Murray breezes into semi-finals

Congleton Guardian: Andy Murray, pictured, acknowledges the crowd following his victory over Jeremy Chardy (AP) Andy Murray, pictured, acknowledges the crowd following his victory over Jeremy Chardy (AP)

Andy Murray made short work of big-hitting Frenchman Jeremy Chardy as he cruised into his fourth successive Australian Open semi-final.

Murray was largely untroubled as he won 6-4 6-1 6-2 to move into a last-four clash with Roger Federer, who overcame Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five sets. Murray has yet to drop a set in Melbourne and never looked like doing so against the world number 36.

"Today was the best I have played (in the tournament)," the Scot said. "I struggled in the last few rounds a little bit and my last opponent (Gilles Simon) was struggling physically so it wasn't much of a match. Jeremy has beaten some great players so I had to come out sharp."

As for the remaining semi-final, Murray revealed he would only give it brief consideration. He added: "I'll watch a little bit but not the whole match. I will get an early night and hope that Roger and Jo play for four or five hours!"

The Scot was gifted the early initiative as Chardy, making his first appearance in a grand slam quarter-final, opened with two double faults and a netted high backhand volley. Murray then struck again to go 3-0 up. A booming ace finally got Chardy on the board before he got one of the breaks back as Murray netted a routine sliced backhand.

Chardy was finally starting to warm to his task but, despite getting to deuce with Murray serving for the set, he could not find a way through as the Olympic champion edged in front.

Chardy won their most recent meeting at the Cincinnati Masters last year but he found himself in deeper trouble at the start of the second set as Murray capitalised on some wild shots to establish a 3-1 lead. And Murray broke for a fourth time in the match to move further ahead.

But he took his foot off the pedal. This time, however, he was able to dig himself out of the hole thanks to some wonderful defence. Serving at 4-1, Murray slipped 15-40 down but saved the break points. He held for 5-1 and then broke again with Chardy beginning to look disheartened.

And a comeback never looked likely here with Chardy's game starting to disintegrate. He was broken once more after putting a weak forehand in the net to hand Murray a 2-0 lead.

The third seed saw another break point chance come and go for 4-0 before Chardy held, but it mattered little as a beautifully constructed point saw Murray surge 5-1 ahead. There was a minor blip when he failed to serve it out at the first attempt as his concentration wavered, but he promptly won the next game to go through in one hour and 51 minutes.

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