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."


Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map