Murray reaches semi-final at Queen's

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray reached the semi-finals of the AEGON Championship for the first time in his career with a straight sets victory over American Mardy Fish at Queen's.

His 7-5 6-3 demolition of the tournament's number eight seed set up a semi-final against Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero.

The Spaniard, ranked 90th in the world, had earned his place in the last four with victory over Belgian Steve Darcis.

Murray, bidding to become the first British champion in the tournament since Bunny Austin in 1938, almost managed to break Fish's serve in the opening game of his quarter-final on centre court.

Murray went 0-30 in front before the American, ranked number eight in the world, fought back to take the opening game with a superb ace.

But the tournament favourite produced a stunning array of aces to level the scores at 1-1.

Fish restored his lead but Murray again responded with a love game that squared the contest once more at 2-2.

But the American matched Murray's performance to go back in front before the Scot, with a first-serve match ratio of 75%, was quick to make it 3-3.

Both players held serve to keep the scores level at 4-4 but Murray could do nothing about Fish's first serves as the American went back in front.

The pressure was on Murray to hold his serve at a crucial moment in the opening set and he did not disappoint to keep the status quo at 5-5.

Murray then set himself up perfectly to break the American's serve with three break points.

But Fish pulled it back to 30-40 before the Scot seized the chance by forcing his opponent to return his shot into the net.

The first set went to Murray but only after the Scot squandered a 30-0 opening advantage. However, a wild forehand smash from the American gave Murray the set 7-5.

Fish clinched the first game of the second set with an ace - his seventh of the match.

But the American was going to have to break Murray's serve if he was going to get a foothold back into the contest.

Murray was dominating and quickly restored parity with the stats showing the Scot having delivered eight aces so far - one better than his opponent.

But if Murray had hoped Fish would turn tail in the second set, then he was wrong as the American went back in front at 2-1.

While the Scot had been invincible on his serve, the tournament favourite was way ahead in terms of points from both his first and second returns.

He levelled the scores at 2-2 and almost broke Fish's serve in the fifth game. The Scot was dominating the match and continued to wait for his chance to break the American's serve.

There was little resistance to his own service game and he took a 30-15 lead in seventh game with a perfectly executed drop shot.

A cross-court backhand earned him a break point but Fish's ninth ace of the contest left the scores at deuce. However, a poor return from Fish gave Murray another break point and this time the Briton converted to go 4-3 ahead.

Murray's stunning service game put him 5-3 ahead without the American getting close to scoring. The world number three had now delivered 11 aces.

Fish looked a broken man but Murray squandered a 0-30 lead before setting-up match point with a beautiful cross-court shot that the American could not match.

Another superb cross-court volley from the Scot won him the contest 7-5 6-3 to leave him on course to win his first grass court title.