Murray happy with form
Scot saving his best for the biggest stage
Last Updated: September 5, 2012 9:01pm
Andy Murray: chasing maiden major title at US Open
Andy Murray reflected with pride on making an eighth straight grand slam quarter-final as he prepared to face Marin Cilic at the US Open on Wednesday.
The third seed produced one of his best performances of the season to completely nullify the threat of big-serving Milos Raonic in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.
Since the US Open in 2010, Murray has managed one quarter-final, four semi-finals and two finals at the sport's biggest tournaments as well as winning an Olympic gold medal.
The Scot will be a big favourite to beat Cilic, whose only win in seven previous meetings with Murray came here three years ago, to set up a probable semi-final clash with Roger Federer.
Murray said: "I've played well in the slams and most of the big events over the last couple of years. That's what I want to be doing at this stage of my career.
"I said it didn't matter how many Masters Series or whatever I won or how well I played in them, I just always got asked about my performances in the slams. So it seemed like that was the only thing anyone was bothered about.
"I'm glad my consistency has been better in them. I have played my best tennis in the slams, and I hope it can continue.
"But it's not an easy thing to do to make eight straight quarter-finals. Roger's made 34 consecutive quarters. That's an unbelievable record. But I'm happy with the way I've been playing in slams, for sure."
Murray's performance against Raonic was a timely return to top form after he had struggled past Feliciano Lopez in oppressive heat and humidity on Saturday.
The 25-year-old had said after that match he hoped being physically tested would stand him in good stead for the tougher tests to come, and Murray will go into Wednesday's encounter feeling confident.
He said: "Physically I'm feeling better than I did at the beginning of the tournament. I've had a couple of long matches, so that's good.
"It's good to play a match like that (against Raonic) at this stage of the tournament. It gives me some confidence going into the next round for sure because I didn't feel great after the last round.
"I hope I'm going to play better for the rest of the tournament. But you never know. Conditions change, the opponents change. You just need to make sure you're ready for whatever your opponent is going to bring and try and get the win."
It has been a gruelling summer with virtually no rest between the French Open, Wimbledon, the Olympics and here, and mental fatigue is just as much a factor as physical fatigue.
So far Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and John Isner have been the only high-profile players to make early exits, but Murray admitted he made a mistake in not pulling out of the Masters Series event in Toronto straight after the Olympics.
He said: "I didn't concentrate particularly well in the build-up tournaments. I just wanted to make sure that I was as fresh as possible coming into this event.
"I maybe made a mistake going to Toronto. I probably should have missed there and prepared better for Cincinnati. But it is tough. There's so many major events this year so close to each other.
"And to peak for them is hard, to peak in terms of your game, but also physically and mentally, to stay fresh, it's not easy. I'm glad I've managed to do that as best as possible and have some decent results."
Murray is, of course, once again trying to win his first grand slam title after his Wimbledon defeat by Federer took his tally of lost grand slam finals to four.
He is the only player to have lost so many finals and not won one, but the 25-year-old has the perfect man to turn to for advice in the shape of coach Ivan Lendl.
Lendl also lost his first four finals before going on to win eight, and Murray said: "I've spoken to him about playing in big events, losing to top players in big matches. He went through it himself.
"I don't feel bad about those losses. I learned much better from Australia this year compared with the year before, and also Wimbledon this year.
"I played one of my best tournaments ever at the Olympics, which in the past when I had tough losses I haven't done. He's obviously helped me with that. Having someone like him in your corner is always going to help in the toughest situations.
"That's when you want them. It's not necessarily as important to have him for a smaller event. But to have him around the slams and in the weeks leading up to them and afterwards is a huge, huge benefit."