- Australian Open, Day 10
Murray zooms past Chardy
Andy Murray powered into the semi-finals of the Australian Open with a dominant 6-4 6-1 6-2 win over Jeremy Chardy.
Murray has not yet been tested at the opening major of the year, despite not playing his best tennis, and it was a similar story against Chardy as the A Game was missing but his opponent did not have enough to take advantage.
The Brit lacked a little bit of zip on serve and his backhand was out of tune, but he was up against a player that had the look of a man who, in his first grand slam quarter-final, had gone to the well once too often in the tournament.
The Chardy gameplan was clear from the off: big serve backed up by big forehand. Big weapons, though, sometimes come with suspect radars and he coughed up two double faults and two missed forehands as Murray broke in the first game. It set the tone for the contest.
Murray staved off break points in his opening service game and promptly piled the pressure on Chardy by breaking to lead 3-0.
Chardy got on the board in the fifth game, but that was only because a brilliant running, topspin forehand down the line from Murray missed its target by a couple of millimetres. Chardy got a foothold in the contest one game later, as he put pressure on Murray with an excellent sliced backhand and it helped him break to love.
The Frenchman's confidence continued to grow, with the backhand slice and powerful forehand causing problems for Murray. The No. 3 seed found himself in trouble at 0-30 when serving for the set. Big serving got him out of trouble, but he needed three bites of the cherry to close out the opening set in 44 minutes.
Chardy built some momentum towards the end of the first set, but he undid it all with a sloppy effort on serve in the third game and it appeared to jolt his confidence as Murray broke again two games later for a 4-1 lead - just as he had in the first set.
At 4-1 in the first set, Murray invited Chardy back in with some sloppy play. He opened the door again, missing a backhand volley and dumping a drop shot in the net, but some brilliant defence staved off the break points and two aces secured the hold.
A third break of the set followed, as Murray powered two sets ahead and he opened the third set with a dominant love service hold.
For the second time in the match, Chardy was broken in his opening game - with his ball toss becoming more and more erratic. Murray did not pass up the gifts as his level improved, particularly the backhand - with the ball flying flatter and with more venom.
What was sharp throughout was Murray's pace around the court and he proved this in the sixth game of the third set. He raced to the net to reach a drop shot and then tracked down a lob he had no right to get. He went on to lose the point, but the crowd were in awe of the speed.
He lost the point but won the game to break - only to surrender his serve when serving for the match. It proved to be only a minor blip as he broke again one game later to book his place in the semi-finals.