Andy Murray produced a near flawless display of tennis against Canadian Milos Raonic in the fourth round to set up a quarter-final against Croat Marin Cilic tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept 5).
Murray has produced a mixed bag of US Open performances this year, but it seems he is peaking at the right time. He is just one match away from a potential heavyweight showdown with Roger Federer.
Murray, the British No.1, has once again enjoyed an excellent season, in reaching a final, semi-final and quarter-final so far in the three Grand Slams, but his maiden title eludes him. Murray did win the Olympic title, in a superlative performance against the great Roger Federer. That victory was made all the more sweet as he had lost to the Swiss maestro on the same court less than a month before in the Wimbledon final. Although it may have been viewed as a career-defining moment, Murray has still not won a Grand Slam title, despite reaching a quartet of finals.
The US Open has always been highlighted by Murray as “the one,” as at Flushing Meadows he is not in the media spotlight, and surrounded by the hype that plagues the surly Scot at Wimbledon. The hard courts of New York seem to suit Murray and it was the first Grand Slam final he reached, back in 2008. He even won the junior title there in 2004.
Murray has yet to produce two outstanding performances in a row in this tournament, which may be a worry heading into his quarter-final showdown. Murray beat Alexander Dolgopolov in the first round without hitting his straps, but in beating Ivan Dodig in round two, Murray showed his full range of shots, and more importantly his attacking prowess.
His third round encounter against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez gave Murray his greatest challenge to date as despite winning the first two sets, Murray seemed to fade in the heat, and once again appeared to show his opponent that he was struggling with an injury. Murray did bounce back to win the fourth set, but every set he won was on a tie-breaks.
His opponent in the quarter-finals is Marin Cilic, who seems to be finding his best. The 13th seed needed five sets to win both of his opening matches against relatively unknown players. Cilic then beat Kei Nishikori in the third round, before beating Martin Klizan in straight sets in the fourth round. Klizan was the man who emphatically knocked out Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, but that epic match looked to have taken its toll, as Klizan faded as the contest wore on.
Murray and Cilic have met eight times before, with the Scot coming out victorious on all but one occasion. However that occasion will give the Croat confidence, as it occurred at the US Open back in 2009, when he shocked the tennis world with a straight sets demolition of Murray. The Scot is heavy odds-on in the betting at around 1/9 to win this match and Murray did beat Cilic at Wimbledon this year in a straightforward three-set victory in the fourth round. But having been upset by the Croat here before, he will not be taking anything for granted.
Murray v Cilic Betting Tips Verdict
A repeat of that sensational upset is unlikely, as Murray has learnt a lot since then, and with new Coach Ivan Lendl, Murray’s improved attacking game has reaped the rewards. The lanky Scot will be too strong, but Cilic should have enough to steal a set.