Murray into semi-finals in Madrid

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray overcame a slow start to clinch a hugely-impressive victory over Gael Monfils today to progress through to the semi-finals of the Madrid Masters.

Murray needed just over an hour to beat the outclassed Frenchman 6-2 6-2 in a match that started off as an evenly-fought contest but ended up being almost completely one-sided.

The world number four will next meet either Roger Federer or Juan Martin Del Potro in the last four as he seeks his fourth title of the season.

As against third-round opponent Marin Cilic yesterday, Murray needed to do it the hard way to win the first set against the 22-year-old Monfils after being broken in the opening game of the match.

However, the fourth seed hit back immediately to level the scores up at 1-1 and then broke Monfils again in the sixth and eighth games en route to taking the first set 6-2.

It was not as easy as the scoreline suggested though, at least not early on as Monfils matched his seeded opponent blow for blow in what looked set to be a testing match for Murray.

The Frenchman broke straight away when Murray's attempted drop-shot failed to clear the net and then took his opponent to deuce in each of the Scot's next two service games.

Monfils could not take advantage of that though and as the unforced errors and frustrations started to creep into the Parisian's game with increasing regularity, Murray went from strength to strength before sealing the set in double-quick time.

The first three games of the second set comfortably went with serve but Murray again had Monfils in trouble in the fourth, and he further tightened his grip on the match by breaking his opponent following a lengthy battle.

Murray then won the next two games to take a 5-1 lead and although Monfils broke back in the seventh match, the Scot secured a comprehensive victory in the following game on Monfils' serve.

Murray is now on course for a semi-final meeting with Roger Federer.

"I am hitting the ball well this week. I like this court - and it will be a great match," he told Sky Sports Xtra.

"At the US Open, I wished I could have played better - but he was great and deserved to win."

There was never any doubt Murray was in control against Monfils, and his only qualm was over some slipshod serving early in the match.

"When you play against someone like Gael, you know you'll have some fun," said the British number one.

"We've known each other since the juniors, and I know his game pretty well.

"I served very badly at the start. But once I got a few more serves in, I only lost one more game until I lost my focus right at the end

"I started to relax and hit the ball pretty well. It was a really satisfying performance."