Murray cruises through

Tennis ace sets up semi-final clash with Djokovic

Last Updated: 02/08/12 8:16pm

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Andy Murray: Advanced into the semi-finals after beating Almagro

Andy Murray: Advanced into the semi-finals after beating Almagro

Andy Murray put on a dazzling display for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as he crushed Nicolas Almagro to move within one win of an Olympic medal.

Murray produced his best performance of the tournament in front of the Royal couple on Court One at Wimbledon.

The Scot raced to a first set win in just over half an hour before Almagro suffered a recurrence of a shoulder injury and crumbled in the second to leave Murray with a superb 6-4 6-1 win.

The British number one will now play Novak Djokovic, who swept aside Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in the last four.

The only disappointing aspect of the Scot's victory was the fact that around 700 empty seats were visible halfway through the first set while Murray Mound was packed outside.

Murray had started off nervously on Wednesday, losing the first set against Marco Baghdatis, but there was no repeat performance this afternoon as the Scot came flying out of the blocks.

William and Kate looked in relaxed mood as they enjoyed their afternoon in the sun, but on court Murray was intent on getting down to business.

Challenged

Almagro is one of the form players in the world, but Murray challenged his opponent hard in the first game before firing down two aces to hold.

Almagro showed flashes of brilliance with some powerful forehand shots, but the Scot was clearly on top, engineering three break points in the fifth game with some excellent tennis.

The Spaniard buckled under pressure, double-faulting to gift Murray the break and the British number one fired down four successive aces in the following game to stamp his authority on the match.

Murray held to love twice to take the set after just 34 minutes and the 25-year-old's chances of victory were boosted when Almagro suffered a shoulder injury that required on-court treatment from the physio.

The interruption failed to knock Murray out of his stride as he broke Almagro to love at the start of the second, the winning shot a peach of a cross-court forehand.

Almagro's frustration got the better of him in the next game as he angrily punched his racquet into the turf.

Murray suffered a slight wobble in the fourth game when he double-faulted twice, but held and then broke his opponent again in the following game with a brilliant forehand.

The Scot held superbly before breaking the Spaniard again in the seventh game to seal a victory that was greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd, including the Royal couple.

Murray, also playing in the first round of the mixed doubles with Laura Robson this afternoon, was delighted with the quickfire victory in front of William and Kate.

Murray said: "I didn't speak to them after the match but it's always nice when you're playing in front of royalty.

"When you get people like that coming along it helps raise the profile of the sport.

"It was a good performance today. I served well and that helped.

Empty seats

"It was good to get it finished early. I didn't want a long match because I am playing in the doubles this afternoon.

"Now I hope I can get a medal."

Murray was disappointed to see rows of empty seats on Court One, however, and urged organisers to make sure the stands are full for his semi-final, and Sunday's medal matches.

"I would like to see all the seats full in all of the stadia but for whatever reason they haven't been," the Scot said.

"The support inside and outside the stadiums has been great so hopefully over the weekend we will get all the courts packed.

"Centre Court was really busy the last two rounds I have played on there and hopefully they will all be full. Everyone wants to see that.

"Lots of people want to see the Games, there are lots of people trying to get tickets and it's not easy so I don't want to see any empty seats."

Murray kept alive his hopes of two medals as he and Laura Robson won a dramatic first-round mixed doubles clash against Czech pair Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka 7-5 6-7 (7/9) 10-7 on Court One.

Nervous

Murray and Robson have had success in mixed before, reaching the final of the Hopman Cup in Australia in 2010, but it was a rare outing in the format for the Scot.

Robson, 18, was preferred to British number one Heather Watson to partner Murray and she initially looked a little nervous, mis-hitting a lot of shots in very windy conditions.

Biut she grew into the match and the British pair timed their break to perfection, Murray guiding a backhand half-volley down the line to make it 6-5 and his partner serving out the set to love.

Court One was again far from full but the fans that were inside roared their support, and things got even better when the British pair broke again at the start of the second set, Robson landing a stunning lob on the baseline.

Mixed doubles returned to the schedule this year for the first time since 1924 and it was certainly proving a hit with the spectators.

Robson's serving had been excellent but when she wobbled in the eighth game it was costly, three double faults helping the Czechs break back for 4-4.

With a match tie-break instead of a third set, the home pair really wanted to wrap it up in two, but they missed a match point in the regulation tie-break and the Czechs levelled.

The deciding tie-break was the first to 10 points, and Murray and Robson looked on the way out when they trailed 5-2 but they mounted a spirited recovery, winning seven points in a row and then clinching victory when Murray powered away a volley.

In the quarter-finals on Friday they will meet Australian duo Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Stosur.

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