Andy Murray beat Grigor Dimitrov in four sets on Sunday, triumphing 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5 over the Bulgarian to claim his spot in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Both players showed a willingness to risk shots down the line, and it paid off in Murray’s favour, but the three-time Australian Open finalist sent a backhand long and gifted Dimitrov a vital game point at 4-3.
It would be the last game of the opening set that the sixth-seed would concede, though, and Murray once again clinched three in succession to claim the opener 6-4, sealing it in style:
Dimitrov was putting up a stronger defence than Murray may have expected, where patience was key to Murray claiming rallies that a more rushed performance would have sacrificed.
In Set 2, it was again the underdog who started the brighter of the two as Dimitrov held his serve and forced Murray to give up the opening game with a long forehand ending up just outside the boundaries.
Murray’s frustrations were clear for the Melbourne crowd to see, as every unforced error was met with a slap of the thigh or worse, but collecting his thoughts proved pivotal to remaining in contention.
In fact, he even managed to look the more rhythmic party, per tennis writer Chris Goldsmith, after gathering to break Dimitrov for a third time and assemble a 2-1 lead in the second set:
Perseverance, patience and pragmatism were all essential attributes in a hard-fought win for Murray, who wades his way into a sixth consecutive appearance in the Australian Open quarters.
He’ll take on Nick Kyrgios, the Australian native who promises to have a thunderous support behind him and comes into the collision on the back of a victory over Andreas Seppi.
Speaking of his upcoming opponent, Murray anticipated a fierce clash with Kyrgios, outlining some of the Canberra native’s strongest attributes: