Andy Murray mastered Brandon Nakashima and tricky conditions to progress to the last four of the LTA’s Surbiton Trophy on Friday, writes Oli Dickson Jefford in Surbiton.
American Nakashima provided a stern test and was just two points away a decider when Murray served to stay in the second set at 6-5, but the Brit was able to avoid going to a decider and sealed a 6-4 7-6(1) victory an hour and 37 minutes.
Breezy conditions made life difficult for both the two-time Wimbledon champion and Nakashima, and Murray was pleased to manage the combination of the conditions, his opponent and the worn courts to win his quarter-final.
“I thought I competed well. It’s not easy out there, it’s very windy today. The court is playing quick, it’s low bouncing. Like all grass court tournaments towards the end of the week, the court starts to get chewed up a little bit at the back of the court, so it’s not that easy to play great tennis,” said Murray.
“I served well in the important moments, I played a really good tiebreak again, and didn’t give him too many opportunities.
“I didn’t feel great on the court yesterday. Today was better than yesterday and the first match was probably my best match, but it was also the easiest conditions to play in. The court was pretty new, no wind really at all, where that’s not been the case the past couple of days.
“It’s been pretty breezy out there and against a tricky opponent as well. Brandon, he’s in the third round of the French Open a few days ago playing against Zverev.
“Even though he’s 20, he’s still pretty young comparatively in terms of experience on the tour, but he plays well. He’s got a very solid all-round game, nice strokes, he likes to try and control the points. “I was trying to use a little bit of variety and change the pace of the shot, I think that works really well on these courts and it worked well today.
“It was a good win for me.”
Murray now faces seventh seed Denis Kudla for a place in Sunday’s final, with the seventh seed having beaten Australian qualifier Max Purcell to set up a meeting against the former world No.1.
Grass is arguably the 29-year-old American’s strongest surface, and Murray is gearing up for another tough contest.
He commented: “He likes playing on the grass, he’s made the fourth round of Wimbledon before. I think he’s won some of these Challengers before over the years.
“He likes a lower bouncing court. He’s very experienced and won a lot of Challenger level titles, so it will be a good match.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA Website