Andy Murray beats Simon to reach last four

Andy Murray was hardly at his best but did enough to book a semi-final spot at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati with a 6-3 6-3 win over Gilles Simon.

In baking conditions, the world number four rarely looked like worsening his six-one record against Simon, but struggled with his serve and his ground strokes at times before finding some consistency in the second set.

Murray had to encounter a handful of shaky moments in a match that was played at a slow, often mundane pace, but a gradual improvement in his first-serve percentages - he won 78% of the points on it - saw him home in an hour and 35 minutes.

He will now meet the winner of Rafael Nadal and Mardy Fish in tomorrow's semi-final.

After a delayed start because of a fire alarm, Murray appeared to have laid down an early marker when he broke serve in the opening game, eventually taking a fourth break point, only for Simon to instantly break back, showing his mettle to take a 37-shot rally.

The see-saw nature of the early exchanges looked like continuing into the third game as Murray earned himself two more break points, only to twice net before hitting wide and long to give Simon the game.

Murray steadied his ship with a hold in the fourth game and broke again in the fifth, coming in to punch home a forehand winner after a pedestrian rally that was no doubt as a result of the searing heat on court.

A less-than convincing hold then allowed the Scot to put daylight between himself and Simon at 4-2, but winning only 14% of points on his second serve meant he was having to fight, and he did so again as he went 5-3 up.

He found some much-needed rhythm in the ninth game, though, and, after earning himself three set points on Simon's serve, took the first set.

Murray was much more confident at the start of the second set and served out the first game without any bother, but two slack forehands at crucial stages of the next game allowed Simon to level at 1-1.

A lethargic start to the third game saw Murray in danger of losing his serve again, especially when Simon passed him after a poor drop shot to earn a break point, but Murray quickly got a grip of things and held out and then broke Simon to go 3-1 up.

A routine service game took him to within two games of the last four, and, after a hold apiece, he duly booked his place with well-timed drop shot.

Murray admitted afterwards that he had shown some early caution in order to get a foothold in the game.

"I have to play my game against him and it works very well," he told Sky Sports 1.

"I've seen many players try to blast him off. You have to wait for the right moments.

"I need to keep improving a few percent every day."

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?