Murray breezes past Stepanek
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:44
The 22-year-old Scot produced a thoroughly convincing display to triumph 6-4 6-1 over the tricky Czech and set up a last-eight clash with Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
And Murray will have been delighted with the manner of his performance in contrast to rival Federer, who was forced to come from a set down to squeeze into the last eight past David Ferrer.
Murray had immediately wrested the advantage over an opponent recently returned from a knee injury, breaking the Czech in his first service game to ease into a 2-0 lead.
Murray’s accurate shot-making saw him sail through the first set until he came to serve for the set at 5-3, when Stepanek took more risks and was rewarded when a well-judged sliced backhand down the line earned him the break back.
But Murray hit straight back in the following game, breaking his opponent with an audacious deep lob and, after saving a break point in his opening service game, returning strongly to fashion a 2-0 lead.
As Stepanek faded, the Scot proceeded to hammer home his advantage. Two big returns sandwiched a Stepanek double-fault as Murray double-broke to love for a 4-0 lead.
After saving two break points on his own serve, Murray moved within one game of a convincing win, although gutsy Stepanek delayed the inevitable by saving four match points to reduce the deficit to 5-1.
Murray duly served out for victory and will next fancy his chances against world number 53 Benneteau, whom he beat in four sets in their only previous meeting at Wimbledon in 2006.