Andy Murray swept into the Queen’s Club quarter-finals in emphatic fashion as the world No. 2 finished a hectic Thursday by routing Australia’s Marinko Matosevic 6-2, 6-2.
Murray had to complete two matches in one day after heavy rain on Wednesday left the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event behind schedule.
However, the US Open champion rose to the challenge, first avenging last year’s embarrassing Queen’s exit against Nicolas Mahut with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory over the Frenchman in the second round.
Murray had led 6-3, 2-2 overnight and needed 43 minutes to finish off former Queen’s finalist Mahut.
The 26-year-old was back in action just over three hours later against Matosevic, but the draining schedule did not seem to trouble Murray, who missed the French Open with a lower back injury.
This is the Scot’s first competitive action since retiring from the Rome Masters last month May after aggravating the recurring back problem, but he showed few signs of rust as he demolished world No. 65 Matosevic in 56 minutes.
The top seed’s next opponent will be Germany’s Benjamin Becker, who enjoyed a surprise 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 win over Ukrainian seventh seed Alexandr Dolgopolov.
With Wimbledon looming in just 10 days, Murray could do with a strong showing on the lush lawns of west London and he remains on course to secure a third Queen’s title.
Bosnia-born Matosevic posed little threat as Murray teased and tormented him with some sublime ground strokes.
Murray broke for a 3-1 lead in the first set and then cemented his advantage with another break in the sixth game, before serving out the set.
He kept his foot on the gas and broke again in the first game of the second set.
That effectively ended the contest, but Murray added one more break for good measure before closing out a solid day’s work.
Lleyton Hewitt continued his giant-killing run as the Australian moved into the quarter-finals with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over American sixth seed Sam Querrey.
Hewitt is a four-time champion at the Queen’s Club event, but the 32-year-old is well into the twilight of his career and his lowly 82nd position in the world rankings reflects that diminished status.
However, the former Wimbledon champion brushed aside the highly-regarded Grigor Dimitrov in the second round, before cutting big-serving Querrey down to size on Thursday.
Hewitt next faces former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who took just 57 minutes to beat British wild-card Daniel Evans 6-0, 6-3.
Czech second seed Tomas Berdych progressed to the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Slovenian 16th seed Grega Zemlja.
World No. 6 Berdych now faces defending champion Marin Cilic, who battled back from 5-2 down in the final set to beat Spanish qualifier Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the French fourth seed, survived a pair of grueling three-set matches in the space of just a few hours to earn a last eight meeting with the US’ Denis Kudla.
Tsonga defeated compatriot Eduoard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3 early on Thursday in a tie rescheduled from Wednesday due to rain.
The world No. 7 was forced to play again later in the day, defeating Holland’s Igor Sijsling, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
GERRY WEBER OPEN
AFP, HALLE, Germany
Defending champion Tommy Haas reached the quarter-finals of the Halle grasscourt tournament on Thursday beating Ernests Gulbis, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, after the Latvian had saved 16 of 16 break points.