x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Grudge match for Murray

Andy Murray capitalises on a below-par performance from his Swiss opponent Stanislas Wawrinka.

Andy Murray capitalised on a below-par performance from his Swiss opponent Stanislas Wawrinka to serve notice that he is in serious contention to win a grand slam title for the first time. It was not Murray's fault that Wawrinka, who is ranked 10th in the world, froze in a featured match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium that was given a prime time television slot. The young Briton produced one of his best performances of the year to sweep to a highly impressive 6-1 6-3 6-3 victory in 1hr 49min.

The result means that Murray, who has won three titles this year after missing much of 2007 with a serious wrist injury, will climb at least one more rung up the world ladder from sixth to fifth. He could go even higher to fourth if the Russian Nikolay Davydenko fails to reach the semi-finals. It will not be such a breeze for the Scottish prospect in the quarter-finals, though, as he faces a grudge match against the emerging Argentine Juan-Martin del Potro, whom Murray accused of insulting his mother Judy when they last met in Rome four months ago. "It doesn't really bother me what happened then," said Murray. "I wasn't friends with him before that and I don't need to be friends with him now."

Del Potro, 19, earlier beat Japan's Kai Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-3. wjohnson@thenational.ae