Andy Murray advanced to the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup with a 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 Jarkko Nieminen, of Finland, in Toronto last night.
In his first appearance in a Masters Series quarter-final, the 19-year-old overcame a higher-ranked opponent - the world No 15 and 14th seed - to set up a meeting with France's Richard Gasquet, who beat Tomas Berdych, the conqueror of Rafael Nadal on Thursday night, 6-4, 6-1.
Although he seemed to have difficulty closing out the match - a problem which had surfaced in his three previous victories in Toronto against David Ferrer, Tim Henman and Carlos Moya - Murray eventually converted by sending a delicious lob over his game opponent.
In general, however, the the British No 1 showed great composure and court nous. Nieminen had the chance to break in the first game, but could not make his 40-15 advantage count and Murray managed to overhaul him.
The match went with serve until the eighth game, although the fifth game contained five deuces - with Murray taking advantage of a serve which was clearly out and seemed to unsettle the Finn. Both players failed to capitalise on a number of break points in what became a close-fought battle marked by long, thoughtful rallies.
At 4-3, Murray finally managed to convert his eighth break point to take a 5-3 lead and serve for the set, but Nieminen broke straight back with the Scot making a string of unforced errors. However, the Finn then produced an error-strewn game himself to hand Murray the first set after almost an hour.
Nieminen broke Murray in the first game of the second set before the Briton hit a return long to give the Finn a two-game lead. But Murray held serve and then broke to level the game before sneaking ahead in the seventh and, when Nieminen netted in the next game at 0-40, Murray found himself serving for the match.
However, Nieminen immediately broke back and held with a cross-court smash to level again before Murray went back in front 6-5 when Nieminen sent the ball wide. The Finn then attacked aggressively and took the match into a tie-break which he won comprehensively 7-0.
In the final set, Murray broke to love in the first game and broke again to lead 5-2 - but again he failed to close out the match, making some elementary errors while Nieminen gave everything to stave off defeat.
But the 19-year-old Scot then imposed himself on the fatigued Finn, reaching triple match point, which he converted immediately with a cute drop-shot return followed by a clever lob.Reuse content