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Murray ups the pace to reach Brisbane semi-finals


Top seed Andy Murray showed no mercy to doubles partner Marcos Baghdatis as he cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International yesterday.

The British No 1 was quick out of the blocks and looked full of confidence as he raced into a 4-0 lead which he never looked in danger of relinquishing.

Baghdatis proved a trickier proposition at the start of the second set but when Murray clinched the first break at 2-2 it was only a matter of time.

The world No 4 had slow starts in his opening two rounds, losing the first sets against Mikhail Kukushkin and Gilles Müller, but looked sharp from the outset at the Pat Rafter Arena and completed an impressive win with minimum fuss. The Scot was due to play his semi-final with 19-year-old Australian eighth seed Bernard Tomic early this morning.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer's coach, Paul Annacone, has denied the 16-time Grand Slam winner does not get on with Murray.

Federer – who pulled out of his Qatar Open semi-final with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga because of a back muscle spasm yesterday but expects to be fit for the Australian Open – has a remarkably genial relationship with Rafa Nadal, but the Swiss and Murray are regarded as much less friendly.

Murray has publicly backed Nadal in the debate over who is the best player of all time, while Federer has on occasion appeared to belittle Murray.

The most recent incident came before the World Tour Finals in London in November, when Federer questioned the significance of Murray's run of three straight tournament victories in Asia.

Annacone, though, poured cold water on the rumours. He said: "Roger has the utmost respect for Andy and understands the complex environment Andy lives in with the media.

"It makes for much better reading, and some would say even a better competitive environment, if there is animosity and angst between players, but my feeling is that they get along fine.

"Andy is a tremendously gifted athlete and has a very complex game, mental and physical. He continues to mature and get better. I will be surprised if he does not win a Grand Slam title."