Andy Murray moved one step closer to retaining his St Petersburg Open title yesterday by breezing past Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-2. The British No 1 showed glimpses of his best form as the match wore on to beat the highly-rated Latvian in just over an hour. Murray broke serve twice in both sets to set up a quarter-final with either Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic or France's Jeremy Chardy.
Gulbis defied the 46 ranking-point difference and matched Murray up until the eighth game of the first set. Three errors, however, from the 20-year-old presented Murray with a golden chance to break the Latvian's serve but he hit back before Murray eventually broke after taking the game to deuce to open up a 5-3 lead.
Gulbis then broke back but Murray responded by breaking his opponent's serve to love to take the first set 6-4. The pair's only previous meeting had been at the Queen's club this summer when Murray needed three sets to overcome Gulbis, but he only needed two here to overcome his opponent.
The world No 4 broke Gulbis's serve twice again in the second set to seal the win. He had to survive an early scare in the first game of the second set when Gulbis squandered a break point. The No 1 seed held his nerve and broke Gulbis's serve at 30-40 in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead before serving out the next to leave him requiring one more win. He had two break points but needed only one of them to complete the victory.