Murray punishes erratic Davydenko

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Andy Murray made short work of Nikolay Davydenko to book his place in the semi-finals of the Masters series event here last night.

The Russian came into the contest on a 12-match winning streak, but that run came to an abrupt end as the world No 3 claimed a 6-2, 6-4 victory in one hour and 21 minutes.

The Scot capitalised on the catalogue of errors by Davydenko to set up a last-four meeting with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who stunned Roger Federer in a thrilling contest, battling back from 5-1 down in the deciding set to win 7-6, 1-6, 7-6.

Murray converted all four of his break points, the last in the final game of the match when Davydenko went long with yet another unforced error. The Scot dropped his serve once in the opening set, but that was to prove the only impact his opponent made.

"The start was important," Murray said. "When he broke me back in the first set it was important for me to stay strong there because he was actually making quite a lot of mistakes in the first set and I didn't want to let him back in, let him get into a rhythm.

"I felt pretty comfortable after the first set. My serve was helping me out, I didn't give him many chances in the second set.

"It's very difficult playing against him," he added. "He stands so close to the baseline, he hits the ball really hard and flat, you need to be on the defensive a lot against him. I managed to defend well and use my slice to change the pace of the ball."

The quarter-final line-up at Montreal featured the top eight players in the world and Murray feels the time off he took after Wimbledon – this is the first tournament he has played since losing to Andy Roddick in the semi-finals at SW19 last month – is paying dividends.

Murray added: "A lot of the higher-ranked players took a break after Wimbledon and I think you need that. It's tough to keep playing week in, week out and I think all of us came in fresh pretty and hungry."

Tsonga, whose looks are often compared to Muhammad Ali, appeared out for the count when Federer raced into a 5-1 lead in the deciding set. However, the seventh seed swept through the next five games to force a tiebreak which he won 7-3 to stun the capacity crowd.

*World No 1 Dinara Safina last night ended Kim Clijsters' brilliant run at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open in Cincinnati. The Russian was too strong for the former US Open champion and won 6-2, 7-5.