Alex Bogomolov Jnr when Murray looked badly in need of match practice, but a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Simon confirmed that the world No 4 is running into form at the right time. Cincinnati is his last tournament before the US Open, which begins in nine days' time.

Murray, who will now meet Mardy Fish of the US in the last four, went into the event hoping for as much time on court as possible, having lost first time out in Montreal last week in his only other appearance on American hard courts in the build-up to the year's final Grand Slam tournament.

Murray said: "I feel much better than last week, which is important. Each day I just need to feel a little bit better. That's key going to the US Open, feeling my best. In the last couple of years it's been the other way round. I've felt my best at the start of this trip and by the end wasn't feeling great, so I just need to keep improving every day and hopefully be playing my best tennis by the US Open."

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