Murray's rise to the top shows shades of Federer

Having spent much of the first half of this year insisting that a slowing-down in his progress was of no great concern, Andy Murray may now have to urge caution as he cuts a swathe through the game's leading players.

The Scot, 19, was due to face Andy Roddick in the quarter-finals of the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati last night, having followed up his remarkable victory over Roger Federer by overcoming exhaustion and intense heat to beat Robby Ginepri on Thursday.

Whatever his final pay cheque from Cincinnati, Murray will leave with another substantial boost to his ranking. The nine Masters Series tournaments - Cincinnati is the year's seventh - carry many rankings points. A semi-final appearance in last week's Toronto Masters took Murray up 10 places to No 21 and the world's highest ranked teenager will be in the top 20 next week.

The emphasis the leading players put on the Masters Series was evident in the Cincinnati quarter-finals line-up. Juan Carlos Ferrero, the world No 31, was the only player with a lower ranking than Murray, the others being Rafael Nadal (No 2), Ivan Ljubicic (3), Tommy Robredo (7), Marcos Baghdatis (10), Roddick (12), Fernando Gonzalez (13) and David Ferrer (16).

Yet Murray's current run is in marked contrast to earlier this year. Having climbed to No 41 in the world in March after his American indoor campaign, the Scot's ranking remained in the mid-40s as illness and injuries hampered his progress through the spring. After a succession of defeats to journeymen like Jean-René Lisnard and Filippo Volandri, Murray's year reached a low with his 10th defeat in 13 matches against Janko Tipsarevic at the Queen's Club. However, he has since won 20 out of 25 (not including last night), reaching the quarter-finals at Nottingham, the fourth round at Wimbledon, the semi-finals at Newport, the final at Washington and the semi-finals at Toronto. Brad Gilbert, his new coach, started working with him in Washington.

Federer pinpointed the problem for players of Murray's age after their match on Wednesday. "Youngsters play good on the day," he said. "If they play good for the entire week, that's the other question."

The world No 1 became the youngest player in the world's top 100 at 18 and was long tipped as a future champion, but it was another three years before he started winning tournaments regularly. His senior progress was not dissimilar to Murray's: at 18 he finished the year as world No 64 (Murray was 65) and he finished the following campaign at 29 (Murray is 21). Federer won his first Grand Slam title two months before his 22nd birthday.

Although Nadal won the French Open two days past his 19th birthday, he is physically more advanced than his contemporaries. Novak Djokovic, Gaël Monfils and Richard Gasquet, who with Murray and Nadal form an exciting new generation, are all in the top 30 but have made similarly chequered progress and have all had physical problems.

The past three weeks have opened Murray's eyes to the demands on the men's tour. Even Federer, who won in Toronto, said that it was impossible to win Masters Series tournaments in successive weeks. Indeed, Murray and Gonzalez were the only quarter-finalists from Toronto who made it to the same stage in Cincinnati.

Against Ginepri, the world No 18, Murray took the first set on a tie-break after saving two set points. At one set all and 4-2 down, and with the temperature at 40C, Murray looked a spent force, but he showed great resilience and spirit to win 7-6, 2-6, 6-4.

"I felt a little bit ill after the first few games," the Scot said. "It shows that physically there is still a lot of work to be done, but I showed good heart to come through. But I shouldn't be letting myself get tired after three or four games.

"That's the most tired I've been on a tennis court. That was my 13th match in 16 days and I am just not used to it. My legs weren't there today. They were burning after each point. At the end I wasn't thinking what I was doing. I was just trying to get the ball back into court and chase every ball down."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker