Murray gets ready to face wrath of Rafa
Monday 25 January 2010
The easy part is over for Andy Murray. The Australian Open is about to get a whole lot tougher for the great hope of British tennis.
Murray coasted through his first four matches without dropping a set but his quarter-final opponent in Tuesday's feature night match presents a much bigger challenge.
By his own incredible standards, Rafa Nadal is not at his best. The Spaniard has struggled with injuries since winning last year's Australian Open and is only just regaining his confidence.
There have been plenty of indicators to suggest he is getting back to his old form and his clash with Murray could be a watershed for both men.
"I think I am okay," Nadal said. "But I have to play better next match if I really want to have chances to win.
"Andy is one of the more difficult players to play against. I have to play my best tennis."
Nadal has won five of his previous seven meetings with Murray but the Scotsman is not without hope. Nadal has won just one of his last 11 matches against players ranked in the top 10.
"I'm playing well, there's no question about that," said Murray, the only player in the top five yet to win a grand slam title.
"I'm happy to have won the matches comfortably. I know the match against Rafa is going to be difficult, but I think I can win."
The winner of that match will advance to the semi-finals against either American Andy Roddick or Croatia's Marin Cilic.
Their match, also scheduled for Tuesday, is shaping as a battle of the fittest after both were pushed all the way in their fourth round encounters.
Cilic upset Argentina's US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in five sets while Roddick also went the full distance before wearing down Chile's Fernando Gonzalez.
Roddick and Cilic have played each other twice before, winning one apiece, but the American said those matches would have no bearing on their next clash.
"I don't think we can put much stock into our previous meetings," Roddick said.
"I remember I played him at Queen's a long time ago, he played pretty badly. Then I played him in Canada, and I played pretty badly."
Justine Henin's comeback to professional tennis is building momentum but she faces a tricky quarter-final against Russia's Nadia Petrova, the only seed left in the bottom half of the women's draw.
Petrova made it through to the last eight with back-to-back wins over US Open champion Kim Clijsters and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and is in the best form of her career but it remains to be seen how seasoned Henin is.
The Belgian won seven grand slam singles titles before her shock retirement in 2008 and has lost none of her skill or determination but her body is aching.
"It's only my second tournament (back)," she said.
"Of course, I have dreams. I'll try to go as far as possible. If it's till the end, it would be amazing but it's still too early to talk about that."
Awaiting the winner of that match is either China's Zheng Jie or Russia's Maria Kirilenko.
Zheng made the semi-finals at Wimbledon two years ago while Kirilenko, like Petrova, has been something of a giantkiller, beating both Maria Sharapova and Dinara Safina on her way to the quarters.
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
Nottingham Forest vs Fulham match report: Britt Assombalonga hat-trick deepens Felix Magath's gloom
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal player ratings: How did Ozil and Welbeck do in Germany?
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City player ratings: Joe Hart? Thomas Muller? Jerome Boateng? Who was the star man?
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City report: Jerome Boateng thrashes home winner against former team
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'