Andy Murray vs Nick Kyrgios match report: Murray defeats home favourite to reach Australian Open 2015 semi-finals

Murray cruised past Kyrgios 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 to book his place in the last four

Click to follow
The Independent Online

At the age of 27 Andy Murray could hardly be described as a wise old head but the Scot gave Nick Kyrgios a master-class here today to book his place in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Kyrgios, who at 19 was attempting to become the youngest Australian in the Open era to reach the last four of his home Grand Slam tournament, was beaten 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 as Murray out-thought and outplayed the home hero. He is through to the semi-finals here for the fifth time.

On Thursday Murray will take on Tomas Berdych and his new coach, Dani Vallverdu, a close friend of the Scot’s and a member of his entourage until last month. Vallverdu helped to mastermind Berdych’s stunning victory yesterday over Rafael Nadal, who had beaten the Czech in their previous 17 matches.

 

“It will be a tough match,” Murray said as he looked ahead to the semi-final. “He’s a big, big hitter of the ball. He has played extremely well so far this tournament.  I don’t think he’s dropped a set. It’s going to be very tricky.”

Kyrgios has been one of the big headline-makers here, whether he has been beating higher ranked opponents or accumulating code violations and fines for racket abuse or foul language. Another fine for bad language is looming after this match.

The world No 53 has a big serve and thumping ground strokes and loves to play his matches at breakneck speed. Murray, however, denied him the power he likes to feed off with clever variations of pace and spin and disrupted the Australian’s rhythm by taking his time between points.

Andy-Murray.jpg
Murray celebrates the victory over Kyrgios in the Australian Open quarter-finals

On the Australian’s serve Murray slowed him down by regularly taking his towel and walking slowly along the baseline. There was even a suspicion that he might have made one or two challenges with the intention of buying time.

After a cool and overcast day it was a chilly 15C as the men entered Rod Laver Arena, but the local crowd immediately tried to raise the temperature with their support for Kyrgios, who was making his first appearance on the main show court.

Murray, who in contrast is an experienced performer on this stage, quickly set about subduing the home crowd. Kyrgios failed to return 14 of Murray’s first 20 serves, while the Scot was soon putting pressure on the Australian. Two missed forehands gave Murray the first break of serve in the sixth game and he served out for the opening set.

Nick-Kyrgios.jpg
Nick Kyrgios appeals a point during his quarter-final defeat to Murray

A stiff breeze made life difficult for both players but Kyrgios picked up his game in the second set. Murray, however, was rarely in trouble on his own serve. Having won his last 18 service points of the set, the Scot won the tie-break 7-5 with a superb winning backhand lob.

In the third set Kyrgios appeared to be suffering with a recurrence of the back trouble which has dogged him of late and Murray broke to lead 4-2. Kyrgios, nevertheless, immediately forced his first break points of the evening and broke back to 4-3, only for Murray to break again after playing some exquisite forehand passing shots.

In the next game a forehand cross-court winner took Murray to match point, which he converted with a forehand winner after two hours and five minutes.

“It was a tricky match,” Murray said afterwards. “It was pretty windy and the conditions were tough for both of us. I tried to start as quickly as possible because I know how dangerous Nick is. I’ve seen his matches and followed him for the last 18 months or so and know exactly what he’s capable of so I wasn’t going to underestimate him at all.”

Kim-Sears.jpg
Kim Sears watches on as her fiancé Andy Murray takes on Nick Kyrgios

Murray added: “He’s a huge hitter of the ball so I tried to keep it out of his strike zone as much as possible, but it was also very windy, so if you can use the slice and keep the ball, it is difficult to control. I played a slightly different style tonight and thankfully it worked.”

The Scot was asked about Kyrgios’ future. “I think the first thing to say is try not to put too much pressure on him,” he said. “I also think that he needs to be allowed to mature and develop. He’s going to make some mistakes, obviously. He’s young and growing up in the spotlight isn’t easy. He’s doing a great job so far and he’s going to continue to learn and keep getting better.”

Comments