Murray continues progress on clay with quick-fire win


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The Independent Online

Andy Murray says that the switch to clay is always his most difficult period of the year, but the 24-year-old Scot is learning fast. Having reached the quarter-finals at last week's Monte Carlo Masters in his first clay-court appearance of the season, Murray is through to the last eight of the Barcelona Open after a 6-1, 6-2 win over Colombia's Santiago Giraldo.

Murray, who has lost only eight games in his first two matches this week, was much too good for Giraldo, the world No 54. In three previous appearances in this tournament Murray had won only one match, but the world No 4 is looking in good shape. He took command of the first set from the start and resumed control in the second after Giraldo had retrieved an early break of serve. Murray sealed victory after an hour and 14 minutes.

Canada's Milos Raonic is likely to provide a much stiffer challenge for Murray in today's quarter-finals. The world No 25 has a big serve and sprang a surprise with his 6-3, 6-3 victory over Spain's Nicolas Almagro.

Murray was back on court later in the day playing doubles alongside his brother Jamie, but the Scots lost 6-2, 5-7, 10-8 to Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer.

Rafael Nadal, who is seeking a seventh Barcelona title, beat Colombian qualifier Robert Farah 6-2, 6-3 to set up a quarter-final against Janko Tipsarevic. David Ferrer, the No 3 seed, crushed Albert Montanes 6-0, 6-2 and now faces his fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

Novak Djokovic has pulled out of next week's Serbia Open tournament, which is run by his own family. The world No 1, who has felt emotionally drained after the death of his grandfather last week, said: "It is impossible for me to play in the next few days and to think about tennis."